Hamsters are the perfect low-maintenance pets for people who don’t like too much responsibility but enjoy the company of a small animal. They’re cute, quaint, and like to keep to themselves most of the time. This makes them even more of an ideal choice for people with especially busy lives or commitment issues.
There’s only one little drawback that comes with adopting an adorable hamster: their natural foraging habit. Hamsters have teeth that never stop growing, so they have to continuously chew on things to keep the growth under control. Due to this, most hamsters have a tendency to bite when disturbed.
Ways to Stop Hamster from Biting
Give it time to adjust
Most animals react more defensively in new environments. This is the thing you need to remember when you first bring your hamster home. Most pet trainers suggest giving an animal a week or so to adjust in your home and surroundings before petting them too much.
For the first week at least, don’t try to touch your hamster too much but spend time near it. Talk to your hamster and if you need to remove it from the cage for cleaning purposes, scoop it up in a towel or a glass.
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Let it grow accustomed to your hand
After the first few initial days, you may start progressing forward slowly. While you talk to your hamster, put your hand inside the cage without touching it.
Make sure your hand is sanitized and clean because hamsters rely on their sense of smell for direction and any off-putting smell coming from your hand may put its little mind in attack mode. With each passing day try moving your hand a bit closer. Let your pet sniff it and get comfortable enough to take the last plunge.
Positive reinforcement through treats
By this time, you may have learned the treats your hamster prefers, if not start experimenting. Use these treats as positive reinforcement tools to train your hamster.
Put the treat in your bare hand, the one you’ve been putting inside your pets’ cage and let it come closer to you on its own. It will definitely come near to eat the treat offered, and this will help you gain its trust.
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Start out touching it slow
Once your hamster starts eating the treats from your bare hand, that is the time for you to introduce your touch. Start out slow by just petting it the first few days. Slowly turn the few pats to cupping it in your hand.
Make sure that the first time you cup your pet in your hand and scoop it up, don’t lift it too high off the ground in case it tries to jump off. Try lifting it just a few inches off the floor of its cage and then slowly scoop it higher.
Let it sleep
Most small animals, including hamsters, react voraciously when disturbed in sleep. Make it a rule to never bother your baby when it’s sleeping!
Most hamsters are nocturnal, which means they are more active at night. Try scheduling the petting time around your pets’ sleep cycle and only play with it when it’s in the mood.
Never react too harshly if it bites you
Try to think of a human baby throwing a tantrum when and if your hamster ever bites you. You raising your voice or showing anger by harsh behavior may be perceived as a threat by your pet. That will make all the effort you put in to gain its trust, go null and void.
While you may be tempted to use thick gloves as a form of protection against bites and scratches, we advise you not to do so. Hamster react best to the human scent which may be hard to detect under the glove. Secondly, if the hamster is clamped around your hand, don’t jerk it off. Instead try to gently pry it away with your other hand. Above all, be gentle with your hamster.