Poppy has been keeping hamsters for nearly four years and enjoys helping other pet owners.
Scared Hamster: How to Get Your Hamster to Like You
A hamster is an inexpensive pet that is easy to take care of and suitable for children. They are very sweet and can be tamed reasonably quickly and easily. But what happens when upon bringing your new fluff ball home, you notice that they are terrified and won't approach you? Even after some time goes by, the little guy or gal might still be shy, jumpy, or afraid of you.
I bought a boy and a girl hamster, and because the shop owner wasn't very gentle or patient, they were extremely jumpy and nervous. Although it took some time, they are now very friendly and sweet! So, how can you get your hamster to trust you? Here are some things to do and not do that will help turn your nervous pet into your new best friend.
7 Ways to Get Your Hamster to Like You
- Get an adequately sized cage.
- Let her get used to her surroundings.
- Establish a routine.
- Let her come to you.
- Do not punish your hamster.
- Learn your hamster's personality.
- Enrich your hamster's habitat.
1. Get an Adequately Sized Cage
Make sure your hamster has an adequately sized cage, ideally with several floors and plenty of space to run around. Wild hamsters run miles and miles every night, and if he or she has enough space, she'll be happy.
My hamster became a lot friendlier after I gave her a larger cage with three floors and plenty of space. I recommend the fantastic three-floor Hamster Haven by Prevue to keep your hamster busy and happy climbing and exploring. I used it for my first hamster and there was plenty of space for him to run around and climb.
2. Let Her Get Used to Her Surroundings
When you bring your new hamster home, she might be in a new cage. Your home smells completely different from the pet store or her previous home. She is surrounded by new people who smell different. If she's young, she might be away from her nest mates for the first time.
All of these are nerve-wracking for a hamster, and the first thing she needs is some personal space in which she can feel safe. The last thing she wants is to be handled and bothered.
Leave her alone for several days to get used to her new home and the smells that surround her. During this time, she can spread her own scent around the cage, build a nest, and maybe hoard some food.
3. Establish a Routine
Change the water and food daily, but don't touch her yet. Don't worry if she is startled at first. She will start to get used to your hands coming in and out of the cage and learn that your presence means fresh water and new food. If need be, add tissue paper or extra bedding.
Do this at the same time every day, if you can. Late evening is ideal, as hamsters are more alert at night. She will start to get used to you showing up every day to give her fresh food and water, and you might start to see her come out of her nest to watch you or run to the food bowl as soon as you're done.
4. Let Her Come to You
It is very important that you let the hamster come to you first. Do not chase her or forcibly grab her or she might get frightened and bite you. Wash your hands thoroughly first. Put a treat on your hand and lay it flat inside the cage. She might come and sniff at your fingers, and she might nibble; don't be startled if she does this. She is likely testing if you are food.
If you are lucky, she might crawl on your hand right away and eat the treat. She might sniff at your fingers and then ignore you, which is fine as well. Put the treat closer to the edge of your hand, where it is easier for her to reach. She might not feel comfortable crawling onto your hand completely just yet.
- Grab her
- Make any sudden movements
- Make any loud noises
- Chase her around the cage
Once she feels okay with sitting on your hand, gently stroke her back with your free hand. After doing this two or three times over a few days, try bringing her out of the cage still on top of your hand.
5. Do Not Punish Your Hamster
Unlike other animals such as dogs, hamsters have no concept of bad behaviour and do not understand punishment. Most of the time, hamsters do "bad" things out of either fright or boredom.
If your hamster is biting you, distract it with a toy or a treat. A nibble generally means that they're testing out your scent. My last hamster, Shakespeare, constantly licked and nibbled my hands as a sign of affection. If your hamster bites hard, it means they're scared and don't want to be on your hand. Hamsters are naturally prey animals and get startled quite easily.
Time will tell what makes your hamster bite. Reinforce good behaviour with treats, and stop doing things that make your hamster stressed.
6. Learn Your Hamster's Personality
Hamsters don't like sudden loud noises or movements. Your hamster will trust you if they know you're gentle and speak quietly.
What does it mean if my hamster squeaks?
Hamsters can make noises for several reasons. Zelda always squeaks at Hemingway when they're together when she's feeling grumpy. A hamster can make a frightened sort of screaming sound if they're really scared; if your hamster does this, stop what you are doing and leave it alone for a while.
Hamsters can also make happy little chirping noises, but all hamsters are different. Hemingway never makes any noises at all, although Zelda is very vocal when she likes to be. Learn your hamster's personality, and you'll start to understand what they are comfortable with.
7. Enrich Your Hamster's Habitat
Once things have settled down and your hamster is coming to you, exploring your hand, and exploring the room, give your little friend some extra things to keep them from getting bored. If your hamster is bored, it might dig continuously in the same spot or nibble at the bars of its cage.
Tips for a happy, healthy hamster:
- Install a wheel. Make sure it is big enough as a small wheel can injure the hamster's back.
- Give your hamster chew toys. Wood is perfect as they can gnaw at it. See if your local pet store has it.
- Give it fresh vegetables. Cucumber, carrot, and lettuce is good. See what your hamster likes and dislikes.
- Let your hamster ride in an exercise ball. This is a great way to get your hamster out of its cage for a while in a safe way. Make sure you don't keep her in the ball for longer than twenty minutes.
- Give your hamster old toilet paper rolls. My hamsters love crawling inside them and chewing them up.
- Add unscented tissue paper to the cage. Hamsters like to tear it up and add it to their nest for comfortable bedding.
If you provide a happy home and a calm environment, your hamster will look forward to playtime with you!
With these important steps, you will soon have a healthy and happy hamster that completely trusts you! Always be kind to your pet, feed them every day, clean their cage once a week, and soon you will go from giant stranger to beloved best friend.
Hamsters are really sweet creatures, and it is worthwhile having one that trusts you. Good luck, and enjoy!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: I got my dwarf hamsters a month ago. Whenever I give the male treats, he scratches the food, smells it, then goes away. He also doesn't want to be touched. He sometimes attacks his water bottle or his house for no reason, and I'm scared to tame him. I've never touched him, and I've tried my best to be gentle, but he seems to be grumpy all the time. The female is perfectly fine and tame. What should I do?
Answer: It sounds like you have a hamster with a grumpy personality. He may be uncomfortable with his surroundings. Not all hamsters are okay with the same things. I’m assuming you bought them from the same place, so it’s unlikely to be abuse from a past owner. Are there other pets or small children around? Maybe he’s unhappy with his cage. Try offering him your hand to smell and see how he reacts. Also, don’t disturb him when he’s asleep or stretching, he’ll definitely be grumpy if you do that! Keep me posted.
Question: I have my hamster for four days now and he is still shy. The other day I put my hand out as you said but he just bit me gently and it bled a tiny bit. What should I do?
Answer: You’ve only had him four days so there’s no way he’ll be used to you yet. Please read the article carefully. It says not to bother your new hamster for at least a week because he’s still getting used to his new cage and the smells around him.
Question: I've gotten my male Syrian hamster from a friend today, and I think I made a bad impression by scaring him and touching him before I read anything (which was foolish of me). I'm worried that since I have made a bad first impression, he won't want to have anything to do with me. What do I do?
Answer: A hamster who is moved to a new place is always scared and doesn't trust the owner. Treat him kindly, follow the steps of this article, and in a couple of weeks (it might take longer, please be patient) he'll start to trust you.
Question: I got my hamster a week ago and it’s time to clean the cage, but how can I clean it when she is so afraid of me? I know it’s still early and she keeps hissing at me, should I just leave it for few days or what?
Answer: Your hamster might be frightened of humans in general. You should get her a little house or igloo for her to hide in where she can feel safe. Never open this igloo so she knows it’s her “invisible” spot. Then you can take the igloo out and put it in a box while you clean the rest of her cage.
Question: I have a male hamster that is about ten-months-old and a baby male hamster that is almost five weeks old. I know that usually, hamsters don't live together, but is there something I can do so they can live in the same cage? I tried to make them littles "dates" so that they get to know each other more, but what else should I do?
Answer: What type of hamsters are they? If they appear to get on well, it might be safe to house them together as long as they have a large cage with their own space. Since they’re both males, they might fight, so keep a close eye on them and how they interact with each other.
If they are Syrian hamsters, then they absolutely MUST live separately. If they’re dwarf hamsters, they have a chance. Best to buy an extra cage just in case.
Question: As I was reading the page it said to take a week. I got my hamster two days ago and I’m bringing him around my room and on my bed and sometimes on my lap. However, when I try to pick him up he runs away. Once he bites me he’s a little calmer but doesn’t want to be held too long. I know I shouldn’t be handling him so fast so should I stop and give it some time or keep trying gently and reassuringly (he did sleep on me once does that mean he trusts me)?
Answer: Please do let your hamster get used to his new cage. He’s probably very frightened when you try to pick him up and if he’s running away you definitely shouldn’t grab him. Running and biting are very clear signs he doesn’t want to be handled yet. Pulling him out of his cage despite knowing he’s scared is quite cruel. It’s unlikely he was sleeping on you; hamsters often fake their deaths by going very still when they’re scared. Please leave your hamster alone for at least a few days so he can get used to his environment and to your smell. Don’t chase him around or grab him if he doesn’t want to be touched. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but you really shouldn’t be carrying him around yet if you’ve only had him for two days.
Question: I have a male baby dwarf hamster named Miles. He’s unmotivated by treats. How else can I get him to trust me?
Answer: Just be patient. If he lets you pick him up, that’s a good sign. Let him sniff your hand and see if he climbs on. If he doesn’t like the treats you’re giving him, offer fruit or veg instead.
Question: I'm asking about my hamster biting. I've had him about two weeks now. He draws blood, too. I held him the other day to get him out when I was cleaning his cage and he bit me really hard. I didn't want to hurt him by tugging my finger out his mouth so I let him down gently with him still biting me, it bled and it was deep, too. Should I give my hamster more time to settle in or should I just try to get my hamster to trust me and keep trying or should I leave it?
Answer: I’m sorry to hear your hamster is still biting. He mustn’t be comfortable with you yet. Sometimes it isn’t possible to tame them either. That being said, it’s only been two weeks. Don’t pick him up anymore since he clearly doesn’t like it. Instead, let him get used to your hands being in the cage when you change his water and his food. If you need to pick him up, use gloves. By the way, how big is his cage? If the cage is too small hamsters can get really territorial and bite anything that comes near them.
Question: My hamster always hangs off the top of the cage when I try to sleep and it’s really loud. What do I do?
Answer: Move the hamster to a different room when you sleep.
Question: Why when I put my finger by the cage he would come over and smell it but when I call his name he comes over looks at me and goes back to what he was doing. I also just got him today, he is a Syrian hamster. Why doesn't my new hamster trust me?
Answer: It’s good he’s already smelling your hand when you only purchased him today. Hamsters don’t really understand their own names like dogs do. He’s probably coming over for a treat and then goes back to playing when he’s sniffed your hand a bit. It sounds like he’s going to be very friendly!
Question: I have a Syrian Longhair hamster, and she has been with us for a few weeks. She is only a baby, so her coat is still growing in. Do I need to brush her at this point in her life? Also, I’m scared to pick her up, because last week, she bit down really hard on my friend’s finger and drew blood. How do I hold her?
Answer: If you read the article, you’ll see a guide on how to get your hamster to let you hold her. Also you don’t need to brush hamsters at all. How old is she? She should be with her mother at least until after she’s 4 weeks old.
Question: My male baby dwarf hamster won’t eat or drink. I got him today I don’t know how to help him to like and trust me. What do I do?
Answer: You got him today, so of course, he won’t trust you yet! It takes several weeks for a hamster to get used to its new owner and he’s probably not eating because it’s daytime, he’s in a new place, and he isn’t comfortable enough in his new environment to go out exploring yet.
Question: I have tried to teach my hamster not to bite me by using your hand treat trick, which is also recommended by many other sites - but he keeps biting me. Do hamsters teeth when they're young or is he seeing if I'm food or does he just not like me? If he keeps on biting me will he still be able to trust me if I keep trying to teach him not to?
Answer: It sounds like he might be scared of you. You have to give hamsters time to get used to their environment and to your smell. If you keep sticking your hand in his cage when he doesn’t like it then he’s going to be frightened. Some hamsters are just nibblers as well. Does he nibble or does he bite hard and draw blood? How long have you had him?
Question: I have a teddy bear hamster and he has been with me for one month. Every day I try to tame him from videos I have seen and nothing has worked yet. What should I do?
Answer: Does your hamster run away and hide when you try to touch him? Some hamsters are just really shy. If you got him in a pet store he might also be scared of humans. Just be kind to him and take care of him and he'll love you eventually.
Question: I have had my hamster for almost three months and my hamster hates me. What should I do?
Answer: It depends what you mean by "hate." Does it run away and hide when you approach the cage? Hiss at you? Hamsters have a wide range of behaviours when they're uncomfortable. Some hamsters have unfriendly personalities, or if you got it from a pet store, the previous owner may have been unkind. If it's impossible to tame, it's probably not your fault. Just keep it in a safe environment (quiet, cool, keeping the cage out of direct sunlight and away from other animals), and feed it and give it a nice environment to live in. That's all you can do. Certainly don't force it to play.
Question: I'm 13 and reading this reply helped. Ollie is my first hamster and I've had him for a week now. I'm worried because I have been chasing him and making him nervous. Do you think he will still be able to trust me after some time has passed? Also, I have a dog and she always whines at the door of Ollie's room. Will this make him nervous around me?
Answer: Please don’t chase your hamster! You have to wait for him to come to you. You’ve only had him one week. You shouldn’t be bothering him at all yet because he has to get used to his new cage, new food, the new smells around him, and everything like that. You should also try to keep the dog away. Obviously, your dog knows there’s an animal in the room and probably wants to check it out, but it’ll frighten Ollie very much. Leave the hamster alone for a few days. I know it’s hard because it’s exciting having a new pet, but he’ll be friendlier in a few weeks.
Question: I was wondering when I can put my hamster in an exercise ball? I got her a few days ago on April 20 2019.
Answer: I’d recommend getting your hamster used to you holding her first. Once she’s comfortable with you, let her in the ball.
Question: We have had our dwarf hamster for a week, but she nibbles me soft, then hard, then harder, and she doesn’t like us near the cage and seems to scream. I have handled her and was told she is tame, but feel she wants to have no contact with humans. What do I do?
Answer: One week isn’t nearly long enough for her to get used to you. Do you let her come to you? If she’s hissing or “screaming” when you approach the cage, then it’s probably not a good idea to pick her up.
Please read the article carefully because it sounds as though you’ve missed some steps. Don’t pick her up unless she comes to you and always be quiet around her cage.
Question: I have a female Syrian hamster. I just got her yesterday and she was kind at first but then the next day she bit my little sister and caused a lot of blood. What do i need to do now?
Answer: You just brought your hamster home yesterday. She is in a new cage in a new environment surrounded by many new smells. She is probably terrified.
As the article says, leave your hamster alone except to change the food and water for at least one week. She doesn’t know your smell well yet and doesn’t know your sister either. She was being handled by many different people in a stressful environment; no wonder she bit.
Please carefully follow the steps of the article and don’t let your sister hold the hamster until she is used to you and goes onto your sister’s hand willingly. Also, make sure your hands are completely clean and free of smells when you hold her.
Question: I just got a hamster three weeks ago. He loves his change and his exercise ball, he smells my hand but that's it. One day I was cleaning his cage and he tried to crawl out of his old cage and my mom was in my room to help. She put her hand out and he crawled onto her hand but he never does so with mine. I've read this article many times and I'm getting jealous because he sees me more than her. What can I do?
Answer: Did he crawl voluntarily onto her hand or did she sort of scoop him up? Because there’s a difference. You could try picking him up too so he gets used to being in your hand. Stop immediately if he seems scared (squeaking, biting, running away, etc.) He probably feels comfortable enough with you both now that he wouldn’t mind being picked up.
Question: My Syrian hamster that I've had for a few weeks does not trust me, and I don’t think she’s happy. She has just about anything a hamster could want, and I try and spend as much time with her as she'll let me. How do I get her to trust me and be happy?
Answer: Not all hamsters are friendly. Your hamster might just prefer to be left alone. Please bear in mind it does take longer than a few weeks for hamsters to trust you completely.
Did you get her in a store? Some pet stores don’t treat their animals well and she might have some trauma from her upbringing. So long as you’re always kind to her she’ll know eventually that you’ll never hurt her. Try giving her treats from your hand.
Question: My hamsters were never played with before I got them. I just got them a few days ago, and one of them is starting to warm up to me, but the other is still very afraid. I can not really improve her habitat anymore, and I am doing everything I can, but she still hates me! What should I do?
Answer: You only got them a few days ago, so she probably isn’t even used to her new environment yet. You can’t expect a hamster to love you after just a couple of days. Leave her alone, just quietly approach the cage once a day to change her food and water, and wait for her to explore her cage and get used to it before you even try to go near her.
Hamsters all have different personalities. Some are shy, some are bold, and some are just terrified of humans. Just because one hamster is warming up to you doesn’t mean the other one will. Please let her get used to the new smells and sounds she is experiencing and don’t rush her.
Question: Where’d you get the name "Zelda" for your hamster?
Answer: I got it from the Legend of Zelda games!
Question: I got my hamster yesterday. I know one day is not enough time for her to adjust. By now she has used the wheel, let me pet her (even though I'm not sure if it was too soon for her), and has eaten and drank her water. She's even sniffed my fingers a few times! I'd just like to know if I'm doing this right. Is it way too soon for me to pet her? I have been speaking to her in a gentle manner. She climbs a bit and just looks at me. Is she terrified or is she warming up to me?
Answer: Every hamster is different. If you got her from a good home, she might be fine with humans already. Keep doing what you're doing and if she's not running away or squeaking, you're doing it right. Don't bother her too much in the daytime though, because hamsters are nocturnal and need their rest.
Question: I have a Russian dwarf hamster that I have had for a couple of weeks now. He wasn’t biting before at all but now he bites my finger any time I try to feed him or put toys in. It’s making me want to get rid of him but I really don’t want to. How should I handle this situation? My friends manhandled him a few days ago and I think that’s what caused this behavior but I don’t know.
Answer: If your hamster started biting after your friends touched him, that might be what caused it. Your hamster was just getting used to you and then some new people started holding him. It might have interrupted his development to start to trust you. For now, let him recover, don't try to touch him (he shouldn't be biting you when you put food in his bowl if he's not near the bowl). After a few days, start from the beginning to win back his trust. And maybe don't let your friends mess with him anymore.
Question: I am getting a new hamster today. In the near future, it may bite me, and I am very sensitive. What should I do if I frighten my new hamster?
Answer: The best thing you can do is follow the steps of this article, keep your new hamster in a quiet room and don't bother him for several days. Then slowly gain his trust. Don't make loud noises around him or chase him around the cage.
Question: I have kept a hamster for one year and did as what you have said but they still bite me. Why?
Answer: Hamsters have different personalities. Some are terrified of humans their whole lives, and some just can’t stop biting. If your hamster comes to you (you don’t grab it or scare it) and it still bites, your hands might smell like food. Does it bite hard or just nibble? I used to have a hamster that nibbled and lick my hands whenever I held him because he liked the taste.
Question: I bought a little Robo Dwarf Hamster a little more than a month ago! He is very shy and very scared of me. Every time I walk towards the cage, or I put my hand in the cage, he hides and will not let me pet him. He also refuses to get close to sniff my hand! The first week I got him, I had to grab him forcefully to get him out so I could clean. Is this what maybe traumatized him? How can I get my sweet hamster to love me?
Answer: Did you buy him in a pet store? Often shops will deal with hamsters very roughly so they’re scared of humans. All you can really do is always treat him with love and care, maybe coax him out with treats, and hope he’ll get friendlier. Some hamsters are just super shy though, so there’s a chance he won’t warm to you. It wouldn’t be your fault. By the way, did he squeak or bite when you grabbed him? Because sometimes hamsters just aren’t used to being touched but can get used to it as long as you’re gentle (and don’t chase them).
Question: I have no idea how to word this, but my hamster will come onto my hand but then just nibble; sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it's not. She doesn’t break the skin so I’m not too worried but I don’t know how to make her stop. I’m just a little worried she might bite me a little too hard and break the skin. She doesn’t do this out of fear or anything, but it’s just ALL the time. I washed my hands really well before handling, but she just nibbles. How can I fix this?
Answer: I used to have a hamster that did the exact same thing. He was called Shakespeare and the sweetest little hamster you can imagine. Some hamsters just do that. He licked and nibbled my entire hand and that's all he did. I don't know if it was a sign of affection or because he liked the taste. I never figured out how to make him stop but he did like treats. Have a treat ready for when you hold her to keep her busy, such as cheese.
Question: I've had my hamster for three months and he still bites me, even when I've done everything that could work. If my hand doesn't have a treat, he will bite. If he eats the whole treat up from my hand, he will bite me. I'm really sad because I can't touch him and he never comes near me. What should I do? Should I let him grow up more than this so I can tame him?
Answer: I'm sorry to hear about this. Some hamsters just bite their whole lives and can't be trained out of it. The only thing I can suggest is giving him a treat when he doesn't bite. When he does, take your hand out of the cage. By the way, he might also bite your hand because he sees you as a threat. You said he doesn't come near you, so if you're grabbing him he might bite because he's scared. Let him run outside the cage (in a safe place where he won't escape) and get used to crawling on you. Then he'll know you're not a threat.
Question: I have a Syrian hamster that I just got three days ago and the first night, my dad took him out of his cage and he dropped him on the floor. Still kinda annoyed about that. It doesn’t seem like my hamster, Mango, is traumatised by it though. But he always stares at me like I murdered his family and I don’t know why.... will I ever earn his trust?
Answer: You’ve only had him for three days so you shouldn’t be touching him or bothering him yet as he hasn’t gotten used to his environment. You or your dad definitely shouldn’t be picking him up and bothering him. Please leave him alone for at least a week except to feed him and follow the steps of the article. It’s perfectly possible that Mango will trust you eventually, but three days is far too soon to expect anything. He’s probably staring at you trying to figure out if you’re a predator or not.
Question: I have had my hamster for two months now and he hates me. He won't eat from my hand or come near me when I change the food and water. He hides in the corner of his cage and won’t come anyware near me. He also won’t use his hamster ball; if I put him in it he just sits there. What do I do?
Answer: Different hamsters have different personalities. Yours sounds super shy. It doesn’t mean he hates you. If you got him from a pet store he might have been treated badly as a baby and doesn’t trust humans. Try adding a treat now and then when you change his food so he associates you with treats. You said you put him in a ball, so does that mean he lets you pick him up? If he’s ok with being touched try petting him and feeding him cheese in your hand.
Question: What do I do when my hamster is biting me hard?
Answer: Did the hamster come to you willingly? If you grab your hamster it might be biting you because it's afraid. Give it treats to nibble instead while you're holding it and never chase your hamster around the cage or disturb its nest.
Question: Three days ago I got a hamster (not my first time owning one). I let her roam around the counter (so I could clean her ball) while I kept a careful eye on her. She ended up falling into the sink after I’d cleaned her ball and I went to put my hand under her to help her up. She willingly climbed on my hand, but when I picked my hand up to get her out of the sink, she made a scared screaming sound. Is this normal for a hamster you’ve just gotten?
Answer: You’ve only had her for three days and then she fell into a sink. No wonder she was terrified. Yes, hamsters make a screaming sound when they’re afraid. If it was your first time handling her it was probably very frightening for her.
Question: I just got a hamster a day ago and he keeps showing his teeth and hissing at me; will this go away after a little bit?
Answer: You only got him a day ago, so he’s in a new environment with new smells and sounds, maybe away from his nest mates for the first time in his life, and doesn’t trust you yet. He’s probably very scared. You need to give him time to get used to his cage and his food before trying to be friends.
Question: My hamster always bites the cage, what should I do?
Answer: Hamsters bite the cage for several reasons: they want attention or they’re getting rid of pent-up energy. Play with your hamster more and get them a bigger cage.
Question: I recently just got a hamster (Syrian) and I’ve read your article and will be leaving him alone for a couple of days while he gets used to his surroundings. However, I noticed that he likes to climb on his cage, mainly in the corner. I don’t know if that is a problem at all; can you help me?
Answer: Your hamster is probably exploring his new cage! Make sure it's nice and large so he has plenty of space to run around and that he has lots of clean, unscented tissue paper to make a nest. Climbing the cage isn't a problem at all (my hamsters used to do it when they were young, too) as long as he isn't able to escape!
© 2018 Poppy
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 20, 2020:
You've only had him for a few days so he won't be used to his surroundings yet. You should give him at least a week to get used to all the new smells and sounds of your home. After that when he knows you're there to take care of him you can start to handle him.
Every hamster is different, so be patient.
fay on August 20, 2020:
I have only had our syien hamster since monday this week it is quite jumpy still is that norma?.He has taken sunflower seeds off me today from gaps on the outside of the gage he seems happy when he is awake he is only 7 weeks old.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 11, 2020:
All hamsters are different. If it bites hard, it means it's probably scared. Try putting a treat next to your hand instead of on it.
Shoon Lae Lae Maung on August 11, 2020:
My winter white hamster doesn't grab food from my hand and just bite me. What should I do?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 01, 2020:
The cage is a little small. A hamster needs a lot of room to run around.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 01, 2020:
I have no idea about that. Stress can be bad for a hamster's health, but it's good to play with it (gently) and let it out of its cage at least once a day
on July 31, 2020:
Hi Poppy, thank you so much for the answer! It was very helpful! I also have another question: is it true that if you play too much with a hamster it will die too soon? If yes, please tell me what's a good limit of time to play with it.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 31, 2020:
Hi there! I've had three hamsters in my adult life. One was a male dwarf hamster, and then I got a male and female who were both dwarfs. They had a litter of babies (I only saw one but there might have been more) but they all died. Then they had another litter of eight pups a few months later and they were all healthy and went on to lovely new families.
on July 30, 2020:
Dear Poppy, may you please tell me what type of hamsters do you have and how many children did they get.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 24, 2020:
You've been grabbing him? Has he been hissing and squeaking? If he's been quite relaxed about you holding him so far he might be OK - just start from step one!
Tongxin123 on July 23, 2020:
Hi! I just got a winter white hamster 2 days ago he is doin fine but before I read this article I have been grabbing and touching him roughly and he is terrified of me how do I build up his trust again or do I just wait another week later as my kids can’t wait to touch it! Thx.
Tongxin123 on July 23, 2020:
Hello I got my hamster 2 days ago. I have been touching him but now I have read this Ang should not be touching him I’m afraid he is frightened to death!!! What do I do to repair his trust?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 22, 2020:
I'm sorry to hear that, Louise. It's possible your hamster was handled roughly when it was a baby and that's why he's so jumpy.
Try to minimize noise in the room where you keep your hamster, and talk to him in soothing, quiet tones so he can get used to the sound of your voice.
Louise on July 22, 2020:
I’ve recently bought a Syrian hamster (male) I’ve left him alone for a week and past him treats through the cage so he gets used to my presence and smell.
And I’ve been following your guidelines.
However my hamster keeps getting startled when I walk past or when I’ve been talking to him And I begin to move he gets startled and runs really quick, he is also very jumpy.
And on one occasion, my hamster got startled with me walking past and started chirping at me too
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 14, 2020:
He's tasting you. Give him a treat or a toy to distract him.
Cassandra on July 14, 2020:
Hello there! I've had my current Syrian for slightly over a week now and I left him alone untouched for the first couple of days. Recently, I started handing him treats and putting treats on my palm. He would sometimes step on my palm for a short while and retreat after getting the treat. Other times he would nibble my hand eventhough I've washed it and has no food smell.
Just a minute ago, I placed my hand in the cage for him to smell my hand. He sniffed my hand for a good 5seconds then nibbled on my finger again.
Makes me sad everytime he nibbles me. Any idea why?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 11, 2020:
Just follow the article guidelines. You've only had her a day, so she won't trust you yet.
lara on July 11, 2020:
hi, i got my dwarf hamster a day ago however when i go near her she freezes and shakes, what do i do to help her? do i start to handle her? thanks !
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on June 20, 2020:
Please research what fruit and veg is OK for your hamster. Do give him a good mix of things, like plain boiled chicken and bugs too.
Lauren Jones on June 20, 2020:
Hi. I just got my male chinese hamster yesterday. He is pretty young but not a baby. I tried putting my hand in the cage and he came. He sniffed me a lot but didnt seem frightened. I bought him a wooden staircase with a slide. It also acts as a chew toy but he CONSTANTLY BURROWS UNDER IT. Should I start giving fruit and veggies?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on June 18, 2020:
Charlotte, I'm so happy to hear your little hamster is doing great! I'm sure you're a terrific owner to him.
Charlotte Phuong on June 18, 2020:
Thank you so much for your information! I've got my hammy for one month now and just currently switched him to a bigger bin cage. He looks so happy and begins to act less shy than he was before. I gave his old critter trail cage to someone else. His biting habit has stopped now, instead he licks my fingers everytime I give him food or pet him gently. I take it as a sign of affection. He deserves the best life and I will give him that
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on June 16, 2020:
All hamsters are different. Chattering teeth means they need space. Be sure to open his cage door and wait for him to come out rather than you putting your hand in (this invades his space). Good luck!
Kai on June 15, 2020:
Hello! I got a hamster a week ago, his name is Dylan, he’s a Syrian.
He takes treats from my hands and sniff it, he sometimes comes when he sees my hand but today he chattered his teeth at me for being around, he doesn’t let me stroke him:( and won’t climb to my hand to take treats, what can I do so that he trusts me more ?
Beforehand , Thank you ❤️
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on May 26, 2020:
Just wait until she's not in the tubes and then uninstall them to clean them. It's definitely not a good idea to leve them especially if they stink. The hamster won't attack you!
Remi on May 22, 2020:
I got a female syrian hamster for my 2 children 4 days ago. Ive seen some really good tips and advise on here so I now no to give her time and patients as she's constantly hiding in her tubes and seems petrified, which is sad but she recently had some brown liquid in her tubes the store said to keep an eye and if there's no more over night then not to worry BUT it really smells. I mean she was up all night playing and the next day there was no extra liquid. The store don't seem worried at all but I NEED to clean her tubes and I can't gain access without scaring her or her appearing like she's going to attack me. I'm really frightened of her, need some advice on how to clean the tubes when she's in it 24 7, she's put all her bedding in there and I can't bribe her with treats as she's not interested and too scared. What's the best way I can do this without being biten or scaring her?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 30, 2020:
She might have been abused in the pet store. Some hamsters are just naturally nervous and shy. Open her cage door and play with her when she comes out - don't chase her in her cage. That way she'll know her cage is a safe place and outside is time to play with you.
Bella on April 30, 2020:
I have my robo hamster for almost 2 month now. Everytime she smell me or I try to pet her, hold her she always run away. I aready try to put her favourite treat on my hand alot of time but it doesn't work. She seems to be very scared. How can I calm her down and make not scared of me anymore?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 11, 2020:
Some hamsters are naturally shy, or maybe she suffered some bad treatment at the pet store. Uneven sleep schedules are fairly normal, though it may be a personality disorder too. You can't force her to be friendly; just feed her, speak and move quietly around her, and eventually she'll know she can trust you. Nine days is still way too early for her to trust you anyway.
Elle on April 11, 2020:
I have had my hamster for 9 days, and she is still very scared of me. Her sleep schedule is super messed up. Sometimes she’ll wake up at 9:00 a.m, and sometimes she will wake up at 1:00a.m. So you see, I never know when she will be awake. She is barely ever awake in the evenings, and wakes up late late at night. She always hisses at me when she is awake and I am near her cage. If I move slightly, she runs and hides. I have spoken to her softly and tried to get her used to me, but she is still scared and hisses and runs from me.
Jaleigh Moore on March 27, 2020:
So I have had a Russian dwarf Hamster for 2 months and she still bites me and chases my hand around the cage when i feed her idk what to do...
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on November 12, 2019:
Hi, Chelsey! Thank you so much for your comment. I'm really glad this article helped you out. Have lots of fun with your new little friend :)
Chelsey on November 11, 2019:
Thank you so much! I got my little guy yesterday, and my first hamster was not skiddish like the one I have now. My first bit me and we were okay. I was very nervous with my new one, but I feel a LOT better now. I thought I was doing something wrong, he keeps running away and hiding. Now I understand, thank you so much!!!
Sophia on November 02, 2019:
My hamster loves me, the only advice I can give is to pick your hamster up when he/she is tired. Then, put him/her on your lap and cover him up, if he/she is ready, it'll fall asleep, do this at least once a day, if you do it enough, you will bond and he/she will look forward to seeing you each day. I hope if you own a hamster that this will help you form a bond with your hamster! Bye!
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 03, 2019:
Sounds like she doesn't like humans very much. Three weeks isn't a very long time for her to get used to you and her new life. Leave her alone for a few more weeks and be patient.
Abbey on August 01, 2019:
Ive had my hamster for 3 weeks and it dosnt like me if i try and pick her up she bites me and she trys to escape her cage ive done everything i could to make her cage fun for her its got 3 floors a wheel sone tunnels chew toys and card board. I talk to her and try and get her to trust me but she dosnt like me very much. She is a syrian hamster
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on June 03, 2019:
It sounds like he needs a place to hide. Hamsters love little crevices where they can feel safe. Buy him a little house; he'll love it!
Seal Lover on June 01, 2019:
I got my h as mster a few days ago, in the cage there's a tube from first level to second. He'll crawl half way in the tube and sit eat and sleep there. Whats hhappening and why?
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on May 02, 2018:
Thanks, Mike :)
Mike Hardy from Caseville, Michigan on May 02, 2018:
Excellent article...as a former Gerbil owner your spot on.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 04, 2018:
Thanks for the advice. I used to have a hamster years ago. He was very cute and I used to love holding him.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 04, 2018:
Hi! Yes, they're very sweet! Thank you so much for commenting :)
Nikki Khan from London on April 04, 2018:
Hi Poppy, your article is very interesting and loved the pictures of hamsters.I never had them as a pet but I love to watch them in the zoo.They are so sweet little animals, thanks for sharing about them.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 03, 2018:
Hi, Flourish! Thank you for your lovely comment. I agree that plastic is much better than metal, and Zelda and Hemingway live separately. I bred them once and gave the babies for free to happy homes, which was a great experience.
Lettuce is okay but you have to remove it within a day if they don't eat it all. Wet tail is usually caused by stress, but you're right that hamsters can also have diarrhea if they eat too much of the wrong thing.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. It is much appreciated as always.
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 03, 2018:
They are sweethearts! Very easy to take care of and can be quite cheeky, too.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 03, 2018:
These are such beautiful photos! You obviously love these two. In the US, most responsible pet shops will not sell a male and female together because hamsters and gerbils breed very rapidly (don't let them out at the same time to prevent that issue and space the cages enough distance if you know what I mean).
I used to have hamsters when I was in college and my daughter was young. They always lived about 4 years for me. I found that one of the plastic exercise balls rather than the metal wheels was always preferable. I usually had one set up inside the case and used one for allowing them to travel around my home or apartment outside the cage. (I knew of too many hamster escapes through heating systems to trust them alone.) Also at that time, you could also buy plastic houses with large connecting tunnel systems that were reconfigurable. It was fun to build and watch them use it. I also gave them different textures of hamster-sized cardboard boxes that they could make their nests in. Just remove the top panel. It allowed them to make their nests darker during the day since they are chiefly nocturnal. I also tended to avoid lettuce, watermelon, and other very wet fruits and vegetables because they caused a wet rear end (diarrhea). Raisins and whole, unsalted peanuts were also appreciated snacks. Best of luck on loving your sweet little babies. They are so beautiful.
Eric Farmer from Rockford Illinois on April 03, 2018:
I had a pet hamster as a kid. I don't remember much about it. My mom was the one that really took care of it.