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Old 03-26-2023, 11:32 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 7
Default My hamster is terrified of me no matter how much I handle her

My fairly new female syran hamster, "Black Forest Ham". Seems terrified whenever I approach her or try to pick her up.
She's bitten me deeply a few times now, and often freaks out like it's the end of the world when I reach into her cage to pet her or handle her.

I've had her about a month and a half now and she has a large bin cage with plenty to do and seems content enough to take treats from my hand when she's settled down a bit.

I have had a few female Syran hamsters before her and while I don't claim to be a hamster expert, I'd like to think I've got some hamster experience behind my belt and can usually deal with hams that need some extra work.

Maybe this is just me prematurely seeking advice, as shes still fairly new, but I'm just curious what I could be doing wrong with this little one or what I might be able to do to get her to warm up to me or at least not freak out and see me as a threat constantly.

All my previous hams have ended up warming up to me so much that they were my little buddies sitting with me for hours or sleeping in my sleeve while I work.
They warmed up fairly quickly within a month or two and I'm just struggling to get a connection with Black Forest. This baby gets handled everyday, and yet she still seems terrified of me when I approach her cage or try to pick her up. And is always smelling strongly of that fear scent they let off when scared. Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts on what I can do to put her more at ease with me or her environment?

I also notice she pees in her wheel and her nest and doesn't seem to have a clear pee spot.
Nor does she appear to have a hoard stashed somewhere. I specifically look for these things when cleaning her cage. I find it odd and don't know if this is some clue to her fearful behavior. Like maybe she doesn't feel safe enough to make a hoard or have a designated pee spot?

I should also state that I live alone and she's my only pet, so there's no other scents that would be in the area that she would be afraid of

Last edited by Aaawhyme; 03-26-2023 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 03-27-2023, 09:36 AM   #2
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Mar 2023
Location: Scotland
Posts: 7
Default Re: My hamster is terrified of me no matter how much I handle her


From the sounds of things, your hamster is unfortunately not comfortable with your scent nor being picked up and handled. I relate to you with my past hamsters being really quick with their taming progress and having one which is still nervous around you can be a worry. My hamster at the moment is the same and doesn't yet fully trust me completely but we are getting there slowly. You just need to stay patient and let the hamster learn to trust you in their own time.

What I can recommend is rubbing your scent on things in their cage such as mixing the substrate around and their bedding material in your hands. Let them be able to smell your scent on a lot of things in their cage and get them used to having your hands inside of the cage. When they are comfortable enough try feed them treats or food from their own mix and allow them to take the treats from your hands. Do this for a few days and slowly transition to having food in the palm of your hand and allow them to eat from your palm, and they will eventually be comfortable enough to sit in your hand. You must do this as regular you can like once or twice a day as it will start to become a routine and your hamster will begin to expect it. Once they seem to be okay with climbing on your hand, slowly raise them up on your palm and let them get used to the motion of being picked up - they may be skittish in the beginning but they will get used to it. Once he seems comfortable with eating from your hands and being held slightly in the enclosure, try taking them out for bathtub bonding. Bathtub bonding has been a huge success with all my other hamsters. Using food is probably your strongest tool to get any animal to trust you - along with time and patience.

Also I will recommend to maybe add more hides or some sort of platforms in their enclosure that they can hide under as hamsters are prey animals and if there is a lot of empty space in their cage and not a lot of shelter this can make them feel under threat.

Apologies if you are already trying this method and nothing is working, all I have to offer you is just to wait. It may be a slow wait but you have to take your time as if you rush your hamster into things which they are not ready for, this may damage their trust for you in the long term.

Hope this helped
Lucy | 19 | She/Her
Current Hamsters: Aerys
Past Hamsters: Puzzle, Cinnamon, Peaches and Frodo
Lucyhamsters101 is offline   Reply With Quote

cage, fairly, hamster, shes, terrified

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