by Kyrstie Waters
(last updated June 8, 2009)
Hamsters can be a fun and friendly pet to have. Some hamsters require different techniques for handling and taming, although most hamsters will need to be hand tamed. This can be difficult at first and your hamster may bite you if he or she feels threatened or scared.
Hamsters scare very easily, so try not to make any loud or abrupt noises when nearing their cage. Before you even try to hold your hamster, let it get used to its new home for two or three days. It is a good idea to sit near the cage and talk to your hamster softly. This will help the hamster get used to your voice. Talk to your hamster a lot for the first couple of days. After the first few days, open the cage door and close it again. Do this repeatedly every couple of hours for the next day or so. This is to help your hamster get used to the sound of its cage being opened so it won't be scared everytime it hears the cage opening.
Once you can open the door to your hamster's cage without frightening it, try placing your hand inside the cage. Do not try to pick up your hamster. Simply place your hand inside the cage, leave it there for a couple seconds, and remove it. Do this repeatedly every couple of hours. Your hamster will get used to the smell of you and your hand. If your hamster ever takes interest in your hand, this is a good thing! Your hamster will start sniffing your hand at first, then gradually stepping on to it. If your hamster steps onto your hand don't try to pull it out of the cage. Let your hamster sit on your hand for a few minutes without moving. Do this for a few hours, or until it does not scare your hamster. Once your hamster is used to your hand, try lifting your hand up a few inches and setting it back down. Your hamster will get used to being lifted in the air. This process will help your hamster build trust towards you.
When you feel like your hamster trusts you, try taking it out of the cage. Cup your hamster in both hands—this will let your hamster know that you won't drop him or her. Talk to your hamster soothingly. By now your hamster should be used to your voice and it should calm him or her down. Reward your hamster with treats and practice this daily until you can get your hamster out of its cage without any hesitation.
While you are hand taming your hamster, do your best not to drop it. Even short drops can harm your hamster. Your hamster will lose trust in you and it could be very difficult to hold your hamster after such an event. Try not to make any sudden movements as you hold your hamster as they frighten very easily and may bite. Once you have completed this process, you will have a new furry companion. Have fun!
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