The first thing you will notice is their speed. Those short little legs can move. As you read in ‘The Roborovski‘, they have developed this as a response to predation. When it comes to fight or flee, your robo will flee everytime.
It’s very important that you understand that this response is natural to your hamster. No matter how well bonded your hamster is to you, it’s first reflex to a hand appearing over it’s head will be to run. You will find that, after picking them up, your hamster will relax and may even take treats from you or groom themselves in your hand. Because of this initial response to a perceived threat, robos should always be handled over a container in case they run when you aren’t expecting it
Roborovski are often described as ‘look don’t touch’ animals. Whilst you can adopt this attitude (especially if you have a natural set up and wish to just observe your pets) it’s not helpful if you do need to handle your pet for things like vet visits or health checks. Or even at clean out.
My preferred method of handling is to be firm but gentle. As if you have a new puppy that needs to learn that nothing is wrong and you’ve got a handle on things. Be prepared to chase your hamster a little. Use a two handed ‘scoop’ to herd your hamster into your hands and keep it cupped firmly between your hands rather than squeezing it.
Allow your hamster to run over your hands and, once it’s initial burst of adrenalin has passed, it will slow and start to look at it’s surroundings. If your hamster is new, or hasn’t had much socialisation before, it may take a few handling sessions to achieve this. Keep sessions short and positive, feeding your hamster after you put it down can help it learn that your presence is a happy event.
Robos rarely nip. Most new owners I see are more concerned with the speed of their pet and this makes them nervous. Try to remember that your pet is more afraid of you and needs your reassurance.