If you’ve never held a hamster before, don’t worry! It’s easier than you think, and it can be a lot of fun. Once your hamster gets to know you, it will be more than happy to sit in your hands and become accustomed to regular handling. However, it’s important to supervise young children when handling these small pets. Follow the checklist below to ensure a positive and successful first-time experience.
Overcoming the Fear of Hamster Bites
One common concern when handling a hamster is the fear of being bitten. Rest assured, hamsters only bite if they feel scared or threatened. It’s their way of communicating that they want you to stop doing something that is stressing them out. If your hamster does happen to bite you, avoid punishing it. Instead, gently return it to its cage and try to understand why it bit you. Remember, patience and understanding are key when building trust with your furry friend.
Safely Picking Up Your Hamster
Once your hamster is tamed and awake, follow these steps to safely pick it up:
Wash your hands: Before handling your hamster, make sure to wash your hands with unscented soap and water. Hamsters have a keen sense of smell, so it’s important to remove any unfamiliar scents that might scare or confuse your pet.
Introduce your hand: Rather than making a sudden grab, introduce your hand to the cage by placing your palm facing down on the floor for a few seconds. This allows your hamster to become familiar with your presence before attempting to touch it.
Palm up: Once your hamster approaches and investigates your hand, turn your palm up and wait for it to crawl onto your hand. Be patient and avoid grabbing or startling your hamster, as this may result in a bite.
Using bedding: If your hamster is still shy, you can gently scoop it up using both hands and some of the bedding it is sitting on. This method provides extra support and prevents your hamster from falling.
Keep your hands in the cage: During the initial stages of holding your hamster, keep your hands inside the cage in case it wants to jump off. Once you and your hamster are more comfortable with each other, you can gently place your other hand on top to prevent it from jumping.
Move slowly and keep it close: When holding your hamster, move slowly and keep it close to your body. This helps your pet feel secure and reduces the risk of it panicking. If you’re not confident in holding your hamster, consider sitting down to minimize the distance it could fall.
Reward with treats: For the first few holding sessions, offer your hamster a treat. This creates a positive association between spending time with you and having a pleasant experience. It won’t take long for your hamster to look forward to these handling sessions.
Keep it brief: In the early days, limit holding sessions to one or two minutes to minimize stress. The treat will help break the ice, and your hamster will soon grow to love these interactions.
Returning Your Hamster to its Cage
To put your hamster back in its cage, release it an inch or so above the cage floor and allow it to walk back on its own. This empowers your hamster and helps it feel more comfortable in its environment. Repeat this process three times a day, and after about a week, your pet will start seeking out your hand when you place it in the cage. You can then start holding your hamster for longer periods without the need for treats every time.
Remember, patience, gentleness, and respect are essential when holding your hamster. With time and consistent positive interactions, you’ll build a bond of trust and enjoy many wonderful moments together.