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We can't tame our hamster.

(13 Posts)
oopslateagain Fri 19-Apr-13 18:07:26

We got a hamster from Pets at Home at the beginning of Feb. While DD was choosing one, I asked the salesman how old they were, how much they had been handled etc - they were 9 weeks old and had NEVER been handled. Not at all. hmm

Of course, by that time, DD had chosen one and named him. The salesman scooped him into the box without touching it.

10 weeks later and we still can't handle him. We've tried, we really have. I've had about 10 hamsters over the years (not including the totally unexpected litter of 5 from a "male hamster" we'd had for 2 weeks), so it's not like I'm a novice at small furry animals. He will just tolerate me putting my hand in his cage and touching his back - for about two seconds, then he turns and rears up and nips.

I am on the point of giving up. sad

OnceUponAThyme Fri 19-Apr-13 18:23:05

try offering treats from the palm of your hand, but dont try and touch or lift him.
you could get a large plastic box/ cardboard box and put some tubes and toys in it. while hamster is in box, let it sniff your hands, and run over them so he gets used to your smell and realises you mean no harm.
another way I've read is to sit in a dry bath, lined with a towel and let hamster run over you to get used to you. you can move slowly to picking it up after it gets more used to you.
it does take time and some hamsters never really enjoy being picked up but you'll get there smile

chaime Fri 19-Apr-13 18:26:17

Could it be a Russian hamster? They're the least tame-able kind apparently.

We got a hamster from Pets at Home and were told it was a male hamster. We were wondering after a few days why it suddenly turned reclusive and angry - we found out when we opened its hidey-home one morning and there were 6 babies in there hmm

Madratlady Fri 19-Apr-13 18:32:33

Don't give up!

OnceUponAThyme's advice is great.

Put some gloves on when you have to handle him, if you have thick gardening gloves use them, he'll soon learn that nipping has no consequences.

oopslateagain Fri 19-Apr-13 19:18:27

It's a Syrian hamster, they're usually the easiest to handle.

If I offer treats from my hand, he doesn't touch the treats - he nips me. If my hand is near him, he nips. If I just put my hand on the floor so he can get used to my smell, he comes up, sniffs, and nips.

Honestly, over two months of this - is he really going to improve? sad

NotYourCheese Fri 19-Apr-13 19:21:05

I had a hamster that actually screamed in fear when I tried to hold him.
It was awful, he just didn't like being held.

noitsachicken Fri 19-Apr-13 19:25:14

Try rubbing your hands in his bedding etc before you try to handle him. Might make you seem less alien. And spend time just with your hands around him without touching him. Also offering treats etc as others have suggested.

oopslateagain Fri 19-Apr-13 19:33:07

I can't spend time with my hands around him, he freaks (stands on his back legs, tense and rigid) and then lunges and nips. Ditto if I offer treats. He either does the freeze-lunge-nip, or creeps forward, grabs the treat, and scurries back into his house to hide.

I've tried holding his bedding. It hasn't helped.

I'm not being dismissive of the suggestions, honestly. Thank you all. Please keep them coming - if there's something I haven't tried, it's worth a shot.

OnceUponAThyme Fri 19-Apr-13 19:36:02

some hamsters won't tolerate being picked up inside the cage. I think the bath idea might be good for your hammy, entice him into a hamster ball or cup with food and then sit in the bath with him for ten minutes or
I know it's obvious but wash your hands before handling so you dont smell like food. maybe offer carrot sticks through the bars so nipping is minimum.
gloves are a good idea so you feel more confident handling him, but don't lift him till you can touch him. don't touch him from behind or do it suddenly.
maybe tucking a tissue into your bra all day then leaving it in his cage would be an idea, so he gets used to you. trying to think of more.

OnceUponAThyme Fri 19-Apr-13 19:38:21

also, put your hands in the cage to refill food, water, reshape sawdust etc without approaching him. ignore him and do something harmless. this will teach him hands don't mean anything stressful maybe.

oopslateagain Fri 19-Apr-13 20:46:20

I do wash my hands before handling him. He ignores my hands if I mess about in the cage - I can keep my hand in his cage as long as it's nowhere near him, and he's quite happy. It's only when I approach him (or he approaches me) that he gets stressed.

He will take food if offered through the bars, it just isn't helping.

The tissue in the bra is a good idea, maybe just holding the bedding for a few minutes isn't enough. I will try that, and the 'bath time' (well we've got a walk-in shower with a proper door, which is close enough).

Fingers crossed.

OnceUponAThyme Fri 19-Apr-13 21:15:39

hope it works. it can take time. I had a hammy who was like a furry ninja for three months but with persistence and bribery, he would cuddle in our laps and came to the cage door to be lifted out.

oopslateagain Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:51

grin at furry ninja. That's what we've got!

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