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Syrian Hamster Toys

(12 Posts)
Runwayqueen Thu 29-Dec-16 12:23:14

Our female Syrian came home 2 days ago. The pet shop said to rotate her toys to help prevent boredom and chewing of the cage. So far she has a plastic house and a wooden house (she is favouring the plastic), has a plastic tube around the cage (we were assured it was big enough for her), a card tunnel, a wheel and a wooden stick.

What would you suggest I put in there when it's time to rotate them? And how often would I rotate them?

Tia

CannotEvenDeal Thu 29-Dec-16 12:30:20

Yeah the tube should be fine, they can squeeze themselves pretty small!

Ours have climby wooden plank type bridges/ladders leading to Savic Sputnik houses that hang down. They love it when we hide treats in there!

We change the cages around every few weeks or so.

Runwayqueen Thu 29-Dec-16 16:38:47

Thank you, I will have a look out for one or similar. Just want her to be a happy girl

CannotEvenDeal Thu 29-Dec-16 17:33:07

Oh and discourage her from sleeping or storing too much food in the tubes, the airholes can get blocked quite easily especially if she pees in there too... can you tell that I'm speaking from experience lol

Runwayqueen Thu 29-Dec-16 21:52:52

Thank you for the heads up. The tubes are clear for now but if I see her doing that I'll remove it. I do think she is storing food in her bed (plastic house ) which I guess I'll try to remove when it's time to clean the cage.

I don't suppose it's common for them to clear the sawdust from the corners of their cages? She cleared 3 of the 4 this afternoon. She seems content, was happy to go into her ball for a few minutes this evening whilst I spot cleaned her cage, had a crawl over dp earlier and has taken food from both of us, but I did find the corner clearing strange

rightsaidfrederickII Thu 29-Dec-16 22:54:58

First question - how big is her wheel? Typically Syrians, when full grown (which yours will be in a few weeks) need one which is about 12" diameter. The reason for this is that if they have to arch their back to use it, they will rapidly end up with painful back problems. The 28cm version of this wheel is a good and inexpensive option www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small_pets/accessories/exercise_wheels/174195?gclid=CN2qi6yamtECFQefGwodqPkK7Q#

A cardboard tube can be a good thing for them to chew on, even if she's too big to fit through. You can even fold over the ends and hide a treat inside that they then have to chew to get to.

Bendy bridges are a perennial favourite www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small_pets/accessories/bridges_stairs/bridges/227525

I like to make my hamster's treats that little bit harder to get to e.g. hanging treats (those treat stick things / dried sweetcorn on the cob) in a location that is awkward for her to get to.

Scatter feeding (rather than using a bowl) means that they have to forage for their own food, which mimics how they work in the wild.

Dog chews - specifically Whimzees and Greenies are fine for hamsters and help keep their teeth down (many will ignore wooden toys)

It's important to have a reasonably deep layer of bedding - 3-4" is a commonly quoted figure - I don't go quite that deep, but they need enough to have a decent dig in as they are burrowing animals.

rightsaidfrederickII Thu 29-Dec-16 23:00:14

With regards to the corner clearing - that's entirely normal, it's just digging behaviour and no doubt she'll keep moving it around.

With regards to how often you should rotate things, I normally swap out a toy for another one when I notice my hamster starting to get bored (she starts to chew the bars when this is the case, which isn't a healthy habit as it can cause tooth problems)

How big is your cage? A lot of pet shop cages are far too small to meet their welfare needs. A typically quoted minimum footprint for a cage is 360sq inches, or about 2300 square cm, so approximately 60cm * 40cm as a minimum. They don't have to be expensive - the Zooplus cages (Alaska / Barney / Alexander) start at £35 inc. delivery and are very good, even if you get the cheapest one.

Twinnypops Fri 30-Dec-16 19:39:18

A good cage is the best thing you can have. Make sure it has bars and is on the larger end of what is available (a lot of the ones in Pets at Home are ridiculously small). Cube shaped tissue boxes are good, food inside scrunched up paper or toilet rolls, peanuts inside their shells. Hide the food around the cage rather than putting it in the bowl.

Runwayqueen Fri 30-Dec-16 20:22:13

Thank you all for your brilliant advice.

The cage in the pics is what we have, it's the large size. I was told twice it would be big enough for her. Dp and I have said we will increase the size though if she needs it.

I took away her wheel this morning as I didn't think it was big enough, which after reading the replies on here I'm glad I did. Going to get her a bigger one and a Sputnik home as soon as I can get to the pet shop in the next few days.

I did come down this morning to a dirty protest, poo all over the floor but having read further I see that it's common.

She has been out again for a few minutes in the ball so I could spot clean the cage and remove the wheel. Have discovered her wet sawdust area so took only a little away and left the rest. Left her plastic house completely alone as I realise that's her safe place.

Hopefully she is happy, I think she is.

Twinnypops Sat 31-Dec-16 19:21:51

If you're able to, and have a safe space in which she can do it, then she'll love roaming free (i.e. without her ball). Just make sure there's no holes she can escape through or wires/precious things she can chew on, and leave the cage in the same area so she can go back if she wants.

I'm really starting to miss having a hamster now!

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 31-Dec-16 21:59:23

Pets at Home are generally rip off merchants when it comes to cages, but as it seems to be 38 x 59cm footprint (I think it's 38cm wide rather than 38cm high? It's hard to tell from the website) so it's far from the worst on offer!

If you feel that she could do with a bit more space (persistent bar chewing is a good sign of this), then as you mention, you could expand her existing space - I've done something similar by diverting a tube into a homemade 'bin cage' made from a plastic storage box.

For what it's worth, my hamster was completely nonplussed by her Sputnik... such is life! Not all hamsters like everything (it's almost like they're individuals hmm) but many do like them!

Runwayqueen Sun 01-Jan-17 22:42:16

I've added to her cage today a wooden climbing 'thing' and she seems most taken by it. Sputnik hanging house can go in in a few weeks when we change her toys around. Have found a wooden 'thing' that bolts to the cage which I will add to where I've seen her nibbling if it's needed.

It sounds sad but I'm so happy with her, I hope she is happy too. She is obviously far from tame but she seems content to be handled, seems to enjoy exploring outside her cage (hamster proofed). She seems a bit nervous around dd (6) so we are keeping her at arms length, but will happily scoot around dp

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