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How to Make Your Hamster Trust You?
Hamsters are cute little animals to keep as pets. They are naturally inquisitive and can be fun to observe in their cages. However, hamsters are not automatically trusting of people. In fact, because of your size (you are hundreds of times larger than your hamster), he may even see you as a predator until proven otherwise. With time, patience, and gentle handling, your hamster will learn to trust you and get to know you for who you are.
Handling Your Hamster
Work with your hamster when he is alert. Once your hamster is adjusted to his new home and your presence, you can gain his trust by handling him properly. He will be more receptive to working with you when he is fully awake and alert, which is in the evening.
Do not wake your hamster up to work with him. If he is sleeping deeply, being woken up suddenly can cause him to jump into defensive mode, which could lead to you being bitten or nipped at.
If he is busy doing something else when you approach his cage, get his attention by lightly tapping on the cage, moving his water bottle, or softly talking to him.
Wash your hands. Clean hands are important to handling your hamster. If your hands smell like food, your hamster will see your hands as food and will probably try to bite them. Be sure to wash your hands with unscented soap—even a fruit-scented soap could cause your hamster to bite your hands.
If you have multiple hamsters, wash your hands between handling each one. The smell of one hamster on your hands would lead the next hamster to believe he is being attacked.
Acclimate your hamster to your hand. Your hamster will trust you when he can trust that your hands will not harm him. With your hands freshly washed, slowly place one of your hands in the bottom of his cage. Allow him to explore your hand by smelling it.
Do not be surprised if your hamster runs and hides when you first place your hand in his cage. From his perspective as a prey animal, your hand reaching into his cage could resemble a large bird swooping down to scoop him up.
Rest your hand in a non-threatening way, with your fingers curled. Spreading your fingers out could make your hamster think he’s being attacked.
Do not pull your hand away if he starts to nibble on it. His nibbles are a way of exploring your hand. If you suddenly pull your hand back, you could frighten him and make him more wary of your hand.
Try offering him treats, talking to him, or stroking his back as he becomes more comfortable with your hand. Eventually, he will take your treats from your hand.
Pick up your hamster. When your hamster is comfortable with your hand, slowly reach into his cage with both hands. Hold your hands like a scoop and wait for your hamster to walk into your hands. Support him with both hands as you slowly lift your hands out his cage. Have him face you when you lift him up—he will know what’s happening to him and will be less likely to jump.
Your hamster may become skittish and jump off your hands when your hands are still in the cage—let him do so.
If he seems agitated, calm him down by giving him a treat and/or stroking his back. Talking to him in a soothing voice could also calm him down.
Your hamster may squeal when you pick him up, signaling that he’s annoyed with being held.
If he continues to squeal, gently place him back in his cage and try to pick him up at a later time.
If you are having trouble picking him up with your hands, place an empty mug in his cage and let him climb into it. When he has crawled into the mug, gently ‘pour’ him out of the mug into your hands.
Hold your hamster for short periods of time. Being held by you can be stressful for your hamster. Try holding him for a minute or two initially, then slowly increase the amount of time each time you pick him up. Aim for handling him for about five minutes a day.
Hold him close to your body and stroke his back and forehead.
When he is more comfortable with being held, sit or lay on the floor and let your hamster crawl and climb on you.
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