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Old 03-26-2018, 07:12 AM   #1
Rabbitfox
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Default New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

So 3 days ago my boyfriend and I got a little brown, ginger and white Syrian girl. We think she's around 8-10 weeks old, if that! She's so tiny. I haven't had a hamster since I was in my early teens (I'm 24 now) so whilst I'm not new to hamster ownership but I haven't had one for a long time.

Anyway, we called her Nugget! You can see her in my profile pic

I know it's still early days and we left her alone for most of the weekend to settle in (apart from changing her water, food, etc.) and last night she was ever so curious and was climbing the cage bars to look what we were doing, going crazy in her wheel and generally having a whale of a time. We thought since she was showing so much confidence that we'd try just putting my boyfriend's hand in the cage for her to investigate.

That's where the problem begins! She came over to his hand, sniffed it a bit, stood really still for a while, sniffed it some more and then nibbled it. This wasn't bad because I know they do this sometimes out of curiosity but then she held the end of his finger with her little hands and bit into the end of it so hard she drew blood My boyfriend was totally calm and didn't snatch his hand away or anything like that... however this morning when I got up, she was really, REALLY timid. Every little noise I made whilst getting ready for work made her either jump or stand frozen for ages! I went to change her food and she ran away from me into her tube and wouldn't come out.

I'm not sure if this is cage aggression or if it was just a curious nibble? Why is she suddenly terrified? What do you guys think?

My plan was to leave her alone for another couple of days and see if she comes back out to play, and if she does, try letting her investigate our hands again... But I wanted your input first!

Thanks everyone
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:01 PM   #2
Amethyst_ice
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

Hello,

Everyone has their own ways of taming and often the hammy will guide you...ive had ones ive left for a week and started to gentle talk to them to have them just casually walk out onto me like I wasn't even there!

Ive also had ones that never really liked to be handled much so became more of a watch pet.

I don't think it's agression or anything malicious. The world is new and hands are big and smelly. Everying is to be explored.

We have several taming threads if you search for you can have a brows at and pick what suits you best

What I would suggest though is remove any tubes for now, places to hide are comfort and will slow taming and confidence down. You need her to know you are a great food source (treats in training is ALWAYS your friend) and you are safe.

Also, ive had hamsters that are useless to be handled, touched, caught inside the cage then very slow and calm and easy to handle out.

Some people sit in the bath with a blanket and let the hammy run over them.

Personally..because I'm now old and impatient (some may say "asking for a bite" lol ), I put the ball opening at the cage opening..let the hammy climb out, settle down on the sofa with a blanket and a few treats like chopped carrot, sunflower seeds...and just plop little hammy onto my lap! I'll usually gently stroke their back, let them climb over me..and usually ill forget and just pick them up lol To date..I have been bitten twice...ever

Good luck and well done to your bf for being so calm xxx
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Old 03-26-2018, 05:26 PM   #3
Beamerri
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

I am a first time hamster mama, too! The first thing/question that came to mind when reading your post- did your fella wash his hands before he put his hand in the cage? The only time I got nipped by my girl, (also a female syrian) was when I had finished eat some food and didn't wash my hands before handling her. If your hands smell like food they might be more inclined to nibble your fingers. I've read several places to use unscented soaps, but I use a gentle lavender scented soap and she doesn't seem bothered by it.

Good luck taming! Patience is key and is also the hardest part.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:02 PM   #4
cypher
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

It sounds as though the bite was just exploratory & not anything to do with fear or being territorial.
Taming can sometimes be a bit up & down with them taking unexpected steps back so don't worry too much.
Keep talking to her for a few days, if you offer treats you can try burying your fingers in the substrate with the treat on your palm so there's less of a temptation to nibble fingers, it does take them a while to figure out what's food & what's not!
She should settle again soon enough then I would begin taking her out, let her climb into something you can safely transport her in, for very short taming sessions.
Use a playpen, play bin, the bath with the plug in & a towel in the bottom, or any secure area where she can run around safely, give her some toys to explore & slowly begin to interact & introduce your hands, she may just run over your hands to begin with but as she gets more confident you can scoop her up, just for a moment only lifting her slightly to begin with gradually increasing the time you hold her & she will get used to being handled.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst_ice View Post
Personally..because I'm now old and impatient (some may say "asking for a bite" lol ), I put the ball opening at the cage opening..let the hammy climb out, settle down on the sofa with a blanket and a few treats like chopped carrot, sunflower seeds...and just plop little hammy onto my lap! I'll usually gently stroke their back, let them climb over me..and usually ill forget and just pick them up lol To date..I have been bitten twice...ever
Hahaha! I'm a bit impatient too but I'm trying not to be... as hard as it is I just wish there was an easy way to tell her I'm not gonna hurt her and she doesn't have to run away. She took a treat from my hand this morning so that's something
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:10 AM   #6
Rabbitfox
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beamerri View Post
I am a first time hamster mama, too! The first thing/question that came to mind when reading your post- did your fella wash his hands before he put his hand in the cage?
I don't think he did! Maybe he smelled a bit too much like food then
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Old 03-27-2018, 05:03 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: New Syrian Girl - Few behaviour questions!

Three days is still very early Lots of good advice above. We did bathtub taming until our Syrian got used to being handled. If they are scared they may bite (or threaten to) and also if they think you are food! I think it sounds like the latter with your syrian by the way you describe her holding the finger in her paws first

In the bathtub they can run around safely without escaping and you can occasionally stroke her on the back and see if she tolerates it. Then move on to cupping a hand under her belly but just letting her walk off again. Once she tolerates that you should be able to pick her up.

The other thing they can do before fully hand tame or before they are used to you, is "ping" which is wriggle and leap in the air so you can't keep hold. They can ping quite high so make sure any handling is done in a place a) she can't escape from if she leaps and b) that she has a soft landing and isn't being held too high up. Eg over towels in the bottom of the bath or over cushions or the sofa. I used to block of the ends of the sofa with a big blanket so ours couldn't leap off.

Having a hamster ball handy is also useful to put in front of them if they look like they're doing a runner. And as Amethyst Ice says, for getting them in and out of the cage or for carrying them in to the bathroom for bathtub taming.

They often don't like a hand in the cage and may run at it before tame, but are fine with hands out of the cage. I also use a cardboard tube for getting a hamster out. Putting a treat at the far end and letting them walk into the tube then put a hand over either end of the tube and then either lifting them nearby to a playpen area or the sofa and putting the tube down there. Or putting one end of the tube inside the hamster ball and lettig them walk into the ball that way, and then pop the lid on and take the ball where you want to let them out.

An old pringles tube is ideal.
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