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Old 07-16-2017, 10:58 AM   #1
Gerbil
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Join Date: Jun 2017
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Unhappy Handling after first bite?

I had Dudley for about three weeks now (I think) but today we had a bit of a setback where he bit me for the first time. It was my fault for waking him up during the day (I suddenly realised I hadn't changed his water for a few days) and the bite wasn't bad, but it bled quite a lot and I must admit I'm a little shaken by it.

He had actually approached me and started sniffing my hand rather than me bothering him, so I was quite surprised when he bit as I thought he would have stayed away from me if he felt threatened. I guess I could have smelt like food but I washed my hands with unscented soap beforehand as always, so I don't know.

I don't want to set our progress back so I don't know whether I should handle him any differently for the next few evenings or treat him as normal. Before today, he seemed very calm and would happily climb into my hand and let me cradle him against my chest.

I actually feel a bit silly posting this, but this forum has been super helpful and I'm hoping that someone can reassure me that I haven't done his confidence any long-term damage
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:02 AM   #2
Princess Pixie
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

Think of it this way, a bite from a ham isn't going to kill you, it's not venomous and you won't die. I own Mexican Red Knees and they're a different story.

Maybe it's a little bit of cage aggression, or he was grumpy you woke him, he could be having an off day, lots of reasons. I wouldn't worry too much and just carry on as normal.

Ps: you kind of should change their water every day.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:08 AM   #3
Gerbil
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

I'm not scared of being hurt Pixie, I work with horses and have been bitten and kicked before which I know is much more dangerous than a hamster! I'm was worried that our taming progress would go backwards but I think I'm just going to treat him as I would usually. I honestly wasn't sure if I would post this thread as I sound like a bit of an idiot, but I guess I was just looking for reassurance

I do know how often you should change water; it just slipped my mind yesterday so I decided to do it earlier in the day than usual
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

Don't worry, there's no harm in looking for a bit of reassurance from time to time. I think that as long as you carry on with the taming confidently, then it shouldn't be an issue. I feel sometimes that if you're nervous, hamsters can sense it and consequently feel that there is something that they should feel nervous about.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:38 PM   #5
Gerbil
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

He actually isn't keen on me touching him this evening and sort of rolls on his back when I try to scoop him up. I thought there might be something wrong with him physically but he's running on his wheel right now.

He is scent marking an awful lot

I feel like I've done something wrong and I'm terrified that he no longer trusts me
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

Taming can go backwards sometimes. It could have been a sound humans can't hear but hamsters can or an off day. Just go to a step in the taming process your hamster is comfortable with and rebuild the confidence by practising that step before moving on again.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:09 PM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Handling after first bite?

Sometimes a setback can happen so don't worry, I agree with Fluffagrams that they can sense if you're nervous. Talk to him more and praise him whenever he appears. Have you tried the tissue trick where you stuff some unscented toilet paper up your sleeves and leave for a couple of hours and then place in the cage, he'll sniff at it, a great way for them to know your scent, do this for about a week adding a bit more each day.
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