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Old 11-13-2021, 09:14 PM   #1
strwbie
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Question Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

title is explanatory
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Old 11-14-2021, 11:13 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

I can read the question but don't understand why you would want to teach a hamster to lay on their back.
They are not like dogs that can be taught tricks for the amusement of their human companions.

Thinking about it, i would say that it is not safe and would distress a hamster. Laying on their backs is a defence position a hamster feeling threatened would take. Ready to bite and fight off whatever is going to attack them.

They don't lay down and roll over like some dogs are taught to do.
Where did you get this idea from? Youtube?
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Old 11-14-2021, 01:17 PM   #3
Charlie Dunn
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Default Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

My question would be why you would want to do this given hamsters are prey animals and this is not a usual or comfortable position for them to be in. With hamsters, it is not what we may want but what is right for that individual hamster.
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Old 11-14-2021, 10:07 PM   #4
strwbie
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Default Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
I can read the question but don't understand why you would want to teach a hamster to lay on their back.
They are not like dogs that can be taught tricks for the amusement of their human companions.

Thinking about it, i would say that it is not safe and would distress a hamster. Laying on their backs is a defence position a hamster feeling threatened would take. Ready to bite and fight off whatever is going to attack them.

They don't lay down and roll over like some dogs are taught to do.
Where did you get this idea from? Youtube?
Oh gosh this was not the answer I was expecting! I googled it, and it says it safe to lay on their back. Ive always seen so many hamsters on japanese hamster accounts and it was so common that I just assumed it was safe. I get what youre saying though, that they would feel threatened.

(I also shouldve thought about how japan isnt really educated on proper hamster care.. seeing their cages and everything.)
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Old 11-15-2021, 11:30 PM   #5
Salem13
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Default Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

It wouldn't hurt them physically but would likely freak them out as others mentioned. However I can see some benefits in some cases.
For example if you have a male dwarf hamster it could be a good idea to get them as comfortable as they can with you looking at their stomachs, which could be them laying on their backs. This is because their scent glands are on their bellies and can get impacted and even infected in some cases. My last male dwarf happened to get an impacted scent gland fairly regularly and my vet told me to regularly clean it for him with a cotton bud dipped in lukewarm salt water. He wasnt necessarily trained to be comfortable on his back but over time didn't freak out as much when I tilted him backwards.
Dwarves as a whole also tend to have more difficulty keeping their nails short and it can be easier to trim them if they're on their back or in a sort of vertical position.
It's also a very good idea to check your hamster over for changes or injury fairly often and the stomach is generally the most difficult to see- hamsters are very squirmy as I'm sure you know. Training them to be less squirmy or be comfortable in the aforementioned vertical position could possibly help you have an easier time.
Finally if you have a hamster that has frequent vet visits it could be useful to get them more comfortable with it too. Generally the vet will be handling them and turn them over while doing so. Though you can also just attempt to get your hamster more comfortable with handling in general, its still helpful if theyre less squirmy when checking specifically the stomach.

So, in essence: attempting to train them would likely freak them out but if you have the time it could be a good idea trying to get them more comfortable with exposing their stomach, whether thats being held in an upright position or on their back depends on the hamsters comfort.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

With those photos and videos you see of hamsters lying on their back in a hand, they're usually being held like that. And they're usually eating, and hamsters will often put up with stuff they don't like such as being stroked while they're eating, because food is more important to them in that moment, but it doesn't mean they enjoy it.
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Old 11-16-2021, 10:48 AM   #7
Ria P
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Post Re: Is it safe to teach a hamster to lay on their back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushi_78 View Post
With those photos and videos you see of hamsters lying on their back in a hand, they're usually being held like that. And they're usually eating, and hamsters will often put up with stuff they don't like such as being stroked while they're eating, because food is more important to them in that moment, but it doesn't mean they enjoy it.
And then there is the question of what did it take to get a hamster to lay on its back eating.
Mine would never do that because they are never that hungry......
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