17 Steps to Tame a Hamster

Hamsters are curious creatures and make great pets. But sometimes, they may take a while to warm up to their owners.

If you want to tame your hamster, you’ll need to spend some time introducing yourself and letting it get used to your presence and your smell. Help your hamster feel comfortable by giving it a safe place to live, offering treats, and showing love. 

Steps to tame a hamster

Follow these steps to tame your pet hamster:

Let Your Hamster Adjust

When you bring home a new pet, give it a week to adjust to its new home and surroundings before you try to tame it. Make sure your hamster has all the necessities for stress-free housing. Below are a few things you can do to help your hamster adjust.

Give your hamster a comfortable home

You need to provide a nice home for your new hamster. Set up a suitable cage with some absorbent bedding to make your hamster feel at home. This also allows your new hamster to use the restroom in its cage. You’ll need to spot clean the bedding every day and replace it once a week or so.

Be sure also to keep a water bottle in the cage. Your hamster needs to drink fresh water to stay healthy.

Feed the hamster

Hamsters are obligate omnivores, which means they need an animal-based and plant-based diet. The most popular thing to feed hamsters is dried hamster food pellets. You can also supplement your hamster’s diet with raw fruits and vegetables as a treat. Hamsters need about 10 grams of dry hamster food twice a day.

For a treat, consider giving them small pieces of peaches, broccoli, cauliflower, or bananas. Do not give your hamster anything acidic (like onions) or citrus (like lemons or oranges) because it can cause an upset stomach.

Once you get your new hamster, be careful not to push yourself on it. Taming your hamster requires patience. This is also important during feeding time. Just put the treats in the cage and leave the hamster alone to eat in peace. This will help your hamster feel comfortable around you.

Don’t push yourself

Wait at least a week or two before trying to touch your new hamster. You need to give your new hamster some time to feel safe and settled in its new home. Don’t try to force any interaction with your hamster for the first week.

Sometimes the taming process can take a bit longer. You need to be calm and patient in the beginning.

Introducing Yourself

Help your new hamster recognize your voice. When you’re near your hamster’s cage, try talking to your new pet in a soothing voice. It’s natural if the hamster is scared of you at first. You want your hamster to recognize your voice and not be afraid of your presence.

You may want to come close to the cage and spend a few minutes. You can speak gently to your hamster. You can even open the cage door so that your hamster can hear you better. Just be careful and make sure it doesn’t escape.

Pick your hamster

Before you pick up your pet hamster for the first time, you should clean your hands thoroughly. Try to remove any scent of food that may be on your hands. You don’t want your hamster to bite you.

You can also wear gloves when picking up your hamster if you are afraid of being bitten.

Start by inserting your hand into the cage. When your hamster is awake and fresh, slowly put your hand inside the cage. Let your hamster sniff your hand and avoid making sudden movements. If your hamster looks scared, remove your hand gently and try again in another week.

Note: Don’t pull away when your hamster makes sudden movements when you are handling it. You are only going to scare it away.

Give Your Hamster Treats

Feed your new hamsters with yummy treats. Associating you with treats will help your pet feel comfortable around you.

You can also rub the treats in your palm so the hamster can recognize your scent. Continue doing this for a few days. Once hamsters show curiosity, they are easier to tame. Hamsters can show interest by coming up to the bars, and you can coax them further by offering a treat. Sometimes you need to wait until hamsters are fully awake before you approach them. You shouldn’t invade their personal space like their nest or bedding area.

Try feeding them extra treats through their cage, and once they are content, you can place your hand calmly inside. You can offer them to sniff the palm of your hand. Try to keep your hands still, as any abrupt movement may scare them. Don’t worry if your hamster is a little reluctant at first, and continue the process. Your hamster will soon get used to your scent. It is also a good idea to mix up the treats you are offering and encourage them to try new foods.

Strengthening the Bond

Try to make your hamster feel safe. Be sure to read your new hamster’s body language – if it backs makes squeaking noises or backs away from you, put it back in the cage. If it appears interested in you and approaches you, then feel confident in continuing your taming process.

You don’t want to force your hamster into doing things that might scare it away. This could affect the bond you’re trying to build. Always make sure your hamster is happy with the bonding process. If you’re in a rush, it may take even longer to tame your hamster.

Protip: Don’t rush things and be patient.

Continue interacting with your hamster

Be sure to spend quality time with your new hamster. The more time you spend with one another, the more confident and curious your hamster will be interacting with you. This will help you tame hamsters and bond with them. Soon, your hamster will be very friendly and tame.

Show your hamster love

Never forget about your new hamster. Remember that you have a little friend who wants to play with you. Give your hamster love and affection, and don’t forget the yummy treats! This is the most important part of taming a hamster.

The more you love and play with your hamster, the calmer it will be.

Addressing Specific Issues

Taming hamsters can be tricky, so let’s discuss problem behaviors and how to tackle them.

How can I handle biting hamsters?

If your hamster accidentally bites you, this means that they are anxious. Biting is often a natural response to fear for small animals like hamsters. If your pet hamster is biting you, give it some time before you try to hold it. Keep talking to your hamster and let it smell your hand occasionally. You can wait until your hamster doesn’t seem anxious and pet it gently.

Hamsters may also bite if your fingers smell like food. As said before, be sure to wash your hands before handling your hamster.

Possible Health Problems

Sick hamsters can be hard to tame, so it’s important to detect possible health problems. Since hamsters are small creatures, you’ll need to monitor them for dangerous illnesses. While most hamsters are healthy, a problem can develop quickly in a hamster’s tiny body.

The biggest health issue among hamsters is diarrhea. This condition needs immediate attention since hamsters can die from dehydration. The telltale sign of diarrhea is when your hamster’s rear end looks wet and brownish.

Another common medical issue for hamsters is the protrusion of the eyeball from the socket. This is caused by an eye infection or by physical trauma. If your hamster’s eyes are bulging, take it to the nearest vet immediately.

Problems among pets

Hamsters are territorial creatures, which means that they may not prefer to share their cage with other pets (including hamsters). If your hamsters are fighting among themselves, they can be hard to tame. You need to provide separate cages for all your hamsters. You also need to provide more treats, so they don’t fight over table scraps.

How to Handle a Wild Hamster

There may be a time you need to handle a hamster that hasn’t been tamed yet, such as to clean its dirty cage. To do this, place a cup in front of the hamster and gently push it into the cup. Most hamsters will crawl right into the cup out of curiosity. If this method hasn’t worked and you want to pick up the hamster, you can use gloves or a thick towel. This can be stressful and cause your wild hamster to resist handling even more. So, take extra care and be as gentle as possible.

If your wild hamster bites you while you are handling it, know that it didn’t want to hurt you. The hamster just felt scared or threatened. Try not to overreact by yelling or harshly lifting your hamster. If you do, it will become afraid of you. Instead, place it back in its cage calmly and wash the bite with warm water and soap.

Related Questions

How long does it take for a pet hamster to adjust? 

Hamsters behave well once they’ve adjusted to their new environment. It usually takes up to two weeks for a hamster to get used to the new environment and people.

Are hamsters a good pet?

Hamsters make great pets because they are low maintenance, interactive, and super fun to play with and watch! They enjoy bonding with new people and are a load of fun. If you are ready for the commitment and the care, then go for it! 

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