How To Stop A Hamster From Biting

Use these easy tips to train your hamster to stop biting

Q: My hamster keeps biting me for no reason. My brother gave him to me because my brother didn't want him anymore. When he began to bite me, I started to put on gloves because I looked up online how to have a hamster not to bite and it said to use gloves because it might be your scent. All of the sudden he started biting me with the gloves on and they were clean. Also I was holding him correctly. How do I get my hamster to stop biting me? Please help. I've tried everything!

A: You didn’t specify whether your hamster is a dwarf or Syrian, and that does make some difference. Dwarves are slightly more inclined to bite than Syrians, at least at first, perhaps because they are simply smaller and more defenseless than the heftier, faster Syrian. There’s more about the specific behavior of dwarf variety hamsters further on. But what you need to know is that hamsters don’t have to be biters. You can help them break the habit.

It’s important to understand that biting doesn’t necessarily mean your hamster is aggressive. The fact is, the hamster’s jaw is much stronger and more dexterous than his short, rather weak and uncoordinated forepaws. A hamster can build an entire home with that jaw! So if something is in a hamster’s way, or just looks like it might be bothersome for some reason, it is more likely he will grab it and move it aside with his jaws than with his paws. It comes down to physique.

Beyond that, habit takes over. The hamster may have learned to see human interference as some sort of obstacle or hassle, and responds immediately by, very effectively, "making it go away” using his teeth. Putting on a glove is of no help because, frankly, glove and skin are the same thing to a hamster, but gloves may seem more frightening. The hamster won’t learn anything from the presence of a glove.

Scent is, indeed, something any hamster is acutely aware of, but it’s only likely to lead to a bite if you smell like food, or perhaps another hamster. That’s why it’s critically important to always wash your hands with scent-free soap before handling a hamster. At the same time, you actually want your hamster to recognize your ordinary, natural "people scent,” because you want him to know you won’t hurt him and that he need not be concerned for his safety.

So what you’ve got to do is get your hamster used to that scent, and to being around you. It’ll take five to fifteen minutes per session, and you’ve got to practice this at least once a day until you break the biting cycle: Put your hamster on a big, flat surface. A bed or couch is perfect for this because it bears your scent strongly (hamsters are extremely sensitive to smells — their olfactory sense is far, far stronger than any other). Let the hamster wander freely, but every now and then block his movement with the back of your hand. There are two reasons for this. First, hamsters instinctively dread being grabbed. They’ve got an inborn image of teeth and talons, and our fingers are not that greatly different. Second, you don’t want to give your hamster any kind of "edge” to pick at. The back of your hand or your wrist are a large, broad, flat-ish surface. There’s nothing to grab onto, and nothing to bite, and there’s nothing to suggest to your hamster he’s going to be grabbed.

If the hamster seems a little inclined to bite, very gently, calmly, and softly blow in the direction of his face. He won’t especially like this, but if you do it gently he won’t take it too hard, and it’ll distract him from any biting impulse. It’s a gentle method of discipline that really works. (Never be aggressive or forceful with a hamster — never yell, and never, ever strike a hamster. They don’t "get” that they did anything wrong, and they just think you’re trying to attack. That’s the surest way to make them respond aggressively.)

Patience is the key to this technique, and eventually you should be able to sit on the couch or bed with your hamster and have him travel around and over you out of sheer curiosity and playfulness, with no impulse to bite or react to you in any particular way.

Of course, you may be having trouble simply removing your hamster from his home to put him on the bed. A number of techniques can help, but one simple tool that you may find does the trick is a "scoop” made out of a 2 liter soft drink bottle. Remove the label, wash the bottle, and trim off the bottom so that it is mostly an open scoop shape. It may take several tries to get the shape just right. The cut plastic can have sharp edges, so cut it along round lines to eliminate sharp corners. There’s no need to sand or treat the edges, but do exercise caution when using it. When you hold your hand beneath this "scoop” the plastic quickly warms to the touch. When you place it before your hamster he will see your hand, feel its warmth, but there will be no direct contact, and no edges (fingers) to pick at. Don’t attempt to literally scoop the hamster, but hold your hand and the scoop still, beneath and in front of the pet. Curiosity will likely bring the hamster inside it in short order. You can hold him in this scoop for some time to acclimate him to being held without consequence.

As mentioned previously, dwarf hamsters have particular behavioral tendencies that are worth noting. Even more than typical Syrians they can be extremely territorial about their habitat. Extending a scoop of some kind instead of hands to lift them out may be all it takes to restore their sense of order in the world. The most territorial of dwarf hamsters charge the cage bars or door when you approach, or dart to attack hands reaching in. For these hamsters, their stress can be greatly lessened by keeping your hands out of their homes while the hamster is in it.

Of course it’s important to remember to be sensitive to any hamster’s overall sense of well-being. Never "sneak up” on him. Always show your hand to him from the front, while speaking to him gently. Let him awaken fully before trying to hold him, and don’t disturb him when he’s eating, or fixing his nest. Hamsters are naturally curious. Let that work to your advantage. And again, we cannot emphasize this enough: Patience, patience, patience. It will take a while for your hamster to "unlearn” biting behavior, but once it happens, you need never worry about it again. Good luck!

-Martha Boden


Essential Home Appliances

Living with pets with fur requires you to clean the home more frequently. I usually sweep every few days and vacuum every weekend.

Below are some home appliances that may help those who are more sensitive to fur.

218480 - ATMOSPHERE™ Air Purifier (EPP)
New approaches to filtration, efficiency, quiet operation and air monitoring – no other air purifier in the market today has the balance of technology and features of the ATMOSPHERE™ Air Purifier.​
The Power to Transform Your Environment is Here.New approaches to filtration, efficiency, quiet operation and air monitoring – no other air purifier in the market today has the balance of technology and features of the ATMOSPHERE™ Air Purifier.
The expansive, 99.99% effective CLARUS™ filtration system
The CLARUS filtration system features an activated carbon filter with a surface area large enough to cover 226 football fields or over 17 million square feet. This abundant capacity in addition to the HEPA filter eliminates 99.99% of all airborne contaminants that are drawn into the system, effectively removing pollen, bacteria, dust mites, viruses, smoke, and impurities as small as 0.009 microns.
The whisper-quiet efficiency of PUREFLOW™
Quiet operation is as important to the comfort of your home as clean air. The ATMOSPHERE Air Purifier offers you both with the unique PUREFLOW system, which eliminates excessive fan noise by operating only when it is needed. It also reduces energy costs by drawing as little as 4 watts of power – a feature which earns the ATMOSPHERE the ENERGY STAR® rating.
The automatic monitoring and protection capabilities of Intelli-Sense
The Intelli-Sense technology makes use of a built-in Particle Sensor to provide an automatic onetouch mode that monitors and protects the quality of your home environment – even when you’re not there. The particle sensor enables the ATMOSPHERE to adjust its speed according to changing air conditions, thus giving you cleaner air in the shortest time.
The ATMOSPHERE Air Purifier also automatically monitors the condition of all three filters, and alerts you when they need replacements or cleaning in the case of the Pre-Filter. The monitor calculates filter life based on a combination of operating hours, speed of operation, and levels of contamination.
The fast-acting performance of Turbo Power
When you want clean air in a hurry, turn on Turbo Power. With a CADR* (Clean Air Deliver Rate) of 250 cubic feet per minute (7.1 m³/min), it is able to clear the air in a 390-square-foot room within approximately 30 minutes.

Price: RM5,300
3110 - Sunshinne Water Filtration Vacuum Cleaner

Sunshinne Water Filtration Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuums and cleans floor, carpet, curtain, window, sofa and mattress to eliminate dust and dirt.
Worldwide patented Eco-active water filtration system.
Multi-stage filtration system.
4-speed motor with electronic controls for easy operation.
Comes with multiple accessories to perform a wide range of functions.
Multi-brush for sofa & upholstery.
Adjustable carpet/floor brush.
European type air turbo rotating brush for mattress.
Water squeezee for glass & wet surfaces.
HEPA filter outlet.
Remote speed control on handle.
4-level electronic speed control.
Wet/dry cleaning function.
Water load for vacuum: 1.5L
Water suction capacity: 3L
Vacuum measurement: 50 (L) x 39 (H) x 30 (W) cm
Vacuum weight: 7kg
Warranty: One (1) year warranty against manufacturing defects. This appliance is strictly for HOUSEHOLD USE only.

Price: RM990


Are Rabbits Right for You?

Before deciding on a rabbit as a pet, ask yourself some questions, such as: What do I want from a pet? Can I afford it? Should I get one or two rabbits? Will a rabbit get on with other pets?

Before deciding on a rabbit as a pet, it might be helpful to ask yourself these questions:-

What do I want from a pet?

Rabbits can be very affectionate and interactive but this is dependent on how comfortable and safe they feel in their environment.  They are prey creatures who scare easily and need gentle handling.  They love routine, dislike change and do not travel well.  However, a rabbit that feels secure and whose needs are respected will be a wonderful companion - playful, bossy, demanding, mischievous and, above all, loving.

Will a rabbit fit in with my lifestyle?

A rabbit's key needs are companionship and exercise.  They are most active at dawn and dusk and therefore fit well with people who work through the day and are able to spend time with their rabbit in the morning and evenings.  As they do not make noise like a cat or dog they are very good indoor pets for people living in close proximity to their neighbours.

Can I afford it?

Rabbits are not particularly cheap pets. The initial cost of buying a rabbit and providing housing for it can be up to £300. Rabbits must be vaccinated twice a year against myxomatosis and yearly against VHD, costing around £20 to £30 per vaccination and it is strongly recommended that rabbits are neutered or spayed, like a cat or dog, to reduce behavioural problems and prevent cancer, costing around £60 for neutering and £90 for spaying.

Should I get one or two rabbits?

Rabbits need almost constant companionship. The best way to provide this is to keep two rabbits together. If you can only keep one rabbit due to cost or space restraints, you should spend as much time as possible every day with the rabbit; this is much easier if you have a house rabbit rather than a hutch rabbit.  Your rabbit will relish the attention you give it as you are the provider of food, shelter and affection but for true companionship nothing beats another rabbit.

Should I get a rabbit for my child?

Rabbits are traditionally seen as a children's pet but in fact are not an ideal pet for a young child.  They require a certain amount of looking after in terms of cleaning the cage etc and children naturally often get bored with this.  They need to be handled gently so are not good for "rough and tumble".  Put simply - a young child's boisterous and noisy nature is not a good fit with a rabbit's natural fear of loud noises and sudden movements.  However, if you are happy to take responsibility for the care of the rabbit and are able to spend some time introducing your child to a rabbit and explaining their needs, children and rabbits will co-exist very happily.

Will a rabbit get on with my other pets?

Rabbits are often kept with guineapigs but this is not ideal as the guineapig will usually end up being bullied by the rabbit.

Rabbits can become friends with cats and dogs if the introductions are carried out properly and the cat or dog is not of an aggressive nature.  However, nature dictates that cats and dogs are predators and rabbits are prey, therefore no relationship is ever entirely safe.  At all times the rabbit should have somewhere to retreat to where the cat or dog cannot go.