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Need help with my Syrian!

Discussion in 'Small Animal Chat' started by Lenny the cat, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Lenny the cat

    Lenny the cat PetForums Newbie

    Dec 7, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Hi, I have two hamsters, one is a winter white extremely happy, loves to come out but happy to be back in cage.
    My new hamster bear is a Syrian: he was in a small corner pet shop in a small tank with no hides or toys no wheel just a thin layer of sawdust and food for 5 months! so I had to take him.

    since getting him I went through the taming process which is going fine still and he’s come out his shell after a few weeks. He’s in an IKEA detolf (about 990 sq inches) with plenty of enrichment and burrow bedding.
    he has a custom bar top on his cage and glass slabs over the other third over the cage. Once settled he’s escaped many times by sliding the glass, sliding the bars , moving stuff in his cage I’ve ended up having to weigh down the lids so he can’t get out anymore.

    Since doing that he has been running around biting the bars and looking for places to escape. So I bought him a playpen with a tube down to it so he can access it whenever (a huge playpen with toys) and he bit a hole through it within 20 minutes! He tries to jump off the bed whenever I put him on it! He just wants to run round my room and has even made a bed in my cupboard on one of the nights he escaped with the bedding in there!!
    I go to college and he wakes up around 11:30 and keeps me up biting the bars and I feel extremely guilty but I don’t want him to get in the walls or hurt himself in my room or poo and wee everywhere. What can I do? His wheels huge I’ve tried a playpen and letting him hang out with me and he’s keeping me up hours !!!! :(
    Thanks for any help
    I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing or just his personality , I thought he would like the huge playpen and being on the bed and it would satisfy his need to come and explore somewhere that’s not his cage....

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  2. Smolmaus

    Smolmaus PetForums Member

    Oct 3, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Are you sure he's a he? Typically it's the females who are this demanding! I had very similar problems with my girl in a detolf. The only real solution was building her a cage where she didn't have access to mesh to chew. Which is probably not what you want to hear but that's my personal experience (link just for info ). I have my older boy in the detolf now and he's fine in it. Some of them just need more.

    First thing I would try is switching the sides of the lids. Have the glass over the higher parts and the mesh on the side where it's going to be harder for him to reach it and chew. And yeah, keep weights on it. That should hopefully cut down on the noise.

    The playpen idea might seem like a good idea but (as you've seen) that's not safe or secure at all. So scrap that please. If they're outside their cage they need to be supervised. There are a hundred ways he could hurt or kill himself let loose in a house overnight. Also, if he's escaping from the cage with your current lid system then finding another solution should be your number one priority. I will always recommend a proper wood frame lid for the detolf. I've had no escapes in 5 years and two absolute maniacs in there.

    As for short term solutions; do you scatter feed? Do you give him food puzzles? Foraging is no. 1 hamster behaviour so making him work for his food will keep him busy and is good for his brain. Toilet roll tubes stuffed with food and bedding take no time at all to set up. Egg boxes are even easier. Youtube has plenty of tutorials for making your own boredom breakers.

    A routine might also be helpful. Instead of letting him come out whenever he wants, establish a routine of say 8pm he gets out to explore for a set amount of time then goes back. No getting him out when he starts misbehaving or chewing the bars. If you reward that he learns to do it more.

    There are a few things you can try so I hope you find something that works but do be aware that sometimes the only solution is a different cage!
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