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Handling Robo Dwarf Hamsters

Discussion in 'Small Animal Chat' started by Bubsandboo, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Bubsandboo

    Bubsandboo PetForums Newbie

    Jul 5, 2019
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    I have two Robos names Bubs and Boo. We've had them now just short of a month. We had a bit of biting at first but that was to be expected - I think we also didn't give them enough time to get used to their surroundings as we were so excited about having new pets.

    To do any one-to-one handling work, I tend to put them in their balls around 9pm (time varies) and let them run around for aprox 15 minutes to waste some energy. Then I put a blanket on the bathroom floor and close the door (we don't have a bath - just a shower so we can't use the bath). We take a travel cage with bedding in from their normal cage so they can smell home and a dish with food in.

    Boo has never been particularly interested in treats as a reward system, she's jumped straight into handling with much more ease than expected. She will jump out of her travel cage into my hand and either walk over my hands or even sit in my cupped hands for a prolonged period of time. When I let her roam on the blanket/floor she takes it quite easy, will stretch out and lie down so I know she is comfortable and trusting of me.

    Now Bubs is very skittish, there has been progress - she will now sit in my hand for 3-4 seconds before making a break for it - sometimes completely diving off of my hand. I always sit on the floor with them so it isn't a big deal but I still feel awful if she falls!

    Whenever bubs is on the floor she runs around very quickly and always seems to be looking for an escape unlike her sister.

    Both their ears stay up which I've seen online means they curious or comfortable. Does anyone know anything about hamster body language??

    Both were biting at first but this has since stopped so I know we are making progressing and I am not disputing that for a second but it's hard to know that what I'm doing for one of my hamsters isn't working for another so I'm not sure what to change.

    Neither particularly like when I put my hand in cage either from the top or the side but Bubs will absolutely dart off whereas Boo *sometimes* will back off before moving a bit closer again to sniff my hand but will never climb on to it despite being comfortable with me handling her out of the cage.

    Any tips?
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    No tips, but will follow this thread and enjoy learning about the various ways to handle hamsters and help them feel safe!

    I will say that you sound very in tune to caring for animals in general, understanding that every one will have her individual needs.
    noushka05 and Bubsandboo like this.
  3. noushka05

    noushka05 Unicorn denier. Snowflake. Activist ;)

    Mar 28, 2008
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    Bubsandboo likes this.
  4. Engel98

    Engel98 PetForums Senior

    Oct 7, 2018
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    YouTube was my greatest resource. I got my roborovski, Niko, a little under 3 weeks ago. This is my first robo and only 2nd hamster (I had a Syrian when I was 7).

    Here's what I found helped with Niko. Note I only have 1 so I can do 1-2-1 with him so I don't know if that helped me at all. Also, hamsters like people are individuals, they have their own likes and dislikes. Some don't mind being handled others rather be left to hamster. Doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong, just may be the way things are.

    What I did with Niko is I completely left him alone for about 4 days. Some require longer but Niko is rather inquisitive and would often come to me when I spoke to him or refilled the bowl. After the 'settling in' period I just stuck my hand in the cage and rested in on the ground and left it there for about 5-10 mins initially. If he came up to me it'd be great but if he didn't that was ok too. I did it all on his terms really. Some don't like the hand in their environment so some get like a smallish storage tub, put in their wheel, food and whatever else and put their hand in then. The box needs to be big enough for them to get away if they want but small enough so that they are still close to your hand.

    Tip: every animal on earth has a fave food. Niko will sell his soul for some pumpkin seeds. Find something that your guys like and go from there. When I had rats, a lot of people used a little bit of yogurt on their hand to get them to come to them, but not sure how that'd work with hams.

    Just a few more things that you probably know. Hamsters are prey animals. When faced with danger they will chose flight over fight unless trapped, so don't trap your ham while trying to pick him up. Also, scoop them up from below as it's far less threatening than being grabbed from above. (I spoke to someone when I got Niko and they told me to pick him up from above. Bare in mind, he was never handled until he came to me).

    But my most important tip, patience is key. Take your time, it's not a race. Some never become handleable because they are too fearful or just don't like it. Roborovskis are known to be skittish and difficult to tame. They are more for watching than handling apparently so keep that in mind too.

    Patience, food and calmness. As soon as you break through the initial barrier, the easier it becomes.

    Can we have updates and pics of these lil guys? I'm sure you and they will be just fine
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