For some time I’ve had to keep my Chinese in smaller cages as they’ve refused to settle in the larger ones and I actually became quite good at noticing the signs of a hamster that is unhappy in a larger cage. In light of this, I tend to start them small and with a hamster that has had trouble adjusting to being separated from his siblings, this has been the most effective method. Just recently though, we’ve had a few problems with the behaviour of Jessie Jaye, the cheeky little Dom Spot that arrived at Metallica just under a year ago. She’s a tiny bundle of mischief but is a generally a happy hamster.

To start with Jessie seemed to be more hyper than normal so I made sure she had enough to keep her occupied in her cage as well as ensuring I varied her playtimes. I also tested her for diabetes which can cause changes in behaviour. Thankfully she came back negative for diabetes so I thought that in a day or so, she’d settle down again. She didn’t…she got worse and began bar chewing. I checked her wheel, ensured that she had sufficient chews and that her teeth looked as they were supposed to. No change so I consulted a friend for advice and she gave me another tip to try but unfortunately Jessie’s behaviour began to take a dramatic turn for the worst. Instead of being just hyper, she was frantic. My poor little girl seemed stressed in her body language and was obsessively bar chewing so I decided that I’d put her in one of my larger bin cages. It  had very little potential for chewing, which would at least help to stop her from hurting herself. The transformation in Jessie was apparent almost straight away. She was no longer frantic and was happily running on her wheel and doing her housekeeping. I’m relieved that things have improved for her but I also think that it’s a reminder that every hamster is different in what they want out of their living environment and as responsible owners we have to pay attention to our hamsters behaviour and body language to ensure that we are providing them with the cage they need.