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Old 03-18-2020, 11:01 PM   #1
Stella Maris
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Default old woman, old hamster

Hi folks,
First, I want to thank the administrator and volunteers for maintaining this site, and thanks to experienced hamster owners for sharing.
I've had dogs and cats for many decades, but age brings allergies as well as wisdom, so after my last dog died, I got Oreo, a Campbells dwarf. He's a little nippy, and has bit me FOUR TIMES - the wee wretch - so I don't handle him a lot, but I let him climb in his ball and roll around a bit before decanting him onto my lap for treats (kale, etc) and a bit of a pet. He's pleasant and relatively undemanding company.
I've joined the forum now because I've gotten good advice from reading forum members' discussions, and now that I, along with many others, will be spending time at home, it seemed a good opportunity to join the discussion.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:38 AM   #2
Petite
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Hello and welcome to Hamster Central! Welcome to Oreo too.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:45 AM   #3
Vierville
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Welcome! This is a great community and an excellent resource for info and advice.

Don't worry too much about Oreo's nipping, he might well get over it in time as he gets more accustoned to being handled and as his trust in you builds.

Do you know how old Oreo is?

On the topic of hamster balls, there is quite a lot of controversy about whether hamsters enjoy them or fear being in them...I know that the consesus on here tends to be that they are not the best things.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:28 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Hello and welcome. We have two syrian hamsters - I have been allergic to most pets all my life which was difficult, but happily am not allergic to hamsters!

Is there any particular circumstance when he nips? Usual advice is wash your hands before handling them (you probably do anyway) in case they think you're a tasty snack if you've eaten something recently. Also use simple soap - nothing flowery or with honey in it! Also smells like food. Some hamsters don't like a hand in their cage either. It is usually fear that makes them nip - if it isn't thinking you are food, so he maybe just needs to build some trust. Being prey animals they can see a hand descending from above as something coming to get them and some are more nervy than others about this. If you only have a top opening tank/cage, then one way round this is to lower a tube with a treat at the far end (eg something smelly and tempting like cucumber) so they walk into the tube - then lift them out in the tube with your hands over each end so he doesn't jump out. Wear gloves to do this if you think he may nip and make you drop the tube. Or you can lower the hamster ball in with a treat in, let him walk into that and pop the lid on and lift him out that way.

General consensus is that hamster balls aren't good for dwarf hamsters - they can be stressed in them and there's a risk of getting a toe caught in the slots. Hamster balls are very useful for transporting hamsters from the cage elsewhere though!

Setting up a playpen area or safe area with some toys in can be better for out of cage time and exercise.

Have you tried the tissue trick as well? It helps them accept your scent. Put a few sheets of toilet paper up your sleeve or down your bra for a couple of hours, then tear it into strips and put the pile of toilet paper strips near the house. The hamster will take some for the nest and will have your familiar scent in their "safe place" so associate it with good things.
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:58 AM   #5
Stella Maris
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Thanks for the welcome! I got Oreo when he was 2 1/2 months old; he's now 1 yr 8 mos. He's very food motivated; maybe that's why he's so nippy. As far as I can tell, I've done everything right. I think he bit me because he was cage guarding. His way of saying, "Get yer filthy mitts outta my space!" He happily climbs into his ball. I decant him into my lap and give him something to munch on (besides me!) while I pet him.
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:05 PM   #6
NibbleeTheHamster
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

welcome to HC! Like Serendipity7000 said, he might be a little bit cage territorial or can possibly smell food on your hands. On the topic of hamster balls, there has been studies shown that hamsters get very stressed while rolling in them. their eyesight is already bad and the ball doesnt help, when you see them rolling around speedily its easy to presume that they are enjoying running around even when they aren't. They have no control on when they can eat or rest or drink. So i would advise you not to use them unless you use it to transport oreo around. its a safe way to handle him if he's nippy. instead of letting oreo run around in the ball, you should opt for free ranging by hamster proofing a room in your house and letting your hamster run freely on the ground or you can put a plush blanket on the bottom of your bathtub and let oreo run around in there. Im very excited to see more of you and oreo on the forum!
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:18 PM   #7
VOESSY
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Hello and welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:17 PM   #8
jclee
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Default Re: old woman, old hamster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stella Maris View Post
Thanks for the welcome! I got Oreo when he was 2 1/2 months old; he's now 1 yr 8 mos. He's very food motivated; maybe that's why he's so nippy. As far as I can tell, I've done everything right. I think he bit me because he was cage guarding. His way of saying, "Get yer filthy mitts outta my space!" He happily climbs into his ball. I decant him into my lap and give him something to munch on (besides me!) while I pet him.
It sounds like you're using the ball to scoop him and plop him safely into your lap (look, ma, no hands to nip!) which should be a fairly safe use for the ball. I think people's cautionary warnings are about hamsters running around inside of the ball on the floor, which is a different use.

Welcome to you and to Oreo. I look forward to some pictures, and I am very glad that you have each other.
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