Hamsters are some of the cutest and loveliest creatures to have as pets. They’re generally peaceful and calm, but they’re easily stressed out in new environments and it would take them some time to warm up to their new owners.
If you want to know how to tame your hamster and hold it without biting, you’re in for a treat!
Today, we’ll walk you through a step by step guide that shows you how to help your hamster feel safe in their new home. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The following guide shows you all the steps you’ll need to take while taming a hamster. It’s important that you don’t skip any steps and take your time with each one for the best results:
Before you bring your new hamster home, you must prepare a comfortable habitat for them first. The larger the hamster habitat, the better, as your hamster will be free to move around and feel safer in a suitable enclosure.
Ideally, the cage must have minimum dimensions of around 24 inches long x 15 inches wide to be comfortable for your hamster.
Also, you need to choose a suitable type of clean bedding and replace it once every week, such as aspen shavings, Timothy hay, or paper litter. The cage should also include toys, exercise wheels, as well as a water tube, and a feeder tray.
Having a comfortable habitat is important for your hamster to reduce its stress levels and make it feel safe, which makes it easier for them to warm up to you.
When you introduce your hamster to its new home, allow it to spend some time undisturbed in order to adjust to the new environment surrounding it.
Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, so they spend most of their days sleeping or inactive. The more you disturb your hamster during that period, the longer it’ll take them to be open to handling and contact.
You’ll notice that your hamster spends a lot of time hiding and sleeping at first, so make sure that you don’t disturb them with loud and sudden noises as well as exposing them to other pets.
Providing your hamster with enough supply of food is important to keep them comfortable. Hamsters will happily enjoy a wide variety of foods, as they’re omnivores.
The most convenient source of food is dried hamster food pellets, but make sure that you also incorporate raw nuts, fruits, and vegetables every now and then to keep them well nourished.
Now that the hamster is comfortable in their habitat, it should be a good time to introduce yourself to it.
First, you’ll need to move around the room for some time while keeping your distance from the cage whenever possible.
The hamster might be slightly scared and seek hiding at first, but with time, they should feel safe and come out on their own.
We also recommend that you gently speak to your hamster every now and then so that they’re able to recognize your voice, which helps them warm up to you quicker and understand that you mean no harm.
With time, you should be able to go near the cage and speak without scaring your hamster away.
When your hamster is used to your presence and voice, you can start getting them familiar with you and your hands by offering them treats.
Hamsters might be reluctant to go near your hands at first, so it’s okay if you put the treats at the door of the enclosure at first.
As your hamster associates you with their favorite treat, you’ll be more open to trusting and approaching you on their own.
Up till this point, hamsters only associate your hand with treats, so they might get freaked out if you try to hold them.
Before that, you’ll need to introduce your hands while empty inside the cage. Allow your hamster to sniff your hands and familiarize itself with your natural hand scent without treats.
If the hamster nips or bites you, pull back your hands slowly and avoid making any sudden moves.
If your hamster seems comfortable around your hand, you should be able to touch it gently without holding them.
Once the hamster is fully comfortable about your hand’s presence inside its enclosure and is used to it for a few days, you should be ready to hold them.
First, make sure that you wash your hands before that to remove any food scents that might encourage them to bite your fingers.
Place your hand inside the cage with the palm facing up. If the hamster is comfortable climbing onto your palms, you should be able to lift it slightly off the ground.
While holding the hamster at first, you should do it in a safe place with soft ground in case it jumps, which is fairly common at first.
Make sure that you reward your hamster after lifting your arm and then put them down again shortly after. Keep a very short distance at first so that the hamster can hop off whenever they want.
If your hamster is not approaching your hands, you can put a treat at the center of your palm to encourage them to go there. Once it approaches on its own, you can try again as explained above.
Keep on holding your hamster in your palm and putting them down whenever they get wary until they grow more and more comfortable around you.
Make sure that you don’t grab them and that they come on their own to avoid getting bitten. Also, remember to keep talking gently to them so that they stay calm and relaxed.
Now that you know how to tame a hamster, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind to make the taming process easier for you and your hamster:
Hamsters can have different personalities, so some of them can be friendlier than others and much easier to tame.
In other words, it might take you as little as a couple of days and up to months before your hamster warms up to you and climb into your palm. The most important thing here is to stay patient and never rush the steps.
It’s usually best that you don’t try to hold your hamster while it’s sleeping, eating, or drinking, as it can get easily startled, which forces them to react by squeaking and biting.
Doing this more often will also associate your hands with negative aspects, such as startling them or making them afraid.
If your hamster is sleeping but you really have to hold them for any reason, make sure that you wake them up gently using a fragrant treat or moving the bedding around them while speaking at a gentle volume.
In addition to washing off any food scents that might encourage your hamster to nip your hands, keeping your hands clean will prevent your hamsters from picking up any bacteria or viruses that could make them very sick.
In order to avoid getting bitten by your hamster as much as possible, you’ll need to avoid them when they’re startled, scared, or agitated.
Hamsters will usually use various signs to warn you before they bite. For instance, they’ll start by squeaking loud.
If you don’t back off, they’ll pause for a good second while staring at you or your hand if they can’t see you.
If you have a pet hamster, you should understand that bites are bound to happen. These are usually unintentional and happen by accident when they’re scared or anxious.
When that happens, it’s usually best that you avoid hand contact with your hamster for a few days to weeks until their nervousness dies down (until stop shaking and running around the cage more often).
Lastly, if you have a hamster that bites more often, it’s okay if you wear a pair of gloves while handling them.
Remember, hamsters are very delicate, so even if you’re safe from their bites, you should still avoid hard-handling so you don’t hurt them.
There you have it! A brief guide that shows you how to tame your hamster and train them to be familiar with your presence and handling.
Taming a hamster can be tricky at first. However, with enough patience and diligence, you should be able to give your hamster all your love and share a strong bond with them!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.