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Old 10-02-2019, 12:12 PM   #1
Ciri
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Join Date: Oct 2019
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Unhappy Bad interaction with my new hamster

Hey guys,

I bought a Syrian on Monday and was informed to leave her alone for 24 hours but to begin interaction following that. Yesterday I started hand feeding her and she was totally fine with that. Today I put my hand in the cage and stroked her while she was eating a treat I had given her, and again she was fine with this.

However, I then tried to pick her up, I managed to get her out of the cage without any hassle but she then bit me and jumped out of my hands onto the floor and began screaming. It took me 15 minutes to get her back to the cage.

She then began grooming herself for a while and drinking quite a lot. But she still let me stroke her and wasn't aggressive, and even took a treat from me. Another strange behaviour is when she runs on the wheel for 5-10 seconds, gets off, sniffs the bars which I'm sitting next to for another 5 seconds then gets back on the wheel.

I just hope you guys think everything will be okay, I feel terrible for rushing but I had no idea she'd react like this. I'm planning on just stepping back for a few days and starting over. Will she ever forgive me?

Thanks
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:50 PM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

It's very early days and she was just scared. I think you need to leave them for 2 or 3 days to settle. Then start familiarising them with treats through the bars and talking to them. Gradually you can start taming after that. Sometimes you need to wait till they come to the bars as if wanting to come out rather than lift them out. Everything else sounds normal hamster behaviour
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:01 PM   #3
Ciri
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Ah lovely thank you so much for the reply! Yeah I've started feeding her chocolate drops through the bars and talking to her, and she seems very interested still although a little skittish. I'm just hoping she forgives me
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:29 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Don't worry and relax. You haven't done anything wrong and didn't know that she'll be scared out of her cage. She won't hold it against you.
I think that you are very lucky to have a hamster who eats from your hand and lets you stroke her so soon. The rest will follow.
Are these hamster chocolate drops? Normal chocolate made for humans are bad for hamsters but i'm sure that you know that.
Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are popular treats for hamsters. Some like mealworms but mainly dwarves.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:36 AM   #5
Ciri
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Yeah she is lovely, the cage is next to my desk and she always comes up to the bars and even still allows me to put my hand in. I'm gonna try and get her in the ball in a couple days and see how that goes.

And yep they are chocolate drops from the pet shop and she lovesss them! Ah thank you for the suggestion, I've started picking up recommended fruits and veggies for her so I'll get those too!
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Even the pet shop chocolate drops aren't healthy unfortunately. Fruits and veggies make much better treats and offer natural sources of vitamins and such without being loaded with really unhealthy things(added sugars, artificial flavors, etc). Plus, hamsters don't digest dairy which is another great reason to avoid these really awful treats!

I would also avoid using hamster balls. They don't offer any real enrichment for hamsters, and they pose some very real safety risks as well. A better option would be retiring the hamster ball for only being used in place of a mug or similar object to transfer a hamster from their cage to a playpen of some sort rather than letting a hamster actually run in the ball.

For some playpen options that actually let hamsters explore and freely choose where to go as well as not inhibiting the senses like hamster balls do, there are some really good options. Some people use large plastic storage bins which are a fairly affordable option although you do have to plan for storing that much more than some other choices. I wouldn't recommend storebought playpens as they're far too easy to escape, but you can make a playpen with cardboard if you want something easily replaced and free/very low cost. A similar option to cardboard playpens would be using coroplast which is essentially the plastic version of cardboard which happens to be far more durable and will not eventually get damaged from being folded too much, but it can be more expensive especially if you end up having to order it online since you may need to order large amounts that exceed the amount you need for one playpen. Some people also use a clean dry bathtub, but it isn't the most convenient choice nor does every person have a bathtub.

Please do keep in mind that hamsters can take a very long time to fully bond with humans, so don't get discouraged especially in the early days! Some hamsters are instantly accepting being held, pet, etc and those hamsters don't always have a settling in period, but those are not the typical situation when it comes to hamsters. Most hamsters take time to settle in as others have said, and then it can take weeks or months or even entire hamster lifetimes to fully bond.

It can be helpful to view things as bonding with your hamster rather than trying to make them "tame". Letting them set the pace and being able to read their body language and understand the exact moment they're not comfortable is very helpful, especially when it comes to being able to make the tiniest adjustments whenever needed or knowing when to take a step back(as you absolutely may end up needing to do) for example. Sometimes you can keep going after the step(s) back, other times you need to take a break, but it all depends on how comfortable an animal(in this case hamster) is at that exact moment with an exact situation. This can also help you avoid negative situations like putting an animal through too much stress, getting bit, etc. To clarify, the reason I use the vague term animal is because it absolutely applies to any animal I could possibly think of whether a dog, a hamster, or even a giant lizard and that's just a tiny amount of examples!
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:17 AM   #7
Ria P
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Opinions on hamster balls differ and i can only tell you what i think.

I never have and never will use a hamster ball because in my opinion it traps the hamster, could seriously stress him and it deprives the hamster of sensations like smell and sight. The exercise he gets isn't much different from running on a wheel but with a wheel he can get on and off.

As already mentioned, a playpen or hamster proof area is much better and you would be able to tell when the hamster has had enough and wants to go back to the cage.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:12 PM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

Balls can be very useful for transporting a hamster from the cage to somewhere else though. Eg the bathtub. So it can be a way of getting them out of the cage to take somewhere for taming.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:35 AM   #9
Hammygal
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Default Re: Bad interaction with my new hamster

They need a lot more than 1 day to settle in. I leave mine alone for 4 or 5 days.
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