Chinese Hamster

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by MesaMouse on Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:09 pm

CallaLily, have you started on the lid conversion yet? I think I'm going to remove only the 6 raised "slats" in the middle of the lid, leaving 3 intact at either end. That'll create a 30L opening which should be plenty for air circulation and create a large enough grid to hang a few things that now touch the floor in Imo's tank. I had high hopes of getting going today and charged my old SKIL cordless drill last night -- unfortunately, it's simply too old to take a charge anymore (haven't used it in over a year and have had it for about 10 years) so it's off to Walmart tomorrow morning for a highly rated $19 Hyper Tough replacement drill; apparently it's much cheaper to buy a replacement drill than a replacement battery pack for the SKIL. That Hamster Hideout tutorial is so helpful and I think I'm going to go it one step further and score the cutout outline from both sides, making it easier to cut the plastic with the heated Xacto blade.

By the way, I was very surprised that the IRIS bins Walmart had were with green lids and red latches as I was expecting the red lidded ones. According to the website, the green lidded bins were ones with an extra storage compartment in the lid so, when the associate pointed the stack out to me, I told him they were the wrong ones. After we opened one up and found no storage compartment, I tested a few to make sure the latches snapped closed. I definitely prefer green over red so it turned out for the best...I'm sure Imogene won't care Teehee !

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:34 pm

We did get started. My husband used an air pencil grinder thingy to cut out 3 sections. 3 raised slats on either end and 4 in the middle. We haven't drilled holes to attach the mesh yet. Haven't cut the mesh yet either. I was waiting on my bedding order to arrive, which I wasn't expecting until Monday but it arrived today. Hoping we can get it finished soon.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:47 pm

Here's where I am so far with the lid. My husband cut out the 3 sections, as I said above.  And just now I've got the hardware cloth trimmed to fit inside. Now we just need to drill holes to attach the hardware cloth to the lid. I'm just using heavy duty zip ties.  Husband wants to test drill on one of the scrap pieces. If it cracks too badly, I think we'll melt holes instead.



Ignore the cat litter and helmet. They're just holding down the mesh that wants to curl.

Sorry I haven't been doing or sharing much.  I still feel like I'm still getting the house back together after Christmas and being sick.  Embarassed

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:48 pm

Mesh is in. Drilling the holes was very easy, no cracks. This is the neatest bin lid we've cut/drilled so far.  I think it's our 3rd one.  I was so worried because I kept reading others say the type of plastic used in this lid was a pita and cracked easily.



I'm thinking about trimming out the top with some cute patterned duck tape.  Confused If I can find one that I like.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:12 pm

One down side. Adding the mesh in seems to pull on the lid in such a way that the side locking handles won't stay locked anymore. I'm going to solve this with heavy duty velcro,  just to be sure the lid is secure. Until then I've weighed it down.

I just sort of threw together this set up, using a lot of what she had in the other bin hoping it would ease the transition for her. She's still so shy I hardly see her out!


Size comparison of her old bin to her new bin.


The bin is also temporarily on a table until we get the floor fixed in the spot I want to place the tank stand.  And sorry for the back to back posts. I hope you guys dont mind my Hamtaro updates.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:46 am

The Velcro is doing the job well! It's tough for me to get the lid off now. Laughing

She's been in hiding since the move, though I can see she did come out at some point to eat. I think I'm going to drop in a bunch of tubes between all the other hides and things. Just to add even more cover and hopefully she'll start to feel more comfortable soon.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by Peachy on Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:52 pm

That's a huge difference, and it looks great... I hope she gets used to all of her space soon. I've used duct tape to help hold down mesh on bin lids, too. Fun way to add more color. Smile
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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by MesaMouse on Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:35 pm

It turned out beautifully! I was really surprised at how supple the lid was both for drilling holes and anchoring the hardware cloth (I used a total of 18 sets of machine screws, nuts and washers) and, fortunately, both ends still lock! Little Hamtaro must feel like she's been dropped into some vast uncharted territory but, after a few nights exploring when the lights are out, she'll be right at home.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:40 pm

Thanks! Very Happy

That's awesome that the locks still work on yours! Mine keep popping open even with the Velcro. I don't know if it's just the curl of the mesh pulling on it or what.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:12 am

It's been a while since I shared any pics of her so here's a couple from today.



As you can see from the pics, she's still super nervous when she's out of her bin so I try not to shove the phone in her face too much. When she gets up the courage to explore the play area, she keeps very low to the ground - long and flat. It's pretty silly looking. Then all she really does is try to find a way to escape.  Laughing  But she climbs right onto my hand and is very sweet. Never tries to bite at all.  She will also finally explore some in the ball. I had all but given up on it because she would just freeze but I tried again yesterday after some time and she was finally cruising around a little.

In her bin she's still quite shy too. She doesn't come out until late evening, when it's dark and quieter. Even then if she spots you watching she'll duck in the nearest hide and wait for you to leave. I've never had a hamster be so shy, especially in their own space. All the other species I've had were out and about very often and warmed up quickly.  I can tell she's most active when we're all asleep because I'll find she's knocked things over, emptied her dish, and peed a little in the wheel the next morning.  I don't know if she'll ever come around or if I'll continue spending most of my time watching tank decor. Laughing  From a few things I've read this seems to be fairly common with Chinese hams.

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by MesaMouse on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:40 am

Just love that face: it's all eyes! I don't know if Hamtaro's behavior is wholly due to her species -- most very small creatures (wee rodents, lizards, etc) naturally seem to "freeze" whenever some larger living thing is nearby in the hope that they won't be discovered and eaten. When the beastie is a bit bigger, like a mouse, gerbil or Syrian ham, it seems to be a bit braver about moving around when said larger living thing is present. Apparently she trusts you, though, as she's willing to climb onto your hand. The "trying to escape" sure sounds familiar: that's Imogene's main preoccupation when she's in her playpen (20L tank); she's gotten better about not constantly looking for a way out when she's at home since she moved to the roomier IRIS bin. Glad to hear that Hamtaro is finally taking to the exercise ball but it's really hard to know if they're actually having fun or just trying to escape. Imo willing gets into her ball and really motors around the room, into the bathroom, up against the cat's litter pan, back out into her room, banging into walls, my legs, etc, as she speeds around. She got herself into a corner a few nights ago but turned right around when I called to her and is always very happy/relieved to get out of the ball and back home where the ground is stable and nothing is moving Laughing .

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:47 am

I agree, it is hard to know for sure if they are actually enjoying the ball. Undecided

Imo sounds like so much fun and so so silly. Hearts

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by scaredymouse on Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:15 pm

She sounds like my new boy mouse.  He flattens out like a pancake and crawls/slithers around.  But he will also happily jump in my hand to come out.  In fact, he will even run up to the hammock to beg to come out.  Then once he's out, he's a big weirdo.  If I put him on my shoulder, he practically shreds my neck trying to burrow under my clothes.  He even likes to go under bra straps!  It's like he's wearing a little seatbelt Rofling

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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by CallaLily on Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:48 am

Short little clips of her in my hood this morning - nothing special.  She's seems a little bit more comfortable with this sort of play/bonding time so I think I'll do this more.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BQLJicQBvEc/

And a few pics.




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Re: Chinese Hamster

Post by MesaMouse on Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:31 pm

Such pretty coloring, almost like a chipmunk...except chipmunks have two stripes down the back. How does she respond to your youngest son? Technically she's his, right?

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