What to expect with a new hamster?
Bringing a new hamster into your home can be an exciting experience. Unfortunately, many first-time hamster owners are turned off quickly by the hamster’s behavior. This is because most do not know what to expect. They also don’t understand that many of these behaviors are temporary. Taking the time to learn what to expect from a new hamster can help ensure you have a loving, forever relationship with your pet.
Before picking up your new pet, it is important that you have the hamster’s environment ready for them. This means setting up their cage, including furnishing it with toys, food and water, ahead of time so that you can quickly introduce the hamster to their new home. The more prepared you are prior to bringing your hamster home, the easier a time both of you will have during this process.
Consider every aspect of a hamster’s transition from a pet store to your home. They have to be handled by a pet store employee, placed in a container for travel and then travel that distance – all before getting to a new place. Hamsters get easily stressed, and these steps alone are enough to get their nerves on edge.
To minimize stress related to travel, take the easiest and smoothest path directly home from the breeder or store. Don’t make additional stops and do your best to avoid routes or roads that will make the hamster’s container bounce up and down.
What you need to do after they get home makes them feel safe and provided for, even when they seem to want nothing to do with you.
There’s only one thing hamsters don’t fear and that’s other hamsters. While your hamster may be afraid of you at first, hand-training the hamster will end this fear. Hand-training takes time and patience, but will result in a happy relationship. Hand-training involves giving your hamster time to learn your scent through daily interaction.
You never want to pick up your hamster for the first week. Instead, hold your hand in the cage and allow the hamster to smell it. He initially will scurry away to hide, but eventually will come over to investigate. Continue this for 2 to 3 days and your hamster eventually will climb into your hand. Stroke the hamster gently, but never use quick movements, which will scare your hamster and result in needing to start over. Once your hamster has sat in your hand during 2 to 3 days worth of interaction, scoop him up gently and hold him. Regular interaction is essential to keep him trained.
Due to fear, hamsters will bite if you do not take the time to go through the hand-training process. During the first 2 to 3 days, you may want to wear gloves to prevent injury. Once your hamster knows your scent, she will bite only when frightened by quick movements or made anxious.
A common complaint among new hamster owners is noise. When the lights go out, your hamster will turn into a party animal. This means hours and hours of running on his wheel. Unless you have a noiseless wheel, this can become irritating. If the wheel is noisy, try using vegetable oil to quiet it down.
Hamsters are nocturnal. This means that children may be a bit disappointed that the hamster seems to sleep constantly. This isn’t something that can be changed. However, you can learn to modify your schedule to get in a bit of playtime before sending the kids to bed.
Peeing and pooping
New hamsters can pee and poop a lot, especially if they are frightened. The good news is hamster poop comes out in pellet form, which is easy to clean up. Pee is another story. Hamster pee that is not washed from fabric immediately will stain. As your hamster grows, she’ll be able to hold her bowels and bladder for longer periods of time, but in the first few weeks you should expect to get pooped and peed on during the handling process.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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