Hamsters are cute, fluffy, chubby creatures, and it is quite understandable to have the desire to hold it in my palm and give it a stroke. However, there are some essential facts you need to know before you hold a hamster.
I will provide several useful tips on how to hold a hamster in this article.
Do hamsters like to be held?
Unfortunately, the answer is definitely “NO.”There are three main reasons.
- Body Temperature
As is well known, hamsters are extremely sensitive to temperature. Any slight change in the surrounding temperature may lead to severe disease.
Just imagine that when you are holding your fluffy in your palm, its surrounding temperature would be your body temperature. Usually, our skin temperature is about 30-33℃，and the normal body temperature of a hamster is around 36.7℃. You may feel like your fluffy will feel too cold in your hand.
Still, the truth is your palm is lethally hot for him because the appropriate living temperature of a hamster is around 20℃. A long time in a hot environment would lead to physical disorders and trigger serious diseases.
Hamsters are usually shy and cautious animals because they are food for most larger animals in the woods. They prefer to hide in the shelter they are familiar with and seldom come out except for looking for food.
For your hamster, he does not understand the existence of your whole body. In fact, in his perspective, when you stretch your hand to hold him, it indicates a large predator is approaching fast. If you succeed in holding him, it means he gets caught and arouses serious fear.
The fear is born with hamsters for them to survive. The stress will activate their natural instinct under dangerous circumstances, including high heart rate, high alert sensitivity, etc. For pet hamsters, these symptoms may cause lethal cardiac disease.
Hamsters have bad eyesight, but fortunately, they are blessed with an excellent sense of smell, so they usually sniff around to evaluate the security of their surroundings. The odor on our skin is too complicated for a hamster, so they feel unsafe. And for them, the foreign smell will attract dangerous predators, so your holding will cause an extra burden for them to clean their fur thoroughly.
Is occasional holding ok?
It is evident that hamsters dislike humans’ holding for several reasons, but things are always changing. Since our pet hamsters have been fed and bred in artificial circumstances for many generations, they have lost part of their ferity. They can easily establish trust in their owners. Therefore, holding your fluffy is not an unrealizable dream. Still, you need to know how often and how long to hold him are appropriate.
How often to hold your hamster?
One time a day is an upper limit for most hamsters. But there is a difference between individuals because they have different characters. Once your hamster behaves in stereotype like constantly digging or biting the cage wire, stop all kinds of intimate activities, including holding and giving a stroke immediately. Leave him alone for more than one week to acclimate.
How long to hold your hamster?
This varies from hamster to hamster. The basic criteria are that, once your fluffy shows anxiety and will to escape, let him go.
How to hold your hamster?
1. Prepare yourself
Since the odor plays an important role in our fluffy to navigate his environment, we should wash our hands thoroughly before holding them. Do not use soap or hand sanitizer with a strong scent. In fact, washing under flowing water is enough. You should also make sure the whole surrounding environment is relatively quiet without sudden noise that may terrify your fluffy
2. Prepare your fluffy
Before trying to hold your fluffy, make sure he is in a rather relaxed and comfortable state. Never wake up your fluffy from his sweet dream.
- It is unwise to hold an unfamiliar hamster. Your odor is totally unacquainted with him, so that the hamster will be highly alert to defense. You may get bitten, and the hamster may have cardiac disease.
- Even when trying to hold your own hamster, the first step is always fully acclimating him to you. Talk gently with him as usual and slowly put your hand into his cage. Hold your hand still until your hamster shows no horror or fear and behaves normal.
3. Right Posture
- When you take your fluffy out of the cage, cup him with your palm and move him as slowly as possible. A full cup can make him feel secure so that he can rest comfortably in your palm. It can also prevent potential escape.
If your fluffy refuse to walk into your palm, try a food spoon, a scoop, or a cup. Anything that can contain him with a smooth edge is ok. Using a container at first will also protect you from a possible bite. When your fluffy gets familiar to be held, you can use your bare hands to lift him.
- Once the hamster is out of the cage, you will need to always keep an eye on him. The perfect choice is to put him between your lap or near to your chest so that it can get familiar with your odor without any possible escape. Always remember that never put him high up away from the ground.
Hamsters have bad eyesight, and the arrangement of our house is just too complicated for him. When he moves around on a high platform, he is very likely to fall down, and falling is extremely lethal to hamsters. 30cm is the upper limit for them.
- When he shows a strong will to escape or hide him in a corner, it is time to put him back in his cage. Use the same gesture of getting him out, and the whole process should be as gentle and slow. Never use a single hand to grab his back or legs or use two fingers to scruff him.
These postures may cause injuries in their bones and spines, while also largely increasing their psychological pressure because they feel like getting caught by predators.
Above is all you need to know before holding a hamster. Follow the instructions and try several times, I am confident that you will love your chubby hamster even more.