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Old 06-23-2019, 06:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 1
Unhappy Biting hamster - loosing hope

Hi friends!

Iíve had a winter white for about two months now and he bites me every time I go in the cage. And itís a nasty bite, not a playful nibble.

I definitely am to blame for this. I didnít do enough research prior to purchasing my hamster and I handled him too soon after bringing him home. I think it overwhelmed him. I also had him in a cage that the pet store recommended (yikes) and after researching realized it was too small. I upgraded his cage to a larger size and he seems more settled now (he stopped bar biting). But ... heís still biting me.

Iím loosing hope and Iím not sure what else to do. Iíve tried the taming process and he is not warming up. Is there anyone who has had similar problems and overcome them?
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:39 PM   #2
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Biting hamster - loosing hope

Have you tried the tissue trick, you take some unscented toilet paper and put it up the sleeves on your arms, leave for a couple of hours and then place in his cage, curiosity will have him sniff it, this gets him used to your scent, do this everyday for a week, just add to the cage, most hamsters end up stuffing it in their cheeks and using it as extra bedding. Also, talk softly and quietly to him, even if you can't see him, this way he'll get use to your voice. When he's out and about in his cage, offer him treats with your fingers and praise him when he takes it. Good on you upgrading his cage. Has he got plenty of toys to keep him amused and hide in?
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Biting hamster - loosing hope

First thing to do is work out why he's biting you. He could be scared and genuinely biting from fear (full chomp, blood, messy usually), he could be territorial of his new space and warning you to keep out (a hard nip maybe) or he could just be doing it because he wants to be left alone and he knows now that if he nips you'll go away or it could be curious nibbles.

What's his body language like? Is he hissing or rearing up on his back legs, is he running at/ after your hand, is he sniffing then biting etc etc

There's no point blaming yourself for this, the whole "leave them alone completely for x many days" is relatively new advice and they will not be scarred for life if you handle them too early. I know a guy on another forum who gives them one day to settle then scoops them up and shoves them inside his shirt until they stop wriggling. Note I am absolutely not recommending anyone try this, I think he's a madman but his hams are quite tame and content. So although the current recommendation is to leave them to settle, you haven't broken anything by not doing so, other methods work, and you can undo a lot of "wrong" with patience and time.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Biting hamster - loosing hope

I usually leave mine just a day to settle and then I'll start getting them used to me but all of my current hamsters have been from breeders rather than pet shops. I think it depends on what interactions they've had with humans prior to rehoming rather than it being a hard and fast rule so I agree that there's really no need to blame yourself.

I've not found that the 'tissue trick' has made much difference with mine but over the years I've used several different approaches to taming and the one thing that seems to have been fairly consistant is that the sessions that have taken place outside their cages have had the best results.

You'll need to entice your hamster into a mug or something so that you can carry them over to the taming space safely and then what happens next will depend on your hamster's nature. With a young Chinese, I would use a small space, gently stroking them, picking them up and most importantly, allowing them to get down from my hand if they want to get down rather than trying to keep them in my hands. With a slightly older, more lively hamster, I may choose activities that involve engaging with them at playtime such as allowing them to climb over a hand (gloved to start with if you're worried). At this early stage it will be about getting you used to each other as I imagine there's probably a bit of apprehension on both sides at the moment.

I know that a lot of taming advice often recommends offering treats but again this does not always result in success. A Chinese lad I bred a couple of years ago went through a rather nippy phase because he had come to associate my hands with food. To overcome it, I had to stop feeding him the treats directly from my hands. He eventually learnt to wait at a particular place in his cage for the treats to come dropping through the roof and he ended up being one of the most soppy, loving hamsters I ever had.
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