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Chinese Hamster


All about Chinese hamsters. All in one place.

Chinese Hamster Library

All about Chinese hamsters. All in one place.


Although Chinese hamsters are small, they still deserve to be handled mindfully and with respect. Always handle your Chinese hamster gently and calmly.

A common myth is that Chinese hamsters are difficult to handle. The opposite is true! They are a delight to handle, clinging to your fingers and snuggling in a pocket. However, a Chinese hamster doesn’t tolerate rough or disrespectful handling.

How to Handle a Chinese Hamster

Before touching your hamster, make sure they are awake and aware that you are there.

It is ideal to handle hamsters close to the floor in a playpen or playbox. That way they are safe and contained if they jump. This helps reduce your concern about having to keep hold to prevent injury or escape.

Unless your hamster is very used to you, it is better not to pick them up out of their nest. Wait until they are wandering around the cage.

If you or your hamster is nervous, you can put something into the cage for your hamster to climb into, for example a cardboard tube or a mug. Tempt your hamster in with treats, then transfer them into the playpen or playbox. Let your hamster come out and investigate the area while you speak quietly.

When your hamster has settled, try scooping them up. You can do this by sliding your hands along the floor from either side of the hamster when they are near the side of the box. Don’t chase the hamster around.

If they don’t want to be scooped, you can try letting them walk from the transfer tube or mug onto your hand.

Allow the hamster run from one hand to another. Chinese hamsters like to be cosy so you can also try cupping them briefly in both hands, like a cave.

Keep early sessions short and under 10 minutes. Ensure your Chinese hamster has a break from handling to drink, eat and rest.

Handling Essentials

Always handle your hamster with clean hands

Never make sudden movements or noises

Never squeeze a hamster

Supervised Activities

As well as handling, out of cage time can also include time for your hamster to explore new things in a safe environment. Remember to adjust activities according to your individual hamster’s needs. Some hamsters prefer more enclosed feeling spaces, while others are happy to run in a large area. A hidey hole in their playbox or playpen can help them feel more safe, for example, a bendy bridge made into a tunnel or a mug .

 A playbox can be any deep cardboard or plastic box. There’s a guide to making a playpen here. Activity in the playbox or playpen must always be supervised. Therefore you can provide enrichment toys that would not be suitable for unsupervised use:

Cardboard maze, made from corrugated cardboard

Digging box, made from cardboard or plastic boxes

Agility equipment, such as seesaws, jumps, A frames and swings , can be made from crafting lolly sticks, cardboard and non-toxic glue

Different surfaces, for example carpet, tile and artificial grass



Here’s a video showing some out-of-cage entertainment ideas.

All of them are supervised activities only.

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