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How To Hold a Hamster

Last Updated: 07.04.20


So you just got your child an oh-so-wanted new hamster! You’ve got your eye on a few cages and you’ve even bought a new hamster ball! Problem is, hamsters are not the easiest pets to hold, so check out this article to make sure that you or your little one don’t hurt the pet while trying to show some love.

If you’ve never held a hamster, don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it looks. Once the furry one has gotten to know you, you can just follow a few simple steps to make them sit in your hands. Just follow the steps we will lay bellow for you and make sure to supervise any children trying this for the first time.


Things to know beforehand

Since hamsters are so small, their only real defense it bitting and also their method of telling you to stop doing something. So if your furry little one bites you, don’t punish it! Instead, try figuring out what they are trying to tell you and what you should cease doing.

A new hamster won’t be used to you so the following methods may not be working right out of the box. Instead, you should first give it around a week or so to adjust to the new environment before you start touching it. Make sure the cage is airy and in an area that often has people passing by, but not so much that it will become scary for him.

When your hamster is eating, drinking and playing when there are people around, that’s the sign you may begin the taming. Offer some treats from your hand and let the hamster come explore. Don’t try to touch the hamster, let it get used to your hand and maybe even climb on it to eat. Depending on the age and personality, the taming time may vary from a few weeks to a month or so.



Picking up the hammy

The best way to pick up a hamster is by cupping your hand and using your palm to lift it while your other hand is over its back. This is the best and safest way to begin, considering how even if the hamster gets scared and jumps the first couple of times, it will just fall on your lap or be close to the ground so it does not suffer any injuries.

Turn your palm up and give the hamster the time it needs to crawl onto your hands. Even if this part takes a while, seizing it will possibly make you the proud owner of your very first hamster bite. Don’t forget that you must make your pet feel comfortable and relaxed around you and know it has nothing to fear from you. After a few times, this will come easier and faster.

If the furry one still does not crawl into your hands, you can carefully pick it up by scooping up some of the bedding beneath it so it will feel less like a forced intrusion. Do this slowly and make sure to use both hands to reduce the risk of your hamster falling down.

For the first few times you two are bonding together like this, it’s a rather good idea to feed it a treat. Don’t get your feelings hurt, this is only to train the hamster to actively enjoy and seek out your company. If you come bearing tasty gifts, its brain will create a positive association between time spent with you and a happy tummy.

Make sure to only hold your pet for a minute or two before returning it to its cage. By keeping it brief, you will minimize the stress your hamster feels, because being picked up by a strange and huge human would be scary for even the bravest of us!


Returning the hamster to its cage

To put your hamster back in the motherland, you have to first be certain that it cannot jump out of your grasp and risk seriously hurting itself. When you two are good to go, gently move your hands very close to the cage’s floor and allow the furry one to walk off by slowly lifting one of them to give it space to move.

A good owner will repeat this whole process three times a day for several days until the pet actively seeks out your hands when you open the cage. Once you two are best friends, it’s safe to start holding the hamster for longer periods of time outside the cage. Do a good job, and you may not even need to give them a treat every time in exchange for the pleasure of their company.



How to not be a scary owner

Remember that when you first bring it home, the environment will be new and frightening to your hamster, so you absolutely must give it some time to adjust and relax. Going in there too soon might permanently damage the relationship that you are trying to build with your pet resulting in a not-so-happy life for either of you.

Especially in the beginning, be extra-careful when you are holding the furry one, making sure to always keep it close to your lap, the ground or the cage floor. Hamsters have short and fragile legs and falling for more than a couple of inches can easily break them.

Suddenly having a big scary hand come and pick you up is the stuff some horror movies are made out of. Slowly introduce your hand in the cage before touching your pet and let it see that you are not any kind of predator. Since predators grab things like hamsters, if you do it too fast or too forceful, you may send the wrong message across to your companion.

It is usually advisable to give your hands a good soap and water wash before holding the furry one. Since hamsters have a great sense of smell, make sure to use an unscented soap that won’t make your hands smell like a treat. Be careful! Your cute little one will eat anything, even if it’s not good for it!

This will also improve your relationship in its early stage since odors like the smell of cats, dogs or even other hamsters will bother your new-found friend. Having clean hands will also help against your pet ingesting something that would cause them more harm than good.



Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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