I brought home my second hamster on May 27th, 2021. I then gave him 3 nights to settle into his new home before his taming began. This post will be documenting Stuart’s taming process and progress from May 30th to June 15th, 2021.
Prior to Stew’s taming I made sure to have plenty of healthy treats and a playpen ready. I used Victoria Raechel’s method of creating a playpen. My playpen is 11 inches tall and about 3 x 4 feet wide, so I can sit in the pen with Stew to practice holding him without risk of him escaping.
Stew will not be free roaming. He is extremely little, and I am not comfortable free roaming him.
I also have been collecting a variety of snacks to entice him with, such as unsweetened coconut, oats (rolled and whole), safe cat kibble, raisins, quinoa, and flax seed. I recommend having a variety of treats just in case your hamster doesn’t like some of them.
I also watched some videos about hamster taming to refresh my memory (and because they’re hamster videos; why not watch them?). With a playpen, treats, and knowledge, I was ready to begin this quest to tame my new hamster.
Stew’s taming began on May 30th, 2021, after he’d settled in. At the shop where I purchased Stuart, he seemed quite friendly and curious, so I wasn’t expecting his taming to take more than 2 months max (of course, taming time varies from hamster to hamster).
Stuart awoke around 11 that evening, and I made a mix of goodies (flax, unsweetened coconut, and quinoa) so in theory he’d like at least one thing in the mix. I poured it into my hand, and offered it to Stuart.
He crept forward, sniffing intently.
He snatched some food, and just sat there eating, using my hand as a table. It didn’t take much prompting to get him to hop up and eat in my hand.
My mind was blown; this is a Roborovski, already taming quicker than my past Syrian, Beanie. Robos have a reputation for being skittish and difficult to tame, and there was Stuart, contentedly sitting in my hand grooming himself.
He was also pretty comfortable with me moving my hand around with him on it, so long as I stayed low over his cage.
A couple times he actually laid down for a rest, slightly curled up but with his eyes and ears alert (pancake-mode). He stayed on my hand for 20 minutes, and since it was getting pretty late, I gently tipped him off so I could get to bed. He really didn’t want to leave! Stew went off to his wheel as if nothing had happened.
The next day I did another taming session in his cage, with him nibbling some snacks in my hand. He seemed a bit more wary, so I didn’t push for him to stay.
On the third day of taming Stew was doing extremely well; not just for a Roborovski, but for a hamster in general! He seemed pretty comfortable with being held, so I decided to do some playpen bonding.
After coaxing Stew onto my hand, I carefully transported him to the pen.
I sat down with him, and he seemed to enjoy climbing around my hands and arms. He was definitely making progress!
The next couple days were just steady progress and learning more about Stew. Stew, like most Roborovskis, doesn’t seem to enjoy being out of his cage very much. More progress is made when I let him climb onto my hands in the cage, where he enjoys his favorite snack so far: flax seed.
Stew’s been making steady progress, and on Sunday, June 12th, he let me pet him for the first time! The day before he wouldn’t consider being petted and the next day, boom, perfectly okay with it. Such confidence.
Stuart has made amazing progress in his taming, and in only 16 taming days/sessions, I consider him tame. However he is still not super comfortable being petted, and he tends to nibble my fingers, so there is still progress to be made.
The nipping seems to be more of a curious taste than a vicious attempt at biting. I do want to figure out how to discourage this habit, but he hasn’t drawn any blood, so I’m not super concerned.
Stuart has not been held by anyone else yet, as his speed and small size are quite intimidating when it comes to safely handling him. When introducing people to holding Stew for the first time, I will make sure they keep him low over the cage until adjusted to Stew’s small size, light weight, and quick movements.
Updates and Conclusion
Since Stuart is doing so well in his taming, I see no need to create another dedicated taming post. I will provide little updates concerning his taming progress in future Stew-related posts.
Speaking of future posts, I have some cool post ideas coming up! I plan to be posting Stew’s new personalized cage setup, a post dedicated to his personality and traits, and a few posts organizing his supplies and toys (my collection has been growing).
I will begin mixing in new DIYs and educational posts, so we’ll be back to the usual mix of post subjects. If you’re interested in hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!