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Old 12-30-2021, 03:55 PM   #1
Adult Hamster
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Default Bites in cage and playpen

Our dwarf girl arriwed three weeks ago. She is very active, but is after my hand everytime I stick it in her cage or playpen and bites. What can be the reason she is doing that?
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Old 12-30-2021, 04:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bites in cage and playpen

More experienced people might message after me with more knowledge. I think dwarf hamsters can take longer times to adjust and two weeks is normally the adjustment period I think. Normally you have to leave them alone without touching for a period of time then slowly introduce hand-feeding. Have you been able to get her to feed from your hand yet?

It sounds silly but how is she biting as well? Is it an instant snap, or is she really calm then bites? If it’s instant then it’s probably just to do with adjustment but if it’s after you’re stroking her, maybe somewhere your touching hurts and it’s a defence. And also if you have any other animals in the house, for example a cat, make sure to wash your hands before reaching for your hamster as she might be thinking it’s a pet you stroked recently.

I am only guessing, I have a Syrian so I’m not the best for advice, I had a dwarf hamster when I was younger and I remember her being much more reserved than my Syrian so she’d be defensive over her nest for example. Also loved to burrow more. Even any sounds or smells near the cage might be causing the territorial behaviour, especially as they rely on these.
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Old 01-02-2022, 11:26 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Bites in cage and playpen

She probably sees your hand as an intruder and wants it out of her territory.
Housemate of Rory & Rodney & Jack & Clive & Scottie & Finley

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Old 01-04-2022, 09:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bites in cage and playpen

Taming can take time and before starting with taming there is a need to build familiarity and trust. She is probably biting out of fear because there isn’t a trust bond yet. I would suggest leaving her alone for two or three days in her cage and then talking to her while in the cage - regularly, moving onto offering treats through the bars. Let her build confidence and familiarity first. Give that two to three weeks. If during that time she shows signs of wanting to come out - eg coming to the door - then get her out for a taming session by means of letting her walk into something (eg a hamster ball and use that to carry her to the taming area). Sometimes a playpen can be too big an area for taming - try the dry bathtub. With a tube and a hidey place in. She will probably try and scrabble up the sides of the bath. When she is doing that, stroke her in the back once - with one finger. Or use a toothbrush so you can do that one stroke at arms length. If she jerks round to bite then don’t try again for about 10 minutes. Then one more stroke in the back. Then wait till the second taming session (eg every 3 days). Same again. Gradually she will accept “touch” and stop jerking round. At that stage you can use a finger for the one stroke. That is a major turning point if she doesn’t jerk round when you touch her on the back.

Then move onto putting your hand on the bottom of the bath - palm up. Let her run over it as she’s running around. Next session do the same again but this time when she runs over your hand, lift it very slightly- eg 1cm - but still let her walk off. Progress to lifting your hand a bit higher - eg a couple of inches - but still let her walk off. Progress to then putting one hand in front of the other (still flat palms) so she walks from hand to hand. From there you should be able to let her walk through your hands tunnelled - from hand to hand. Then she is tame - when picking her up she is not scared of your hands.

When picking up, don’t do it from above like a claw - scoop her up gently with both hands at either side.

It can take time and patience but then happen very suddenly. Just trust and confidence.
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