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Old 04-27-2021, 11:53 AM   #1
Imogen
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Default Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Hi there!

On the 7th of this month I got a new Syrian hamster that I called Remy. I let him settle into his new bin cage and he seems quite alert and intrigued who/what you are.

For the last 3 days I've been really trying to get him used to being around a human hand, first of all shuffling my hands gently through the enclosure. He comes near to sniff you but after 4 seconds backs up and stays at the other end as far away from you as possible.

He denies all the food/treats I offer with my hand, he sniffs it and walks away. He usually like these treats as well since he will eat them if I back away. I don't want to force him to let me touch him which will scare him and be even more skittish. If I go slow and he comes up to me if I run one of my fingers down his back really gently he like slightly tries to flip over and get away or makes his back arc so he like "crawls" under your finger (doesn't attempt to nip at all) which I've only done once/twice to see how he is with physical touch. Again as stated, won't do it again since I don't want to make him even more scared.

I saw this video from someone called Victoria Raechel which is the method I've tried, gently ruffle your hands through the enclosure, move on to offer a treat with your hand, move on to sitting the treat in your palm and get them to warm up to you that way. But this method does not work whatsoever.

Does anyone else have any other methods?

I'm not sure how old he is since they didn't tell me, I probably should've asked but I guess I was an adult behaving like a little kid because I was so excited to be adding him to my family.

Many thanks x

A picture of Remy, the Skittish Hamster!


His bin cage, it's 709 square inches. Since this photo he has more toys, a sand bath and an even and deeper amount of shavings for digging/burrowing. The life of luxury!

Last edited by Imogen; 04-27-2021 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Another pic of Remy.
Can someone also let me know what his colouring is? Not sure what they call the different hamster colourings!

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Old 04-27-2021, 12:24 PM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

well to me it sounds like you just need to keep doing what you are doing, just maybe less of trying to touch him. Sometimes if you make your hand into a fist rather than show him your fingers that seems to be less scary for them. You could try things that have long stalks so the food is nearer him than your hand is, e.g I give my hammies micro greens such as flax/linseeds which can actually get very long so something like that or the dried version that you may have seen for sale.

To me it sounds a bit soon, but you could keep doing what you are doing and in a while maybe put a few items into a box and try and get him used to your hands. I will link a video for you of what I mean:

Bonding With My Hamster | Cosmic Hamsters - YouTube

I have also found in the past that with shy/skittish hamsters they can sometimes do quite well with bathtub bonding as they get to climb over you in their own time rather than you keep putting your hands in their face - although again from what you said i think this may be a bit too soon, something to work towards maybe:

Bathtub Bonding With My Hamster | Cosmic Hamsters - YouTube

p.s. he looks very cute btw.
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:36 PM   #4
Imogen
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaTheHamster1 View Post
well to me it sounds like you just need to keep doing what you are doing, just maybe less of trying to touch him. Sometimes if you make your hand into a fist rather than show him your fingers that seems to be less scary for them. You could try things that have long stalks so the food is nearer him than your hand is, e.g I give my hammies micro greens such as flax/linseeds which can actually get very long so something like that or the dried version that you may have seen for sale.

To me it sounds a bit soon, but you could keep doing what you are doing and in a while maybe put a few items into a box and try and get him used to your hands. I will link a video for you of what I mean:

Bonding With My Hamster | Cosmic Hamsters - YouTube

I have also found in the past that with shy/skittish hamsters they can sometimes do quite well with bathtub bonding as they get to climb over you in their own time rather than you keep putting your hands in their face - although again from what you said i think this may be a bit too soon, something to work towards maybe:

Bathtub Bonding With My Hamster | Cosmic Hamsters - YouTube

p.s. he looks very cute btw.
Thank you! I've never seen a colouring quite like his before!

With the bonding, the video I watched from an expert hamster owner they said to wait around 3 days and you can start trying to slowly tame them. I put him in the bath once but all he can think about is trying to get out up the slippery slope side. I'll have a look at those videos, I've left him alone for 2 weeks prior to getting him and only just started trying to work with him during the last week or so but nothing looks like it can materialise into anything good. I'll give him another 2 weeks to settle down so he has had pretty much a full month.
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

It can take weeks with some hamsters, but slow and steady will work. Honestly it sounds like you are doing fine, just go at his pace, every hamster is different. With the bathtub, just make sure you have things you can distract him with or just let him climb on you if he is not scared of that.

With my hamster Twinkle I honestly thought it was never going to happen, I was just re-reading the thread I have on him today and I forgot how I could do something with him and then he would shoot back into his house, but then come back out again. It was like his security blanket, things started to go really well about the 6 week mark and he is sooooo tame now.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:03 PM   #6
Ria P
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Cool Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Yes, similar situation here. I rescued a male Syrian when he was a very scared baby and he was so skittish i had little hope of taming him. It took about six weeks and he's a very tame and friendly hamster now.

My method was different because i didn't put my hand in his cage waiting for him to take a treat or go on my hand.

I started by feeding him treats through the bars then stroked him lightly when he was busy eating.
I took him out of his cage and sat in a hamster safe area then let him sniff around on my lap without touching him at first. Eventually moved on to stroking and later picking him up. By keeping him on me as much as possible he became familiar with my smell.
Nowadays he uses me like a climbing frame and runs up my legs and front to get onto the sofa.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:45 PM   #7
Imogen
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaTheHamster1 View Post
It can take weeks with some hamsters, but slow and steady will work. Honestly it sounds like you are doing fine, just go at his pace, every hamster is different. With the bathtub, just make sure you have things you can distract him with or just let him climb on you if he is not scared of that.

With my hamster Twinkle I honestly thought it was never going to happen, I was just re-reading the thread I have on him today and I forgot how I could do something with him and then he would shoot back into his house, but then come back out again. It was like his security blanket, things started to go really well about the 6 week mark and he is sooooo tame now.
I'm so glad Twinkle is tamed! Thank you for giving me a few tips with the bathtub method.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

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Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
Yes, similar situation here. I rescued a male Syrian when he was a very scared baby and he was so skittish i had little hope of taming him. It took about six weeks and he's a very tame and friendly hamster now.

My method was different because i didn't put my hand in his cage waiting for him to take a treat or go on my hand.

I started by feeding him treats through the bars then stroked him lightly when he was busy eating.
I took him out of his cage and sat in a hamster safe area then let him sniff around on my lap without touching him at first. Eventually moved on to stroking and later picking him up. By keeping him on me as much as possible he became familiar with my smell.
Nowadays he uses me like a climbing frame and runs up my legs and front to get onto the sofa.
I'm so relieved to hear I'm not the only one who has been or is in the situation I am in. I've had a hamster before which was outgoing right from the start when I was a kid and I could pick her up no problem. Unfortunately my family gave her away to my brothers friend without asking me after a few months so I never got to learn the full benefits of hamster owning/care. If the bathtub method flops badly I'll try your method out!

I have a question about your method though, how did you managed to get your little hammy back into his enclosure? I'm worried about taking Remy out in case I stress him out trying to catch him if he's running about. I have the biggest room in the house, it's definitely hamster safe but as stated wouldn't want to stress him out trying to put him back in to his home.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Use a jug or a mug - you could always put a treat in it, but they can't normally resist. If you watch those videos I linked to you will see that is what I did. You can always just place your hand over the top gently so he can't escape.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:05 PM   #10
Ria P
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Default Re: Skittish Hamster - Help taming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imogen View Post
I have a question about your method though, how did you managed to get your little hammy back into his enclosure? I'm worried about taking Remy out in case I stress him out trying to catch him if he's running about. I have the biggest room in the house, it's definitely hamster safe but as stated wouldn't want to stress him out trying to put him back in to his home.
Yes, he did leg it a few times and i spent a number of very late nights waiting for him to get hungry enough to walk into something. I'm not saying that my method is a good one but it worked for me and the boys. I put sunflower seeds in a large spare plastic wheel, rattled them and he climbed into it.
An uncluttered and closed off hall is ideal with a blanket and a few toys down or a bathtub but mine didn't like the tub.

Remy looks lovely.

What kind of bin is that? I haven't seen this size before.
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