Welcoming a new hamster into your family is always exciting. From the moment it arrives, you probably want to interact with and cuddle your cute little buddy. It can be disappointing when your new bestie is less enthusiastic about being handled and runs for cover each time you come near.
10 Tips to tame a hamster:
- Give it time to settle
- Ensure it is comfortable
- Get it used to your voice
- Make it familiar with your scent
- Handle its bedding and toys
- Wait until your hamster is awake
- Offer treats
- Place treats on a flat hand
- Stroke its fur
- Pick it up correctly
If your new hamster has taken cover in its hamster hideout, don’t worry, this is perfectly normal behavior. The little creature needs time to unwind and check out its new surroundings until it knows it is safe.
How Can I Tame My Hamster?
Hamsters are naturally inquisitive little rodents, so unless they are asleep or scared, they will be curious to explore their new environment. However, remember that these tiny cuties have evolved as prey animals, so they are naturally cautious and prefer to play it safe and hide. They may even bite if they are frightened – you would too if there was a chance you could get eaten!
The key to taming your hamster is to provide it with the reassurance that you are its buddy. Once the little guy feels safe with you, it will start eating out of the palm of your hand – literally!
We have made a list of steps to follow if you need to tame a hamster. Remember that the process will go faster with some breeds than with others. Smaller breeds like Roborovski dwarf hamsters are often more cautious and nervous than Teddy Bear or Syrian hamsters, so they sometimes take a little longer to get used to attention from their special human.
1. Give It Time To Settle In
Even though you may be very excited about your new pet, give it at least a week to settle in and become familiar with its surroundings and your voice before you try to handle it. Place its cage in a quiet area where it will feel safe and have time to get used to its new home environment.
2. Make Sure Your Hamster Is Comfortable
You will only be able to tame your little pet if it feels comfortable and earn its trust. Make sure that your hamster’s cage is spacious and comfortable. It must have places to hide and sufficient bedding to burrow and rest.
Provide your hamster with good-quality balanced hamster pellets and always have fresh water available. Hold off on treats because you will need those as rewards when you start the taming process.
3. Let Your Hamster Get Used To Your Voice
Chat to your hamster whenever you are near its cage – you can even read to it or sing! Your short-sighted little pet may not be able to recognize you by sight, but it will quickly get used to your voice. Once it begins to relax, it will start moving around actively and eating even when you are nearby.
4. Make It Familiar With Your Scent
Hamsters navigate their world by smell and by touching things with their sensitive whiskers. You may not think you have a particular odor, but your hammie’s sensitive nose will quickly detect and recognize your unique scent.
You can move the taming process along by rubbing your hands on some toilet paper or a paper towel and placing it in your hamster’s cage. Chances are good that the hamster will chew it up and add it to its cozy sleeping spot, but doing this is an excellent way of familiarizing it with your scent.
5. Handle Its Bedding And Toys
Before you try to touch your nervous hamster, let it get used to your hands coming into its environment. You should move its toys or bedding about and just lay your hand inside its cage at a safe distance away from the little animal. Let it see that you are not a threat, and let it get used to your hand being in its space.
6. Wait Until Your Hamster Is Awake
It is never a good idea to wake a hamster to handle it. They are more active in the early evening and night, so wait until your hammie is fully awake and feeling alert and curious before interacting with it. Waking your hamster up will frighten it, and it may even nip as a result. Always let your hamster see and hear you approaching.
7. Offer Yummy Treats
Once your hamster is moving around more when you are around, try holding out a treat for it to take from you. You can hold a healthy snack close to it, and it should be tempted to come closer until it takes it from you.
Kaytee Food from The Wild is a healthy, natural snack that will work well to tempt your hamster to come closer. Be sure only to use healthy treats during the taming process, or you may quickly end up with a fat hammie!
8. Place Treats On A Flat Hand
Once your hamster takes treats from you, it’s time to move to the next step of taming your little fur ball. Lay your hand flat in the cage with a treat on your palm. To get the treat, the hamster must climb onto your hand.
Don’t move your hand or frighten the hamster while it is sniffing and assessing your hand and fingers. Let it take the treat and feel relaxed. Repeat this process for a few days.
9. Stroke It Gently
Step 9 – you are almost there! By now, your hamster should be familiar with you and understand that you are not a threat. Once the hamster is comfortable enough to climb onto your hand willingly and seems relaxed during the process, use your other hand to gently stroke its fur while it is munching.
10. Pick The Hamster Up Correctly
Hamsters do not like being grabbed around the middle or lifted by the scruff of their necks. This will make them think a predator is attacking them, and they may become defensive and bite.
When your hamster is relaxed around you and happy to walk over your hands, you can try lifting it. Always scoop it up gently by placing both hands in a cup shape under its entire body to make it feel secure. Stay low to the ground and in a safe space when lifting your hammie as it may suddenly jump and get injured or escape.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Fastest Way To Tame A Hamster?
There is no fast way to tame a hamster or any other animal. You have to earn its trust, and this will take time. However, by making its environment comfortable and spending time with it every day, your hamster will get used to you faster.
Are Hamsters Easy To Tame?
Some hamster breeds are easier to tame than others. Understanding the characteristics of your hammie breed will give you better insight into the process. Besides its breed, each hamster has a unique personality; some may take a little longer to warm up to you than others.
Your hamster may even have suffered some trauma in the past, so be patient and never force your little pal to interact. With time, patience, and plenty of treats, your hamster will realize that you are its friend.
How Do You Tame A Scared Hamster?
Provide a calm and relaxed environment, and be patient with your hamster. When a hamster is scared, it will go into defense mode. Never force it to interact with you or chase it about in its cage.
Learn to read your hamster’s body language and only approach it or offer treats when it is calm and curious about its surroundings. Speak to your hamster in a quiet, reassuring tone, and always keep its cage in a quiet position where it won’t be distracted by a lot of noise or household activity.
How Do You Pick Up A Hamster Without Scaring It?
Lift a hamster by gently scooping it from below and supporting its entire body. Always give your hamster a heads-up that you are about it interact with it. These little rodents can’t see very well, so start speaking to your hammie and let it see and sniff your hands before you try to pick it up.