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brand new hamsters--how to tame them, and other issues





TurtleShell
Ok, so we ended up with these hamsters that we never meant to have. My partner's a grade school teacher...these things happen.

They're dwarf hamsters. Russian...Campbell...I'm not sure which. There are two boys and three girls. We didn't want them to breed, so we separated them into different cages as soon as we figured out their genders. The boys are sweet. One of them already lets me hold him. THe other male is smaller and even though he nips me a little, I can barely feel it.

THe girls...they're a different story. One of them is crazy aggressive. When I stick my hand in their cage, she bites me regardless of what I'm doing. If she feels like biting, she bites me. She was also terrorizing one of the other females, who I think is now injured as a result. I don't have another cage to put her (the injured female) in, but I've poked a hole in a giant tupperware and I've got her in there for the time being. I'll buy her a small cage tomorrow.

So now in a matter of three days, I've gone from being hamsterless to having three cages of hamsters, and one of them is super mean to me.

I'd like to tame them, but (I recognize this makes me a complete wimp) I don't like it when they bite me. Especially when the mean one bites me because she does it hard. I'm looking for a way to gain their trust. I've tried feeding them broccoli and making cooing noises and petting them a little. What else should I do? Will I ever be able to get the mean girl to not bite me?

And, my other question: is it safe to leave the mean girl in the cage with the other hamster, the one she hasn't injured? She doesn't seem to be fighting now that I've got the injured hamster out of her way.
jwellsy
When I read the title of the thread even before reading the OP I was going to say get rid of the females. In all the little rodent type pets the females are usually nasty.

Most pet shops don't even carry females. Too much insurance liability and bad PR if little Jonny and Sally keep getting bit in a shop full of customers.

If you are going to breed them, don't breed agressive females. Try to breed out agression.

If you're not going to breed them, get rid of the females.
bonestorm74
Lol who would have thought that hamsters could be such a nuisance. They always look so cute and cuddly and easy to get along with. Good luck with it anyway.
Crinoid
I had only male hamsters, but rats and mice (different varieties) of both sexes, with no particular problems, so my opinion below is quite a guess:

1. I would keep the aggressor and victim in separate cages, placed far apart, where they couldn't see, hear or smell each other.

2. The mean one: hard to say why she is mean. It could be aggression to own kind, fight for the place in hierarchy of territory.

Biting the keeper: it could also be that she has a bad life experience with humans, like pets from animal shelter. It sometimes takes months for them to became more sure in a good will of the keeper. I would not invade her personal space with hands, use tools. May be she starts to recognize your smell (after a very long time, be ready for this) and connect it with positive stimuli. Try to make her life worth of living. If it become difficult - try to find her another home, but this may be difficult.
Insanity
My advice would be to definitely watch out for the aggressive ones and separate them. My friend once had a pair of hamsters that seemed cute and cuddly, and they mated with each other, but afterwards they got so aggressive that they pretty much mauled each other to death. She made the mistake of not separating them until it was too late. After a week, most of the children were either bitten to death by each other or their parents.

Ugh, not pretty.
mk12327
I did a search on "hamsters" and came across this post. Not sure if it is still relevant to post here since the last update is like a year ago but I didn't want to create a new post that is asking somewhat the same thing.

A few months back my elder sister bought a pair of dwarf hamsters and put them in the same cage. Both as born from the same parents thus they are actually siblings. However, we soon found that one of them is very agressive - to us humans and the other hamster. The more agressive hamster (Hamster A) even went to the extent of biting the mild one (Hamster M) till it bleed. We had no choice but to separate Hamster A and Hamster M so as to prevent further injuries.

I would like to ask is whether agression is in-born or developed by environment. And either way, is it possible to reduce or even erradicate agression in a hamster that is already agressive?
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