Syrian hamsters are frequently referred to as golden or teddy bear hamsters, and are the most popular pet hamster. They have large cheek pouches in which they store food and broad, round, bearlike ears. These animals are prey in the wild, which makes them naturally skittish. They are also solitary animals in the wild and will fight with other hamsters, which makes it more difficult to bond with them than with other species of hamsters. With proper handling and socialisation, these rodents can bond with their human caretakers.
Give your hamster a few days to adjust when you first bring it home. Because Syrian hamsters are prey animals in the wild, they are frightened by loud noises and changes in environment. Your new pet needs time to begin thinking of its cage as a safe home, so avoid trying to handle it for the first three or four days.
Feed your hamster a treat every time you approach its cage. This helps your hamster begin to associate you with food, which limits fear. You should also put food in your hamster's bowl by using your hands instead of removing the bowl and pouring food into it.
Place a treat in your hand and put your hand in the hamster's cage. Wait for your hamster to approach and take the treat, but do not pick your hamster up. Repeat this several times each day for a week. After this, begin touching your hamster's fur with your fingers when it approaches your hand to take the treat.
Follow the second step and when your hamster steps into your hand, gently lift your hamster out of its cage. Give it another treat after removing it from its cage. Continue doing this several times every day.
- Animal Lover's Web: Syrian Hamsters
- "The Hamster Handbook"; Patricia Bartlett; 2003
- "Hamsters for Dummies"; Sarah Montague; 2007
- Always give your hamster a treat when you hold it.
- Avoid making sudden movements when holding your hamster, and always allow your hamster to walk into your hand instead of simply picking your hamster up.
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