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Once you’ve brought your new family member home it is important to allow them time to properly acclimate to their new surroundings. It might be tempting to try and play with them immediately, but it is best to put them in their new cage and give them a few days to feel secure before attempting to interact heavily with them. Once they seem comfortable and have started investigating their new home you can start the process of bonding with them.
Most small animals have better hearing than sight, so begin by spending time talking to them in a soothing voice so they get used to your presence.
From there allow them to get used to your scent. Put your hand in the cage and let them come to you in their own time, smelling and running away as they see fit. It is always better to put your hand inside the cage instead of sticking a finger through cage bars since this may be mistaken for a treat and encourage nipping. Use tasty treats such as fruits or vegetables to encourage your pet to come to you.
Once they are comfortable taking food from your fingers put it in the palm of your hand so they have to climb up to get it. Once they are relaxed you can practice lifting them and taking them out of the cage before they get their treat.
Always remember to fully support their body once they are out of the cage to ensure they feel safe, secure, and don’t fall. Never pick up a small animal by the tail or ears or squeeze them too tightly. 
Repeat this process for several short sessions to build a bond with your new furry family member.



1. The more time you spend with your new family member the more they will bond with you. Depending on their species, age, temperament, and past, this may take anywhere from a few days to several months.

2. Remember not to grab or squeeze any pocket pet, or pull them by their tails. They are much smaller than people and can easily be hurt. Some pocket pets, such as gerbils, can lose their tails just from their tails being pulled on.


3. Allow them to become comfortable with each step before moving on to the next one.


4. Some species are naturally more social (such as rats) while others take more convincing (such as hedgehogs).


5. Try to create a routine for your pet. It is comforting to animals to have a routine and know what to expect each day.


6. Bonding is the first and most important step in building a healthy loving relationship with your new fuzzy family member.


Sugar gliders are very special creatures who bond very strongly with their families. 


MN Pocket Pet Rescue is working on our own tips for bonding your pocket pets together. In the meantime, we recommend these websites for more information on bonding animals.

Do you have questions about bonding? Feel free to email us for support.

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