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.

Similar entries

  • Which small mammal will make the right pet for you? Here’s a short rundown of their specifications.


    Golden hamsters live 2-3 years and grow to about 6 inches in length. As solitary animals, they should be kept alone in their cages. Hamsters are active pets and require large cages; a minimum size would be 12 x 12 x 18 inches, but a larger cage is recommended. Be sure to get the prerequisite hamster wheel to help them burn off some of their extensive energy.

  • Mice are a wonderful pet for young children just learning to take care of animals, or anyone who would love an active, adorable but low-maintenance pet.

    When you’re picking out a mouse, find one that’s active and healthy with bright eyes. Have your veterinarian give your new mouse a checkup first thing. If you’re bringing a new mouse into a group of mice you’ve had for some time, keep him in a sort of quarantine until you’re sure he’s free of any bacterial diseases or viruses.

  • Rabbits—social, playful and active—can be wonderful pets, as long as you know what to expect from them, and how to take care of them.

  • Guinea pigs are wonderful pets, gentle and loving. They easily become quite accustomed to human handling, and love to be petted and held regularly. Some guineas will make a rumbling, chirping sound while they’re being petted, similar to a cat's purr.

  • If you’re looking to care for a pet bird, there are so many kinds you can adopt—one to talk to you, one to play with you, one to sing to you—that there’s bound to be a perfect bird out there for you. Every species of bird has special demands and characteristics, but all birds require proper care.

    You may have to seek out a veterinarian familiar enough with birds to provide you with all the answers to your questions, as well as an effective annual check up. A general practice vet may recommend a bird specialist.