Hamsters are adorable creatures that make for great beginner pets. However, one of the downsides of these animals is that they can frequently bite their owners. Thankfully, this is a behavior you should be able to discourage over the course of five weeks.
During the first week after you bring your hamster home, you’re going to need to get to know them. After all, you’re a stranger to them, so they need to spend time with you before they’ll stop seeing you as a threat. Try to spend an hour or two by the cage in the evenings as this is when the animals are most active. You can talk or even sing to them – whatever you feel comfortable with. As long as the hamster is becoming familiar with your scent and presence, it doesn’t matter too much.
By this point, you want to start increasing the proximity between you and your hamster without actually initiating contact. To do this, put your hand in the cage, gradually moving it further inside each day. Make sure your movements are slow and gentle, allowing your pet to sniff and explore your hand if they feel so inclined. Just don’t try to touch them if they do this, as this could prompt them to lash out and bite.
With the hamster now used to your hand, you can start making your presence a little more exciting for them. How? By offering them treats. You don’t want to go overboard with this; otherwise, your pet will get greedy and gain weight. A small treat or two every day will go a long way to making them more comfortable around you and your hand, though.
After weeks of wanting to touch your hamster, you can finally do it. However, don’t let your excitement get the better of you because that will set your progress back. Be sure to keep calm and do everything gently, so your pet doesn’t feel under attack. For now, you want to keep the contact strictly to petting. If the hamster reacts badly to this, stop what you’re doing and revert back to week three. Otherwise, continue to maintain this minimal physical contact for the next seven days.
If everything’s gone well up to this point, your hamster should be ready for you to pick them up. As with everything else, take this step slowly, allowing them to feel in control of the situation. A good technique for picking your hamster up is to entice them with treats and then use both hands to scoop them up. You should cup them in your hands, with your fingers under their belly and their back covered gently. That last part is essential because holding them too tight could make them panic.
As agonizing as it may be to wait a month to hold your hamster, the delay is essential to stop them from biting. If everything goes to plan, there shouldn’t be any issues with your pet getting vicious during your time together.