Hamsters are often first-time pets for children and pet-deprived people of every age. They are nocturnal and shy, which makes people wonder if their hamster has any feelings.
You might be surprised to know that hamsters not only like affection but thrive on human interaction. Hamsters love their owners like most pets, but they have subtle ways of showing it. They enjoy the companionship of their human parents and can develop strong bonds.
Hamsters utilize their sense of smell to connect with people. They can learn to recognize your scent if you spend more time with them. Your hamster may feel uncomfortable around strangers, but you can train your hamster to trust more people.
Bonding with hamsters
Bonding with shy hamsters can be challenging. Here’s how you can help your little friend:
Hamsters will not trust people initially and may bite new owners because they aren’t familiar with them. Gaining a hamster’s trust and developing a loving bond takes time. You may want to open the cage and allow the hamster to smell your hands. Do not attempt to grab the animal. Just let him smell you. Continue doing this every day until the hamster climbs into your hand. Allow your hamster to crawl into your hand and gently pet him.
Hamsters have poor eyesight, and quick hand gestures can scare them. So, avoid making quick movements or loud noise. Once you can hold your hamster without scaring it away, you can pet it gently. Eventually, your hamster will trust you and everyone who follows this method.
Gently stroking your hamster’s fur is a great way to show affection. Hamsters love to climb on their owner’s shoulder or nap inside a shirt pocket.
Living in a small cage can get boring for your hamster. The same wheel, food, and water bottle are far from exciting. Good hamster owners will take their hamster out every day, preferably after he’s woken up from his sleep. He’ll stay active and be a little less grumpy.
Spend time together
A healthy bond is about sharing experiences. You should spend quality time strengthening your connection.
Misunderstandings and confusion are the enemies of good bonds, so be as clear as possible when you communicate with your hamster.
Be consistent with your training signals and technique. Since hamsters learn to recognize familiar scents faster than visual cues, use the former when possible.
Talk in a calm and soft voice when they’re near you. It helps when you’re trying to build trust in your hamster. It’s important to communicate and interact clearly to develop a stronger bond.
Slowly introduce other caretakers to your hamsters
Start to greet your hamster when feeding, filling up their water bottle, or giving a treat. However, make sure you speak in a conversational tone, so you don’t startle it! Don’t leave your pet alone with new people because it can easily overwhelm them. New caretakers can try placing a hand in the hamster’s habitat. That way, your hamster will get used to the unfamiliar scent.
Petting and Feeding
Once your hamster becomes more familiar with your scent, the next step is to pet your small animal. The best way to do this is with the help of treats! When your hamster is busy eating, you can pet him gently. The distracted hamster will start associating touch with comfort and fulfillment. This method will help your hamster get comfortable with petting.
You can also place a treat or food in your hand for your hamster to take. But don’t try to force-feed your hamster. Eating is one of the most social activities for small animals, so this method will help you develop a loving bond with your hamster.
Handling with Care
Many people love cuddling their small animals, but it’s important to handle them with care. Learn different ways of handling small animals before you attempt to cuddle your hamster. Avoid stressing or injuring your hamster’s small frame.
The best way to handle hamsters is to scoop them up with cupped hands. Lifting your hamster by its tail, legs, or ears is dangerous and can cause severe injuries. Once your hamster is more comfortable around you, it may crawl right into your hands!
Playing Outside the Habitat
Let your hamster explore and exercise outside of their habitat. You can set up a small gated area on the floor with food, water, and toys. You can also create mazes and hideouts for your small animal. Hamster love roaming around in an exercise ball. Make sure to block off any small holes they could squeeze into and get stuck. Take care of other household hazards like electrical cords.
How to Keep Hamsters Happy and Affectionate
Here are some tips and tricks to keep hamsters happy:
Pick the right cage type
When looking for your hamster’s cage, you will come across many different types. Each will have its benefits and drawbacks. Review this list to get an idea of which cage might work best for your new hamster.
- Mesh or wire cages are convenient to clean and have great ventilation. But some wire cages may have small openings that can let hamsters escape.
- Glass aquariums provide a safe and secure home for your hamster. However, these cages are harder to clean.
- Plastic cages provide modular compartments and tunnels that can be quite engaging for your hamster. The downside of plastic cages is that they have poor ventilation and are very tough to clean.
Get the right size cage
Your hamster will want ample room to run, eat, sleep, and play in. You will have to find a big enough cage to allow hamsters to nest and burrow in. Remember to leave room for any exercise equipment or toys that you plan on placing in the cage.
Get A Hamster Wheel
Running wheels or hamster wheels are exercise devices used primarily by hamsters and other small animals when given the opportunity. Most of these devices have ridged wheels held on a stand by a pair of stub axles. Hamster wheels allow hamsters to run even when their space is confined.
Hamsters love to run, and providing them with a hamster wheel allows them to follow their instincts. In the wild, hamsters will travel many miles each night in search of food. Some hamsters in captivity can run up to eight kilometers a night on hamster wheels, making them necessary for hamsters.
Other toys for hamsters
Hamsters, both Syrian and dwarf, are active creatures. They need a variety of fun toys and other items to stay happy. They will love more opportunities for exercise, play, and exploration. While they appreciate a hamster-safe environment outside of the cage, there are many toys you can place inside the cage to provide exercise. These may include chewing toys, balls, and rope toys.
Do Hamsters Have Affection for Other Hamsters?
Hamsters have feelings for their owners, but are they affectionate towards other hamsters?
The answer is probably ‘no.’ Hamsters can form deep, meaningful relationships with their pet parents, but they aren’t big fans of other hamsters, which can come as a shock to prospective hamster owners. Multiple factors like age, gender, and breed play a role in their aggressive behavior. Mature hamsters develop a territorial disposition and become aggressive. They are territorial desert creatures and are protective of their territory.
All hamsters have similar characteristics, but breed specifics play a massive role in determining aggression. Dwarf hamster breeds are more socially tolerant than other hamster breeds. It’s best to keep your Dwarf and Syrian hamsters in separate cages. Placing two hamsters together may become a recipe for disaster because they might fight each other to death.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to bond with hamsters?
It takes up to three weeks to bond with a hamster. If you bought a new hamster for your home, expect it to take time to adjust to the new environment. Spending quality time and following the tips shared in this article are essential for better bonds.
Can hamsters learn their name?
Yes. Hamsters are intelligent creatures that can even learn their name. Practice talking to your hamster using their name, and they may respond by crawling to you.
Can hamsters cuddle with pet owners?
Hamsters love to cuddle with their owners! Despite their solitary nature, most hamsters like to be held and cuddled.
Why does my hamster hate me?
Your hamster cannot hate you, but he might be scared of you. You have to be patient with your hamster and give him time to get used to the new environment.