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Bio-polar Hamster

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Bio-polar Hamster

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Maleficent » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:46 pm


Anyone have any tips for a bi-polar russian hamster? I have resigned myself to the fact that she will be one of those ones you can never really hold without doing the guessing game. I mainly got her because at the job where I use to work she would have been put down as she was not able to be placed into a pet home. She and I have a good relationship going, I feed and clean her cage when needed while she runs in her ball and she gets to hang out in said clean cage without being disturbed except by a curious kitten that watches her. Its a large cage too, three stories with plenty of room to run around all she likes. I was just wondering if there was anything I could do to bring her around and be less... psycho XD

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Re: Bio-polar Hamster

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nyctra » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:50 pm


Dunno why it wouldn't work the same on hamsters, but I learned NOT to feed snappy rats & mice by hand, and not to handle them while my hands smelled even slightly of food. Some were just plain aggressive, but getting them used to taking food from the hand made being bitten twice as likely. :evil: Teaching my excessively aggressive mouse that I took him from his enclosure to the treats helped train him out of snapping at me...I still couldn't pick him up (he had to climb into my hand on his own) but he learned not to just outright bite me any chance he had.
I also learned to test mouse/rat temperament first by letting them sniff something that smelled heavily of me, like my sweater sleeve, to see if they'd lunge or if they were in a good mood that day. If questionable, I didn't handle them without gloves.
Trying to give those animals a chance put me at risk of a hospital visit, though. Eventually I accepted it was safer to put them down than to try to rehabilitate them. :(

Just a thought...but getting her used to your scent up close might help, so it's less intrusive and threatening when you do hold her. Maybe keep tissue paper in your shirt or pocket for a few hours, and give that to her to tear up as a daily thing.

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Re: Bio-polar Hamster

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Maleficent » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:34 am


Oh I understand that not every animal can be rehabilitated, and I was even prepared for the fact that she may never end up being friendly. Wouldn't be the first hamster I owned that seemed to hate me for no real reason! XD

I mainly got her as she was one of those ones that had ended up in a home was returned because she bit at least once or twice which I think fed into her bi-polarness. I just wanted to give her a stable home where she could do her thing and not be bounced around. :)

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Re: Bio-polar Hamster

Post Number:#4  Unread postby akane » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am


Feeding by hand works great for gerbils and hamsters normally. It's an ideal way to make the tamest young usually and they quickly realize skin gets you no food even if it smells like food so most (not all) even begin to watch for food smelling hands versus food containing hands. Of course it's never smart to hand mix the food and then go play with the rodents but it's not a death sentence with any of mine. I don't place hamsters very high but they still have some basic learning ability. Hamsters don't usually bite out of food alone and many that do bite will pass by food to go for skin specifically. They've already got poor handling or a poor temperament. Either way they truly can just hate people. Especially once they are mature I've found it's best to just get out the gloves. I've tried and if you are lacking both genetics and positive early handling they are forever violent bastards that no amount of time retrains. There's 2 places I would buy winter whites or robos from if I wanted hamsters again and that's it. The rest within range are too contaminated with poor genetics to risk it. Gerbils are also often so-so but usually even less than stellar genetics can be mostly overcome by removing them from the cage to a playpen daily and feeding treats if started young enough. Removing to another location is key because rodents become aggressive to things reaching in their cage easily. Older gerbils may still never rehabilitate and generally even if you tame formerly aggressive gerbils or hamsters poor genetics results in increased breeding difficulties with neurotic or neglectful mothers and pups damaged by both nature and nurture to overcome in yet another generation. Reason I don't have hamsters anymore and went 4hrs for my current gerbils (twice so I could get more breeding stock). Various local populations of the very small species have just lost all good genetics for temperament and recovery without outside stock is not worth the effort.
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