Hamster keep nipping you? Can’t pick it up? Dwarf hamsters can become untamed if they are not handled regularly. This can often be the case with dwarves that have come from a pet shop, as most of the staff simply do not have the time to play with the hamsters.
The first thing you should know about taming your hamster is that you should always allow them a few days to settle in before you try to handle them. New hamsters are generally very nervous when you try to hold them for the first time. Think about it, your hand reaching into the cage is massive compared to the size of the hamster! You would be pretty scared too! Just follow the guide below and you and your hamster will be best friends in no time! But remember to persist in taming your hamster, it may bite you several times before it will allow you to pick it up.
- Always wash your hands before handling your hamster. If your hands smell of food the hamster may mistake you for a tasty snack and try to bite you!
- The first step is to actually pick up your hamster. In most cases, this is easier said than done! Try scooping it up in a cup or tube. Once on your hand, hamsters will not usually bite.
- When your hamster is on your hand, slowly lift it out of the cage. Sit on the floor and let your hamster familiarise itself with you. Offer it treats and talk to it reassuringly. Try to avoid making loud noises and sudden movements, the hamster is nervous enough!
- Offer your hamster a treat, such as a small piece of apple or grape. This will build up trust between you and the hamster, and it will learn to associate you with food.
- Continue to pick up your hamster playing with it and offering it treats for about 2 weeks. Do this every day for about 20 minutes.
- Now comes the real test of your hamster training abilities. Try laying your hand flat on the floor of the cage. Your hamster will probably sniff you and make several attempts to eat you. Be patient. Let your hamster explore your hand, and if it sits on your hand, lift it out of the cage, then put it back down again. Continue to do this, and the hamster will learn to associate your hand with coming out of the cage for a run around and a treat. If your hamster sits on your hand as soon as you put it in the cage, this is a good sign- you are a master hamster trainer!
Always remember not to wake your hamster up to play with it. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, and they will not like it if you wake them up whilst they are in a deep sleep! Wait for your hamster to wake up in it’s own time, and give it a chance to go to the toilet, eat and drink before you play with it.
Once Syrians become tame, they are typically tame for life and will remain that way even if they are not handled regularly. However, dwarves need regular handling to prevent them from going ‘wild.’