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Old 07-20-2021, 01:31 PM  
Senior Hamster
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: London
Posts: 587
Default Re: Are hamsters as easy to handle as gerbils?

I've had both. I kept gerbils for several years before getting a Robo, and then a Russian dwarf and I've handled Syrians a lot too. If you're used to gerbils you should have no trouble with hamsters, with the possible exception of Robos which are very fast.

Syrians and Russian dwarfs can certainly be fast when they want to be, but most of the time they're slower than gerbils and Robos. Robos are more difficult to handle than gerbils I find because they're very timid, they seem to zip around without stopping and they're tiny and squirmy. Gerbils are outgoing and curious, they'll stop to investigate you or things in the environment and they're bigger and a bit easier to hold onto when you need to.

Russian dwarfs sometimes don't like being picked up inside their cage and are happier when you let them walk into a jar or tube, then onto your hand. Mine is fine with being picked up, but not all are. Syrians can often be jumpy but I've often found once you let them know you're there by letting them sniff your hand, and then stroking their back, they can be picked up fairly easily, unless they're very timid. Russian dwarfs can also sometimes be nippy when young, especially when young, though this shouldn't be confused with cage aggression which is a different issue. Cage aggression affects some Russian dwarfs, especially when they're in a cage that's too small, and it causes them to lunge and bite at hands in their cage. They tend to be fine outside their cage though. Syrians and Robos rarely bite at all.

A lot of people say Syrians are much easier than Russian dwarfs, and so beginners should always get Syrians, but although they are quite different, I don't think one is really much harder than the other, as long as you're aware of how to handle them. I think you should whichever one appeals to you more. There's also nothing wrong with having a Robo as a first hamster, though they are more of a challenge.
Bramble & Athena (Russian dwarfs) and Daisy & Tilly (gerbils)
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