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Old 01-24-2020, 01:12 PM   #1
Salem13
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 42
Question Friendly But Nibbly

Before I got Mimo I was told he liked to bite- initially I thought this would mean he was aggressive but now I'm not so sure-

I got my boy about 2 weeks ago and he has made amazing progress. I have mostly left him alone but let him sniff my hands and he takes treats right out of them. Every day I've been giving him a piece of tissue with my smell on it and he's been using them in his nest. Last week I decided to put the treats in my palm to see if he would still take them- he did! Mimo didn't hesitate and walked right up and sat in my hand eating away. The past few days when I have gone in to feed him or replace his water or spot clean he has come out to see what the fuss is about. Every time he crawls around me sniffing and makes his way onto my hands and arms. Mimo has even crawled into my hand as if it were a hide while cleaning on 4 different occassions.
The foster/rescue was right though, he definitely does like to bite. He never puts his ears back or screeches but he always always ALWAYS bites. He's drawn blood several times and my hand has quite a few marks on it. Now I don't mind this at all, I'm very used to getting cuts and things and I would probably bite too if I were that size! When he bites I just softly say "no thank you Mr Mimo" and slowly pull away or roll my finger/hand out of his mouth. If he bites more than he sniffs or explores then I typically just close the cage back up and continue talking to him until he goes back to whatever hes doing.
I don't think he's biting because he's afraid and I always make sure my hands are washed to get rid of any food or animal smell. He seems to be really friendly and will choose to sit on my hand or arm on his own accord, sometimes bathing himself for a few minutes. If he were showing other signs of stress or aggression I would give him more time or accept that I may just have a hamster I won't be able to handle-- but he really does seem to enjoy our time together. Again I really don't mind if he bites me, I can definitely take it- I'm just wondering if theres a better way to go about it. I don't expect him to ever stop biting but if anyone has any suggestions on how to maybe encourage that he do so less often or at least not as hard that would be great.

Video of him about a week ago when he first ate out of my palm
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:01 PM   #2
peculiarplanets
Hamster Pup
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 104
Default Re: Friendly But Nibbly

Sometimes hamsters are biters and that's just their nature. However, in the past I've managed to teach a bitey hamster to bite other things than my hand. You said you talk to him softly and slowly pull your hand away. While that is a nice and gentle approach, it doesn't always work.

What I did for my hamster is put on a slightly louder and stern voice, like you would with a child who does something wrong. I would sternly call out the name of my hamster, in this case it was my Russian dwarf named Melon. So I would be like "Melon! No." And then I would move my hand away fast, but not too fast to startle the ham. I did this whenever she bit me. But when she didn't bite me, I would give her a treat. It's a trial and error method of learning, which most animals understand. This doesn't guarantee that Mimo will never bite again, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:42 PM   #3
Maker
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: UK
Posts: 56
Default Re: Friendly But Nibbly

I agree, try and imitate how another hamster would react, do a little screech and pull away and leave his space for a little while, he needs to know it hurts, obviously don’t startle him too badly, timing is everything, you have to be immediate, maybe this is not something he learnt from his siblings/mum and you may have to help him learn. I hope it works for you, keep us updated. Polo will try her teeth on my hubbys hands but not mine and I’m sure it’s because she makes me screech and jump (that’s my natural reaction) which in turn makes her jump therefore it’s not a nice experience for either of us, DH he’s not bothered and doesn’t move so she’s none the wiser that he doesn’t like it. I hope it works for you
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:40 PM   #4
Salem13
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 42
Default Re: Friendly But Nibbly

Thank you both for your advice, I will keep it in mind and give it a try! I guess I was so worried about scaring him I didn't consider reacting lol. I'll update in about a week or so to say if it's been working or not.
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