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Hamster help please!

(7 Posts)
RoseC Tue 19-Jul-11 13:50:58

We are looking after a male hamster for our landlords/neighbours, mainly for company (they have five house rabbits that are being looked after at home by a rota - including me - of neighbours/pet sitting company) as otherwise he would be in a room by himself all day. I volunteered as have ten years experience of pet rabbits and also babysat my housemate's hamster at uni.

However the hamster is not happy. Every time I fill the food bowl (on fourth level of cage) he will empty all the food apart from a few crumbs and take it down the chute to the ground level and hide it in either his toilet box or his little house (small box inside ground floor, detachable). He's done it three times so far, with food the LL said would last three days. We've had him since Thursday evening. On Thursday at handover point he was happy and ate sitting in the top, one bit at a time.

Yesterday evening we discovered a yellow puddle (slightly pearly colour, creamy yellow) on another tier. Frantic googling has reassured me it's not wet tail (I think - I don't want to wake the hamster up now to take a look, but will double check later when he comes out). I'm only used to rabbit wee so it looked off to me, but maybe it's a normal colour for hamsters? The only variation in his diet was a tiny bit of carrot (okayed by the LL) 48 hours before the wee.

I'm not sure what to do for the best. I can return him home and look after him there, but don't know if it's the lack of LL that is making him upset (all the bunnies are upset - skittish, pooing and weeing everywhere, despite lots of people dropping in to give them cuddles and food). The pets are our LL's children. They are abroad atm so it's not practicable to contact them unless it's a life or death emergency (mostly not to worry them - they are there for a family bereavement).

Water is changed every day, am cleaning the cage today, litter box is emptied when dirtied and refilled with litter and food is only what the LL has given us (+ one bit of carrot). He has been using his wheel.

Does anyone have any ideas please?

alexflower Tue 19-Jul-11 17:29:33

This sounds like totally normal hamster behaviour.

Taking the food and storing it is just their natural behaviour, my hamster sometimes eats right from the bowl and sometimes takes it all in his pouches to his bed to store. They only actually eat about a heaped teaspoon of food a day so if you have filled the bowl up once a day don't bother filling it again as the hamster will just take it all to storage smile

The puddle you described sounds like regular hamster wee, kind of milky and yellowish. Most hamsters wee in just one area of their cage but it may have just got caught short or just not have a particular toilet area.

As long as it has a little bit of food put in daily and given fresh water daily it should be fine. Everything you have written sounds totally normal, I am sure that when you clean out the cage you will find most of the food stored in the bed and I guarantee as soon as the hamster goes back into the clean cage it will take all the food to store some place safe smile

Sorry for such a long answer just wanted to reassure and good luck with your hamster-sitting!

PlanetEarth Tue 19-Jul-11 17:55:49

That's what they do! Stockpile food against a future shortage, and produce wee and poo. Being handled can be stressful for some animals and is then likely to make them wee and poo.

bellavita Tue 19-Jul-11 17:59:46

He sounds fine. Absolutely normal.

RoseC Wed 20-Jul-11 11:08:15

Thanks. It was the food thing that bothered me most - he doesn't seem to be eating any of it. I was also worried because the LL didn't say anything other than 'he eats upstairs'.

Thanks for your reassurance!

givemushypeasachance Wed 20-Jul-11 22:29:18

My sister had a syrian I ended up with when he lasted longer than expected and was still alive and kicking when she needed to go to Oz for a year. He would religiously collect the tasty bits of his food and hide it in the rotastak tubes or in his wheel or his nest, then often pee in the same place as well. He took a lot of cleaning out - boy hamsters are pretty well known for such stinky habits! I now have two chinese hamster boys and they don't hoarde food as badly but they do pee in their bedding, charming little beasties that they are...

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 21-Aug-11 22:27:49

agree totally normal

my hammies hoard all the time - if there is food put in their pot they will imm come and scoff it

mine also have a disgusting habbit of often puttign in their wee corner and peeing on it

'shudders'

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