February 17, 2010

What do I do if my hamster bites me?

Filed under: biting hamster,hamster bit me,hamster biting,Uncategorized — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:32 am

feline stressLike many other animals, hamsters will bite from time to time. That’s just a fact of life. Furthermore, hamsters are notoriously difficult to train because they’re often bought as adults. It is always more difficult to train an adult animal than a young one and this is true of hamsters as well. Especially when they have not been handled much, hamsters will bite out of fear. Typically, hamsters are not aggressive, but they will bite to defend themselves. Since many pet store hamsters are not accustomed to being handled by humans, they feel a lot of anxiety when they’re first held; consequently, they bite.

hamster biteIf your hamster bites, you need to be patient and calm. A strong reaction to bites can induce more fear in your hamster and make biting more likely in the future. What you need to do is build a trusting relationship with your hamster. Be gentle and relaxed and let your hamster get to know you. Before handling your hamster, try reading or singing to your hamster so it becomes familiar with your presence. Let your hamster sniff your hand while you hold it in your hamster’s cage. Your goal is to gradually acclimatize your hamster to being held.

When your hamster seems to be comfortable with your hand, you can begin gently stroking it. Provide positive reinforcement, like treats, when your hamster doesn’t bite. Sunflower seeds can be fed in moderation and are a great assistance during training. When your hamster seems calm and totally comfortable with your presence, it’s time to pick it up. Remember to be careful, and always begin by stroking the hamster. You can even put a sunflower seed in your palm to try and encourage the hamster to willingly walk onto your hand without biting.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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