Handling and interacting with a pet is one of the main reasons for having one.
And with hamsters it’s not different.
Having just bought a new hamster at the pet store and bringing it home, the urge to start handling and petting it is huge.
After all, it seems so cute and cuddle. And perhaps, it might seem shy or scared in its new environment and you want to comfort it?
Unfortunately, that is the last thing you should do.
The first thing you should do is actually nothing. While it is okay to be around the hamster, you should be silent. Also, do not get any body part inside the cage or try to get its attention.
Basically, you should place the hamster in its cage and give it time to adjust to its new life.
For how long should you leave your hamster alone?
Luckily, the hamster will give you some obvious clues that it is ready to get to know its new owner.
A comfortable hamster will be eating, drinking and playing when you’re around and when it does so, you can move to #2.
When your hamster starts getting comfortable it is time for you and your little fluffy friend to get acquainted.
At this stage, you should start speaking with your hamster and getting your hand in the cage.
However, we are not ready to start touching our hamster yet.
As mentioned, you should start talking softly with your hamster.
In addition, you should start getting your hand in the cage. Do so by starting to change the food and water daily, as well as replacing old toys with new toys. You should also start removing soiled bedding.
And most importantly, you should bring treats to your hamster. Try to get it to eat from the tip of your hand (as in picture below) but never reach out for the hamster – let it come to you instead.
A bond will start to develop between you and your hamster at this stage. This is completely natural as it is only natural to trust someone that treats you well.
As for yourself, you will get a lot of joy from watching your little hamster enjoy and use its small teeth to digest the treats.
All in all, step #2 is all about your hamster getting used to your hand in the cage.
During step #2 you should never try to touch your hamster. Although you have probably had contact, this has been the hamster touching you.
Now we should try to make it comfortable with you touching it.
To do so you should start giving it treats from the palm of your hand.
1. Place your hand inside the cage with an empty hand
2. Let your hamster approach and sniff your hand
3. If it nips your hand slowly pull back – do not make any sudden movements no matter what happens
4. When it is comfortable, place a treat in your palm (seed usually works well)
5. When your hamster becomes comfortable climbing your hand and going to your palm, try to lift your hand slightly. Your hamster may become wary and jump off, but keep doing it as long as it will still climb onto your hand. If it gets wary of climbing onto your hand, go back to step 4.
The time frame here can vary from a few days to up to a month depending on your hamster’s age and personality.
When you can comfortably lift your hamster off the ground it is time to start actually picking it up.
When doing so, make sure you do so just above your lap or another soft surface in case they jump or fall off.
Over time, the hamster will get comfortable and you can let it crawl from one hand to another and up your arms.
After all, your hamster is very curious and what could be more exciting than getting to know its owner?
By now, the hard work might be done, but the task is not completed.
Like any other relation with living things, you should regularly pick up and play with your hamster.
… most just love being rubbed on the belly.
And will make the two of you best friends in no time!
Taming your hamster gives huge benefits for you and your hamster.
It does take some time, but as the old saying goes “everything worth doing is worth fighting for”.
And we hope our guide will make it somewhat easier to achieve.
If you have any questions please ask us below in the comments section. We will be around to answer them.
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