how to handle an apprehensive hamster

How To Handle An Apprehensive Hamster

Picking up a hamster is not the easiest thing to do at the best of times.

As animals they do not take kindly to being touched if they are  not familiar with you.

Especially if you haven’t built a relationship where they feel that they can trust you to pick them up.

There are many reasons why you would want to pick a hamster up.

  • To start building relationship with them.
  • To move them out of the cage.
  • To show of them off to a friend maybe?

Biting, not good!

Having a hamster in your hands or scurrying up onto your shoulder when you are watching tv is a nice thing to happen as a hamster owner.

But having them bite you puts an end to that and can quickly build distrust between you and the hamster.

This is especially the case, if it ends up drawing blood and wounding you.

So how do you handle a hamster without them struggling

Especially if they are within your grasp and biting you or even suddenly lashing out at you?

Having a new hamster means giving them time to adjust to their new surroundings and especially their new owner.

They don’t know you either to smell or to listen to.

They will be scared and apprehensive.

Any attempt to pick them up will be met with them scurrying to the nearest safe corner of the cage or their hidey home.

So it will take time to build trust with your hammy.

But some patience on your behalf will pay dividends as well as time invested spending with them.

The more they hear your voice, smell your scent and most importantly receive food from you will make them realize that you are someone that they can trust.

Putting food in their cage and letting them eat off your hand is an important way that you can build up trust between you and your hammy.

They get to smell your skin and see that you are a friendly soul that gives them what they are looking for.

If you can do this on a daily basis as often as you can, the quicker you can start to build up that trust.

The more you can touch them gently in this manner, the more trust that have in you.

Then when you start to attempt to pick them up it becomes easier to do so.

Because they know you better, they know who is picking them up .

As much as they let you, gently stoke the with with your finger very lightly to help them get to know your touch as well.

This is very helpful for them and helps you get to know what kind of touch that they will tolerate from you as well.

To attempt to pick them up start by cupping your hand palm side on and then scoop the up underneath their body.

This method means that your hamster will feel more secure and supported underneath their body.


So here goes…

Move gently and slowly being careful not to startle them.

Don’t try and be forceful.

If they don’t want to move into your hand and evade it.

Don’t chase them.

Try again later.

Don’t try and grab your hammy from the top or pinch their fur so as to hurt them.

They will let you know about it by squealing out in pain.

Return to the scooping method when you feel the time is right and in between keep feeding food to them out of your hand.

Once you are able to scoop them up, clasp them gently giving them room to breathe and move around in your hands.

You may not have much time with them before they try and make an escape.

So let them move around and then return them to the cage.

Try and do this on a daily basis and prolong the time you have with them increasing it daily.


If you do this gradually and patiently you’ll see the benefits of doing this overtime.

Your hamster will want to jump into your hand and enjoy spending time with you.

This is because they know you are going to treat them well and not do them any harm.

They will bite you if they feel threatened in any way and do this in defense.

But hopefully this will not happen because they will have learnt to trust you.

The only other time when then may bite you is if the accidentally mistake your finger for food.

But this only tends to happen at the start of a relationship when a hamster does not know your scent.

Especially if they think your fingers are food.