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Small pets

Hamster advice

29 replies

Piffyonarockbun · 29/10/2020 18:37

We will be getting a hamster in the next few days. I had hamsters many moons ago when I was a student but times have moved on. Ive bought a huge cage with a deep bit at the bottom to burrow. Im also aware I now need to buy big wheels as the little ones are bad for their backs and I need a sand bath I think?

I've had Syrians and robrowskis (spelling?). I know we can have one syrian but robrowskis can be kept in pairs. My DD is 6 and although they won't be her pets (she will be helping but i am ultimately responsible for them as she's 6 obviously Grin) I'm hoping to get one she can handle. Im thinking a syrian may be better for that. Although I remember my syrians being bitey fuckers, the robs less so.

So ultimately I need advice on accessories and am I better getting one syrian or 2 robs and the best way of making them less bitey Grin.

OP posts:
Ginqueen456 · 29/10/2020 18:45

In my experience Syrians are far more robust and easier to handle than the little ones.

user127819 · 31/10/2020 22:22

A Syrian is much more suitable to be handled by a child, although they can still be jumpy when young. Roborovskis are very fast and timid. Although they can be kept in pairs, in reality most pairs fight and have to be separated and they do just fine on their own too.

Syrians aren't particularly prone to bite. They may nibble your hand the first few times getting to know you but true biting is rare.

In terms of accessories, you already know about the wheels so the next most important thing is a big house. Big enough for a hamster to really move around in and create a big nest, so not the little plastic huts from the pet shop. Syrians don't often bathe in sand but they will use it as a toilet. I would just provide a small corner dish for a Syrian. Robos love sand so need a larger sand bath, like a shallow oven dish.

Piffyonarockbun · 04/11/2020 11:56

Thank you for the advice. We have gone for a syrian. We have been leaving her alone, just sitting near the cage and chatting and offering her treats when she is awake. She's quite sociable and is happy to be stroked so I'm hopeful she won't feel the need to bite Grin.
I got her a flat flying saucer type wheel as the one that came with the cage didn't seem adequate. The cage is large with a place to burrow and she seems to enjoy that.
We are all very happy so far Smile

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BooseysMom · 15/11/2020 06:10

We picked up our new Syrian hamster this weekend and he's settling in beautifully. I didn't know about the wheel issue. He uses his alot. It came with the cage so hope it's suitable. We haven't got space for a huge cage so got a Rosewood Pico xl..

As for biting he doesn't do that yet..he's very inquisitive and he will sniff your hand and is very jumpy. He's a black and white one..DS's very first pet for his 7th birthday Smile

Good luck with yours..

Hamster advice
Piffyonarockbun · 17/11/2020 13:23

Aww hes adorable. Its all going well for us. Taking it slowly has worked. Hammy comes over when she hears us now (in the hope of treats) and she's very confident and adorable.
Hopefully yours will gain confidence and be a happy chap too 😀

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BooseysMom · 18/11/2020 01:07

@Piffyonarockbun.. thanks..Well ours has suddenly started doing what yours does! Last night when I opened his little hide-away and said hello in a squeaky voice, he actually looked up at me and squeaked 3 times in reply! I didn't realise they did things like that. Later he even was comfortable enough to climb into our hands and snuggle up against our chests. So he has suddenly gained so much confidence. He is feisty though and gave a little nip once or twice but it wasn't painful.
Have fun.

BooseysMom · 18/11/2020 01:13

Forgot to post this.

Hamster advice
WitchesBritchesPumpkinPants · 18/11/2020 01:14

Oh I'm envious!!

I miss our wee girl. She was such a sweetheart! I'm glad I hadn't read about all the bad tempered, bitey hamsters before we got her!

She only ever but once and that was really my own fault as I'd stuck my finger in her cage (tying in a new toy) and I think it just took her by surprise!!

She was a real climber though and quite the little escape artist!!

Enjoy your new additions!!

WitchesBritchesPumpkinPants · 18/11/2020 01:16


Sooo cute!!

I noticed how clear your water was & it reminded me that our vet advised us to put vitamins in her drinking water.

RustyBear · 18/11/2020 01:18

With our hamsters we used to use a Pringles tube (cut shorter, or one of the half length ones) to get them used to being handled. Put it in the cage and the hamster will usually run in and the tube can be lifted out and put on a child's lap so they can come out and explore at their own pace and don't have the scary experience of hands descending on them from above and being picked up.

Piffyonarockbun · 18/11/2020 10:01

Thats a good idea about the pringles tube. My dd got a little nip on her finger yesterday. Its her own fault, she had her fingers curled up and hammy is used to her giving treats so she had an exploratory nip that was a bit hard!! Luckily dd took it well and this morning kept her hand flat. Its a learning curve Grin.

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BooseysMom · 18/11/2020 13:59

Thanks witches. Smile. He did scratch me when he was trying to climb up my chest but didn't mean it! He seems to like it when you curl your hands around him. It seems to make him feel safe.
Re. the water is it ok to use tap water and change it every day.? Good idea about the vitamins.

@RustyBear.. that is a good idea. Ours has only just found enough confidence to come out onto our hands and DS did drop him accidentally, thankfully not from a great height and he was on carpet, so a tube would be useful.

BooseysMom · 18/11/2020 14:50

Btw, I phoned the pet shop today about our cage being too small and they said we can return it but order another so that it comes before we return it and so the hamster can go straight in the new one. I said the ladder keeps falling off and the wheel is stiff and slightly buckled so he doesn't use it. Also one of the ladders has a broken edge. He will quickly outgrow the cage and so should have got a bigger one from the start. Ours is a Rosewood Pico xl and think the Savic Hamster Heaven or Metro are better choices although reviews say they are horrendous to build.

hopingforonlychild · 18/11/2020 22:38

@BooseysMom Hamster heaven isn't too bad, I built it myself and i have never successfully built anything from Ikea in my life (that's DH's job!)..

There is 20% off the Savic Plaza (100cm by 50%) at Pets at Home until 1 Dec.

pinkpanther84 · 18/11/2020 22:49

I have the Metro and it wasn't too bad to build and our Syrian seems very happy in it

sparklewhynot · 18/11/2020 23:06

If you have a pets at home cage or similar, do not post any pics on the Hamster Rescue Network page on Facebook. It is clear some hamsters are really well looked after, but the focus is all on the cage. I have a Deltof, but use a PAH cage for cleaning. I posted a picture on there as my hamster is tri-coloured so quite unique and I got trolled for literally hours.

Only points I would note is that females are quite territorial and do like a bit more space. They can chew the bars constantly when bored. They are also smellier than males, and my children don't like to handle ours when she is in heat due to the smell. Doesn't bother me though.

dicdicnurse · 18/11/2020 23:11

We have a Syrian male and he is adorable! We were so lucky that we took the advice of the staff in the pet shop who said he was friendly (my DD wanted a girl!). He has let us handle him from day one and loves a cuddle.

dicdicnurse · 18/11/2020 23:14

Our Chewie!

Hamster advice
BooseysMom · 19/11/2020 11:43

@hopingforonlychild.. thanks. I noticed they were in the sale too. The reviews say they take hours to build so that will def be DH's job too!! I did notice one had a huge hole in the sleep den where the hamster had chewed. Also the bottles leak. The good thing about ours is he can't chew this plus the bottle doesn't leak.

BooseysMom · 19/11/2020 11:45

@pinkpanther84.. I looked at the Metro too. It's only a few quid cheaper than the Hamster Heaven. Now I really don't know which one to go for. We have to get it ordered and then PAH said we can return the one we have currently.

BooseysMom · 19/11/2020 11:48

@sparklewhynot.. thanks for the tip. What a nightmare!
Ours is male and he's very smelly too. I'm not sure if it's his wee or what it is! (Being new to this pets lark!)

@dicdicnurse... Ah look at him! Smile

Piffyonarockbun · 25/11/2020 18:45

I got our cage off amazon. It has a deep glass bottom bit and then a couple of floors above. I researched for ages. It was the biggest one I could find.
This is our little cutie. My dd adores her and spends loads of time with her. Im really pleased we went for it Smile

Hamster advice
OP posts:
Cupoftchaiagain · 25/11/2020 19:08

Our female Syrian is a bit bitey any tips? We’ve had her about 6 weeks.

BooseysMom · 27/11/2020 05:47

@Piffyonarockbun.. your cage sounds great. We've ordered a new bigger one and when that comes, we are allowed to return the current one for a
refund. It seems to be held up somewhere though.
I love your little cutie! Very pretty colours.

@Cupoftchaiagain.. I have read that females are more feisty than males but our male Syrian is a bit bitey too! I have found that talking in a low calming voice helps settle him and offering a piece of carrot or fruit. He really loves pear. Then to pick him up I cup my hands underneath him and he tries to burrow down through my fingers but he doesn't nip me so it seems to do the trick.
Good luck.

Here's a pic of Fuzzy... he's not really Fuzzy but it's the name DS gave him as well as Mr Saddlebags which we found online as he stuffs food in his cheeks like saddlebags!

Hamster advice
Piffyonarockbun · 27/11/2020 09:57

Love mr saddlebags Grin.

It might be better to go back to basics with your bitey one. We spent a lot of time sitting by the cage talking quietly for a couple of days so she got to know our voices. Then we would open the door and just give her treats. Now she comes to the door when she heard us expecting treats. She sees us as a good thing not a scary one. Then I do as booseysmom does and put my fingers in the sawdust (hoping it makes my hands smell less like food) and scoop her up.

Is it proper biting and drawing blood or is it just 'tasting'. At first ours would gently use her teeth on our hands to see if we were food. She never bit properly though. It can make you jump if you're not expecting it. Shes stopped doing that now though.
Proper bites are very painful and its usually a fear reaction. Maybe giving her some nice treats and not picking her up at all for a couple of days might help. Ours loves dried coconut and wheat ears the best. Good luck with her. Smile

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