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Small pets

Is it true that Syrian hamsters bite?

15 replies

EdwardSock15 · 27/09/2017 11:50

I'm in my 20s; it's not for a child. I'm getting it from a breeder (ready in 5 weeks) and are held a lot. Is it true that it will bite? Reading all the threads about them, I read "they are bitey".

OP posts:
Ginmakesitallok · 27/09/2017 11:52

Some are, some aren't. Depends on how they are handled. Our wee girl has never bitten anyone - she's lovely.

rightsaidfrederickII · 01/10/2017 22:41

You need to tame them - though if it's coming from a breeder they should have put some time in with them already

Don't wake the hamster up - if you do, they tend to be grumpy and bitey because as far as they're concerned you're dragging them out of bed at (their) 2am for no particular reason

Don't grab at them to pick them up - that produces an "oh shit I'm about to be eaten by a predator" reaction and a defensive response

Always wash your hands before touching them, especially if you've been eating food. If your hands smell like food they may think it's food.

Make sure they have a big enough cage (minimum 80x50cm floorspace e.g. Alaska or Barney from - not the shite sold in pet shops) and a 28cm diameter wheel (again, rarely sold in pet shops and if you find one it will be labelled as a rat wheel). That will ensure that they have enough space to burn off excess energy and a wheel that doesn't cause them to run with a bent back or neck and so hurt their back.

As a fellow adult owner of hamsters, I've never had a bite from a Syrian that I didn't deserve. Keep them in good cages, spend time taming them and respect them and they will make a lovely pet for you

tabulahrasa · 01/10/2017 22:46

I had one that would bite me every single time I did anything near it, but didn't with DP...never really worked out why (I'm not a grabby sort of person or anything obvious like that)

So my answer would be, they can be bitey.

HolyShmoly · 01/10/2017 22:52

Sometimes if our hands smell different, ours will like put her teeth around and bite down a very little bit, just to confirm that you aren't edible.
When she was very little she was a bit more bitey, but that was because she wasn't tame and more testing everything.
The one before this one did bite holes through my favourite blanket when she got in a temper with me though. And a hoodie...

youngestisapsycho · 01/10/2017 22:55

Ous has never bitten. She’s a happy little thing really. Likes being handled and cuddled.

treeofhearts · 02/10/2017 10:55

Depends on the hamster. All animals with teeth bite. The threshold for doing so us individual. I've had hammies that never bit and one that was so grouchy and jumpy for the first hour of being awake that he went for anything that moved. Breeder hammies are more likely to be friendly though as they are handled more from a young age.

Slartybartfast · 02/10/2017 11:02

no not really, put your hand in the hutch carefully, palm side up and wait for the hamster to come to you

Njordsgrrrl · 02/10/2017 11:05

Mine tried to kill my then BF. Unlocked its jaws and was hanging off his finger Grin I think the hamster 'knew' so I didn't blame it too much. Never did it to me.

SecretSpi · 07/10/2017 17:34

There's some good advice here. The point about washing your hands before handling is one I have learned through bitter experience - I'd been nibbling some peanuts then tried to pick the hammy up. Remember they have useless eyesight so go almost completely on sense of smell.

If possible, don't try and grab them from above - they'll think you are a bird of prey.

Have fun!

RandomUsernameHere · 07/10/2017 17:48

Our Syrian doesn't bite, but our dwarf hamster does.
Syrian was very nervous when we got him so I spent the first few weeks gradually getting him used to being handled. He is very tame now but still quite jumpy if there is a sudden movement in the room. He was a rescue.
We also have 3 gerbils and they have never bitten. Personally I much prefer gerbils to hamsters now that we have had both.

outofthefryingpan · 04/11/2017 23:02

Our beautiful Syrian girl never bit anyone. She was so gentle and would fall asleep in my hand.

Is it true that Syrian hamsters bite?
Isitwinteryet · 24/11/2017 08:49

Ours was from a breeder that handled them. He never tried to bite me his whole life! He was a lovely little hammy. :)

palmfronds · 24/11/2017 08:53

My hamster only ever bit as a test to see if you were edible - and it was a very gentle 'testing' sort of nibble. He was so tame I would just open the door of his cage and hold my hand outside and he would clamber straight out to say hello.

Yes to all the points above - they need a big cage and wheel and never wake them up to play with them! They have really big personalities for such little beasts if you spend the time with them.

strawberrypenguin · 24/11/2017 08:54

Depends on the hamster but in my experience they do tend to be fairly bitey. Personally I prefer rats. They’re much more social and actually seem to enjoy human company!

Indecisive1976 · 24/11/2017 09:03

Both our hamsters bit at first - to the point my sister refused to handle them. ( Syrian hamsters so one after the other - not two together) but with a bit of patience and careful handling they became super tame and very friendly. Never bit once they were used to us. Just when they were new and scared.

I think they get a bad press because they bite once at the beginning - when they are nervous and unsettled. Then the owners never handle them 'because they bite'. It's a vicious circle ( pardon the pun)!

All small rodents need time and patience to get hand tame at the beginning - although to be fair my rats and guinea pigs didn't bite - just ran off and hid.

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