Making Your Hamster Comfortable

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, Behavioral & Training

Hamsters who bite generally only do so because they are frightened or stressed. If they’re brought up from an early age with gentle handling, their timidness will often fade. Here are some tips on making your hamster more comfortable.

Your hamster will need to become acclimated to his new home, so let him do so for a few days. Spend some time around the cage and speak quietly to get him used to your voice.

Offer him some small snacks—raisins, apricots or sunflower seeds—by hand, and once he takes the treats from your fingers you can try to pick him up. Allow him to walk onto your palm and you can scoop him into your hands.

Once he’s in your hand, cup your other hand over him so he doesn’t jump off. Just in case, hold him over your lap or another soft surface in case he jumps or falls. Let him crawl back and forth between each hand. Eventually he will become used to being handled and held.

To pick up a hamster that’s not yet tame, scoop him into a cup. If you’re afraid of possible bites, wear gloves. Always be gentle with untamed hamsters; any rough behavior will make them even more resistant to being held.

Hamsters are nocturnal mammals, so any amount of excess noise or other disturbances during the day will not make him happy. Make sure the room your hamster lives in is as quiet as possible.

Even if you aren’t planning on taking your hamster out of his cage for any length of time, you should still hamster-proof the room that holds his cage. A smaller room with less furniture is better for all rodents, since there will be less for the hamster to become stuck in, and less opportunity for hiding. Place all electrical cords and plants out of reach—and anything you don’t want chewed.

If your hamster ever gets out of his cage, you can set a trap for him, using a bucket filled with bedding and food. Lean a block of wood against the bucket’s edge to make a ramp. The hamster will jump into the bucket but won’t be able to climb out. Make sure there’s enough bedding in the bucket so that the hamster won’t be hurt when jumping in. While your hamster is on the lam, keep his cage open and stocked with food and water. He’ll likely come back for supplies—most often at night, so watch out for his return.

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