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How to deal with sharp claws?


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#1 Taxonomist

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:02 AM

I've been making some progress in taming Popcorn. She's crawling all over me now, which is great. :propeller:

...except that I am covered in tiny scratches from her claws. I'm not talking 1 or 2...I get about 8 - 10 new ones every time I handle her. She doesn't break the skin, and I don't bleed. They're the kind of scratches that are invisible at first, but after a while they turn a very obvious shade of red. In addition to her claws being prickly and a bit uncomfortable, I'm afraid that the sheer number of scratches is going to start to raise awkward questions from my friends and family.

Has anyone else had this experience? Is there anything I can give her to help her file her claws down (like one of those chinchilla perch things)? I know hamsters are supposed to nibble their claws to trim them. Hers don't look terribly long...they're just sharp.

My hands and arms thank you for any help!




#2 emilystar

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:15 AM

Do you have a rough tile or stone you can put under her water bottle? Since hamsters visit their water bottle pretty often it wears them down some. I have done this with Poptart and no scratches :)

#3 Jolty

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:56 AM

I agree with the rough rock idea. That's what I do for my hamsters, and it seems to work pretty well.

#4 Anastasia♥

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:08 AM

When my cousin got his hamster, she had really sharp claws. They were overgrown because at the pet store there was nothing to file them down.
We first tried a nail file (she was very tame) which didn't work very well. So we took a big cardboard box (this big box was about 3 feet long, people) and bought some sandpaper. It was the finest one we could find, with no grains visible. We also washed off some rock slabs, baked them, cooled them, and put them in so in case the sandpaper hurt she could sit on the rocks.
Well, it worked wonderfully. If your local hardware store has a sandpaper sale, buy the finest stuff you can find!
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202241227/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=sandpaper&storeId=10051 this is extrafine sandpaper, and....

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202241223/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=sandpaper&storeId=10051
This might not work as well, because I've never tried it. Ultrafine, so you might want to try it!

#5 Lillias

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:04 PM

You can also use terracotta (a small pot or one of those trays that goes under them) if you don't have a rock.

#6 Taxonomist

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:13 PM

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I like the simplicity of the rock idea, but the terracotta one is good too.

I'm not sure the sandpaper idea would work for her, unfortunately. She pees all over the cage, so it would get soaked on the first day and need to be replaced.

#7 Anastasia♥

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:15 AM

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I like the simplicity of the rock idea, but the terracotta one is good too.

I'm not sure the sandpaper idea would work for her, unfortunately. She pees all over the cage, so it would get soaked on the first day and need to be replaced.


Sorry if I made this sound different before! I meant to just take a cardboard box and put the sandpaper in it. That way you could just throw out the whole box if something happened (accident=pee :toiletpaper: ). It makes a good play area, and you can put toys and treats in it :wave:

#8 Taxonomist

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:34 AM

Sorry if I made this sound different before! I meant to just take a cardboard box and put the sandpaper in it. That way you could just throw out the whole box if something happened (accident=pee :toiletpaper: ). It makes a good play area, and you can put toys and treats in it :wave:


Oh, okay! You mean as a temporary play area. I thought you meant to line the bottom of the regular cage in sandpaper. That might be worth a shot, then. I have a giant Crittertrail/Habitrail playplace for her. I can easily stick some sandpaper on the bottom of one of the compartments.

For now, I actually found her a little tunnel thing that's specifically made for wearing down small animals' claws. If she doesn't crawl around on that one too much, I might try the sandpaper idea.

#9 LittleFuzzyLuv

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:46 AM

Well depending on what you are comfortable with and if your Hamster is a Syrian, nail clippers will help. Just hold the hamster firmly but not too hard! Clip the nail right before the pink. Do not clip the pink that is the quick and will hurt and bleed. If it is nicked, place the hand in warm water and baking soda and pat dry. Do not use clippers on dwarfs! not good at all! they are too small and squirmy and if not cut right, the toe will twist at the joint while cutting and it will hurt.

2 other options:

Rough climbing rocks is the best option. Get these from outside and wash with warm water and vinegar. Do not use soap unless you have too because the rock will soak it up. No bleach! place food bowl on the rock and place a rock below the water bottle. Some hamsters love to climb on them for fun. This will wear down the nails.

Fine sand paper is an option on toys and shelves of the hamster cage.
Some people put this in wheels which i find unsafe... too much friction on the pads of the feet and can irritate the skin. Heat can build on the sand paper for how quick they can run.
Place the fine sand paper on toys and shelves by folding or using thin coats of elmer's glue that is water soluble so it cannot clog your hamster's intestines. Keep an eye in case they get the craving for chewing on sand paper, remove if so.

#10 Christmas_hamster

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:49 AM

Well depending on what you are comfortable with and if your Hamster is a Syrian, nail clippers will help. Just hold the hamster firmly but not too hard! Clip the nail right before the pink. Do not clip the pink that is the quick and will hurt and bleed. If it is nicked, place the hand in warm water and baking soda and pat dry. Do not use clippers on dwarfs! not good at all! they are too small and squirmy and if not cut right, the toe will twist at the joint while cutting and it will hurt.


You can clip dwarf nails too, it as you said depend son how comfortable the hamster is and how comfortable the person is. ;)