Hamsters are very cute creatures and excellent pets; however, it sometimes takes some time for them to become familiar with their owner. If you want to tame one, you need to take the time to slowly accustom it to your presence and let it adjust to your scent. Help him feel safe by offering him a peaceful and comfortable place to live and by making him familiar with you while respecting his rhythms.
Part 1 of 4: Make him feel comfortable
Step 1. Provide the pet with a pleasant home
When you decide to get yourself a new hamster, you need to offer him a comfortable place to live; this means installing a suitable cage for him. You also need to provide him with an absorbent substrate so that he feels comfortable and can use the "toilet" in the cage. You have to clean the dirty spots of the substrate every day and replace it entirely about once a week.
Also be sure to put a bottle of water so he can drink when he's inside
Step 2. Feed him regularly
The hamster is an omnivorous animal, which means that it eats both animal and vegetable food. The typical food for this small rodent is in the form of dried pellets, but it is a good idea to supplement it with pieces of raw fruit and vegetables, to be considered as treats to offer him a couple of times a week.
- Usually, he should eat about 10 g of dry food twice a day.
- For occasional treats you can give him bites of broccoli, peaches, cauliflower or bananas; do not offer him any citrus fruits (such as lemons or oranges) or acidic foods (such as onions) as they may cause digestive problems.
- In the first days when he is in his new home you have to be careful not to impose your presence on him too much; this is especially important when eating. Just put the food in the cage and leave it alone to eat in peace; this way he begins to feel safer around you.
Step 3. Wait a week before attempting to touch it
You need to give him time to get used to you and feel secure and well settled in his new home; do not force any contact with him during this time.
Sometimes, this process can take even longer; the important thing is to be patient in the early days
Part 2 of 4: Get used to your presence
Step 1. Help him recognize your voice
When you are in the same area as the hamster's cage, try to talk to him in a quiet tone so that he begins to recognize your voice and learn not to fear you.
- You should approach the cage and take a few minutes each time (several times a day) if only to talk to him in a gentle tone.
- After the first few days you can also remove the lid so you feel better; just make sure you don't run away.
Step 2. Offer him some treats
Start feeding him by placing some tasty treats between the bars of the cage or through the opening, depending on the type of "house" you have provided. By associating your presence with treats, the hamster should begin to overcome fear.
You can also rub the treat on the palm of your hand so that it learns to recognize your scent; repeat this technique for a few days
Step 3. Wash your hands
At first, before attempting to pick it up, you must wash them thoroughly to remove any residual food odors; otherwise, the small rodent may unintentionally bite you.
If you are concerned that it may bite you, you can wear gloves when you decide to grab it the first few times
Step 4. Begin to insert your hand into the cage carefully
When the hamster is awake, slowly put your hand inside the enclosure and let it sniff it, avoiding forcing any other contact; if he seems scared and walks away from you, remove your hand and try again a week or two later.
- You can try putting a few treats on her palm to see if she is less afraid this way.
- Do not move away when he makes sudden movements when you are trying to stroke or catch him; if you get scared, you frighten him even more.
Step 5. Grab it
Once you take the time to establish contact with your little friend, you should try to pick him up; make sure you grab it firmly so it can't fall and hurt itself. After some time it should begin to rise on your palm of its own accord.
- Never squeeze him, otherwise he might experience it as a threat; instead cupped your hands and let him walk on them himself.
- If it squeaks, it means that it is agitated and in this case you should put it back in the cage; give him some more time to get to know you better before attempting to touch him again.
Part 3 of 4: Strengthening the Bond
Step 1. Make him feel safe
The hamster may be nervous at first, but once you start stroking and talking to him, he should be calmer than he was in the early days. Be careful reading his body language - if he runs away from you or starts screeching, move away from the cage; if he seems interested and approaches voluntarily, feel free to continue doing this.
Don't try to force him to do things that might scare him, or you risk compromising the bond you are trying to establish with him; if you try to "push ahead", you may take longer to tame it
Step 2. Keep interacting with your little friend
Make sure you give him plenty of quality moments; the more time you spend relating to him, the more comfortable and safe he feels in your presence. This way, you manage to tame it sooner than you can imagine and soon the hamster will be very friendly and docile.
You should try to hold it in your hand at least a few minutes every day, otherwise it can be difficult for him to get used to you and more effort will be required on your part
Step 3. Show your love for him
Never forget about him; remember that you have a little furry friend who wants to play and interact with you; show him all your love and don't overlook the fact of offering him some delicious treats! This is the single most important aspect of taming it.
The more time you spend playing with him, the more docile he becomes
Part 4 of 4: Addressing Specific Problems
Step 1. Manage hamster bites
If he bites you, it usually means that he is scared or anxious; this is his natural way of reacting to fear. If so, you need to wait longer before grabbing it. Keep talking to him and let him sniff your hand every now and then, but don't force him to climb onto your palm for at least another couple of weeks. Wait until he no longer seems nervous as you insert your hand into the cage (be careful if he tries to bite it, squirms or squeaks).
- Be careful not to wake him up when he sleeps, he may get scared and bite you in reaction.
- It may bite you even if there is a smell of food on your hand; so be sure to wash them thoroughly before grabbing the hamster.
Step 2. Look out for any health problems
Since it is such a small creature, it may be necessary to observe it very carefully to understand if it suffers from any dangerous disease. Although a generally healthy animal, a problem can quickly wear out its tiny body.
- Its major complaint is usually diarrhea, which requires immediate veterinary attention, as the hamster could die of dehydration; the clear indication of diarrhea is a dirty and wet butt.
- Another rather common medical complication is the protrusion of the eyeballs from the sockets. The cause is usually an eye infection or some type of physical trauma; if his eyes seem to be bulging, take him to the vet immediately.
Step 3. Manage cohabitation problems
The hamster is a territorial creature and therefore does not like to share its cage with other animals, including other hamsters. If you see that your little rodents are fighting each other, it is necessary to permanently separate them by placing them in separate cages.
At the very least, make sure there are no enclosed spaces in the cage for a hamster to corner another and make sure everyone has enough water and food so they don't fight with each other
- Always put a wheel in the cage to allow the small rodent to run as often as he wants.
- You can train him to do some tricks and games (such as standing, giving the paw, and so on) by offering him some treats.
- To teach him to stand up, hold a candy above his head until he stands up to pick it up.
- Change your food and water every day.
- Don't worry if it bites you. Chances are you surprised him or your hand smells like food; remember to always wash them before and after handling it.
- Never disturb him while he eats, drinks or sleeps.
- Some hamsters are aggressive and fast, therefore they tend to bite and then run away; if your specimen also behaves this way, you should wear gloves when you grab it.
- It is better not to put two specimens in the same cage, unless they are of the Roborovsky race or the Russian (Campbell's dwarf); also the Syrian one fights with his fellow creatures and often two adult animals come to kill each other when they are in the same cage
- Get a cage large enough for the small rodent; remember that the minimum space it needs is 0.25sqm.