Taming a new hamster(6 Posts)
I've had my male hamster a week now and he's settled in very well, eating and drinking well and runs like the wind in his flying saucer wheel.
The last time I had a hamster I was a child and I remember her just 'being tame' but this hamster just bites me, not aggressively but biting all the same.
I just wondered if anyone had tips on how to tame him! I'd love to hold and play with him in my hands!
I grew up having a large amount of hamsters during my childhood. We had a couple like this, I suggest wearing gloves to start with to protect your hands (!) but just keep handling him daily. What I used to do was shut myself in the smallest room in the house (bathroom) and just let the hamster get used to running around me/climbing over me etc. It just helps them get used to your presence and scent etc. Try feeding him some treats too. If you keep this up he should get used to be handled very soon!
When my sons hamster kept biting, we gently blew on him every time and he stopped. Handle him daily so he gets used to you and learns to trust.
One thing that some people swear by is the "tissue trick".
You take a few sheets of clean loo roll and wear them up your sleeve for a few hours, so that they start to smell of you. Then, place the loo roll in their nest - that way they start to associate your smell with a place of safety. Hamsters largely identify people by their scent, as their sight isn't great, hence why this one works.
On that note, make sure your hands are clean whenever you try to handle him - young hamsters can sometimes mistake fingers that have recently been in contact with food for actual food...
Other than that, try placing your hand (not moving) in his cage, and just let him clamber over it, sniff it, etc, still not moving. Try offering food from your hands (treats should be limited, so this can just be single bits of food from his main food - Harry Hamster is reckoned to be the best nutritionally speaking by the way). Once he's used to this, you can try moving your hands a little when he's near them, and work up from there. Small grabby hands must be terrifying for a small prey species, so avoid those for now!
Chances are you'll manage to tame him fairly rapidly, but it's worth mentioning that some hamsters are bitey because they are in cages that are too small and are stressed by it - when they have a larger cage they rapidly stop biting. Another common sign of the cage being too small is excessive bar chewing (which is also dreadful for their teeth). 70x40cm footprint (excluding shelves) is about the minimum size for hamster welfare (there's not a single cage sold in store by Pets at Home that meets this, and only one online), and you can get some large cages that are excellent value for money from Zooplus.
Baffles me why pets at home sell the very small hamster cages.
The advice we were given for DD when getting used to handling it was to put the hamster in a dry bath so it can run around without being able to escape while getting used to her hands and smell.
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