So, you just brought home your pet hamster and you already love them. Unfortunately, they don’t feel the same way. Since hamsters are prey animals and you are a giant in their eyes, it will be some time before your hamster warms up to you. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to speed up this process. Follow these guidelines and you and your hamster will be besties in no time!
Letting Your Hamster Acclimate
First, you must leave your hamster alone. I’m sure you’re eager to introduce yourself to your small pet but give them time. If you just brought your hamster back from the pet store they’ll be confused by their new environment. Give them some time on their own to get used to their new surroundings. Make sure to give them at least 72 hours before you introduce yourself. With my first hamster Mooksie I made the mistake of trying to hold him on day one. Hamsters have no depth perception and if they are not used to you, they will be quick to jump out of your hands. I was lucky and Mooksie made it back to his cage unharmed.
Teaching Your Hamster Your Scent/Voice
After your pet has had time to acclimate to their new environment you want to get them used to your scent and voice. In the wild, hamsters primarily rely on their senses of hearing and smell. Try talking to your hamster when you see them awake. You also want to put something that smells like you (a shirt you wore, a sock, or some tissues you rubbed on your body) into their cage. They can use this to get used to your scent, this will prepare you for the next step.
Hand in the Cage
By now about a week has passed since you brought your hamster home. At this point you want to put your hand into their cage. Don’t try and grab your small pet, that will only freak them out. Instead, make a closed fist and put it into their cage. Let them come up to you and after a few minutes, remove it from the cage. You’’ll also want to try and give them a treat. If they take a treat from you that means they’re beginning to trust you. First just hand it to them. You want your hamster to associate treats, something good, with you.
Picking Your Hamster Up
Now we’re on the final step. It’s time to try picking your hamster up. First, make sure their cage is on ground. You want to be close to the floor in case they get away from you. There are a few ways to try and pick your hamster up. One way is to pick up them up with the bedding around them, then you can sift the bedding out from under them. Another way is to leave a treat on your open palm and when they come up to take it you can pick them up. If you choose to do this, make sure they get the treat. Just like us, hamsters don’t like to be tricked.
If you follow these steps your hamster will come to know and love you. Remember that trust is something you have to build, relationships don’t form overnight.