When you get a hamster, one thing you have in mind is creating a close bond between you and your pet. You want the hamster to see you as one of its best friends. Unfortunately, things do not always take that route, and most experienced pet owners and behaviorists will tell you that.
Actually, it’s no surprise at all when your hamster, who should be your closest friend, is scared of you. You’ve never done anything to your pet to stir the fear, but they still don’t trust being around you.
So why is your hamster scared of you and what can you do about it? Well, I bet these are questions you’ve lost sort answers and perhaps haven’t found a satisfying one. In this article, I will try to answer everything that has to do with hamsters’ fear of you, and then some.
Let’s get going!
Why Is Your Hamster Scared Of You?
Hamsters are prey animals, meaning they live all their life fearing being attacked by predators any time. One common principle of all prey animals is to never trust anyone or anything that they do not know.
Fear in prey animals comes as an ingrained standard. It’s important to their very existence, and they will do whatever they think it takes to stay alive, even if it means shying away from their very owners.
Believe it or not, but hamsters are actually very shy in nature. When you get a hamster, it’s good to keep that in mind and take things slowly so the pet feels comfortable around you.
What makes them scared of you is the fact that they don’t know you yet. Even if you’ve had your hamster for a year now, it still doesn’t trust you just because it hasn’t gotten used to you as its owner.
That’s why it’s important to take things slowly and understand that your hamster is not going to rush into your arms or sleep in a hamster ball just because you got one. Progress with time and let the little guy get used to having you around every day.
Other Reasons Your Hamster Maybe Scared Of You
While it’s very your pet is scared of you because they aren’t used to you as their owner, we still have a few other reasons why you may be noticing the fear in your little furry friend.
Fear From Sudden Movement
One reason why your hamster is scared of you is the way you move. These lovely beings have a very powerful sense of hearing, and that’s one of the things that help them evade predators when in the wild.
Their super-sensitive ears will pick up your movements from afar, and the noise will more often than not sound too heavy in their ears. That alone will be enough to make them afraid.
It can even be more frightening where the noise of your movement becomes sudden and increasingly heavy, especially when they can’t see you. So yes, when you notice a frightened hamster when you next walk to their cage, it could be because of the noise your steps make.
Fear Of Your Shadow
Hamsters live in fear of their predators in the wild, and one of them is a large bird. While you may not think it, but your shadow can look like that of a bird to your little buddy.
It’s very likely that you’ve experienced playing around in the backyard when suddenly a child screams in fear because they see a big black something moving in the sky.
I’m sure that’s pretty similar to what happens when your hamster sees your shadow moving fast in their cage, so it would be no surprise if they were afraid of you too.
They Are In A New Environment
If your hamster has recently been introduced to a new cage or even a new home, then it’s normal for the little furball to be scared of the unfamiliar surroundings.
That is because they are in an environment that is completely unknown, which makes them feel insecure. This insecurity will also lead your pet to fear you too.
They need some time before they start feeling comfortable and relaxed in their new environment. However, you can help things go faster by being as gentle as possible during feeding times and when handling the pet itself.
You Have A Super-Shy Hamster
All hamsters are naturally shy, just as we’ve said. However, some of them take it to a whole new level. It’s possible that you have one very fearful hamster, and that’s enough to make them scared of you.
These very shy hamsters will only open up to you in much later stages, if at all, so it can be really difficult for you to get close to the pet. This is especially true if they’ve been handled by other people before or have gone through some traumatic experience that made them fear humans.
So if you have a really shy hamster, then it would take some time before he starts trusting you enough to enjoy your company. Patience is the key in this case, so try to get more of that if you want to get close to your little pet.
Your Have A Stressed Pet
Hamsters will get stressed even from things we don’t expect. They are very fragile animals, and you can stress them out even by handling them roughly.
At times stress can come from the new pet you just brought home. It’s also possible to come from little things like a new cage or a new diet, so just be careful how you handle your little pet.
Signs Of A Scared Hamster
Hamsters don’t speak the human language. You have to learn how to interpret their body language to know how they are feeling. With that said, it’s possible to have a scared hamster and fail to know.
But just how would you know your little friend is feeling downright frightened? Just take another look at the list below and see if any of them are present.
Your Hamster Is Quivering
You can know that your hamster is frightened when you notice that his body is trembling a little. This trembling can also be the sign of something more serious, so it’s best to get in touch with your local vet if you think things are getting out of hand.
Your Hamster Hides In A Corner
This can happen at times when your hamster gets stressed out. It is best to get your little furry buddy out of that corner before things get worse.
When hamsters get scared when in the wild, they will run into their burrows. However, they don’t have burrows in their cage, so the far they can opt to run for when they feel to get to a safer place is the farthest corner of their cage.
For all prey animals, it’s either flight or fight when they feel scared. Hamsters will also run away from the threat or they could go into a defensive mode. When they don’t have a place to run to, fighting remains the only option they have and will manifest through biting.
A scared hamster will usually salivate more than usual. Excessive salivation is their body’s reflex to fear. However, it’s important to note that overproduction of saliva in hamsters doesn’t always have to emanate from fear – it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Eyes are sensitive to movements. One way hamsters use to keep themselves from the eyes of their predators is to freeze. When in freezing mode, it becomes so hard for them to be seen. So yes, if you notice your hamster freezing, it could imply that they are scared.
What Should I Do When My Hamster Is Scared Of Me?
You can’t really do much to stop your little pet from being scared, at least not at once. In fact, even if you try to get closer to the hamster when frightened, that could make things worse for both of you. You end up scaring your hamster more and risk getting bit by the rodent.
However, there are a few things you can put in place to ensure that you win your hamster trust with time.
Address Their Basic Needs
One surefire way to find your way into the heart of your hamster is to make sure they are comfortable and well taken care of.
For instance, make sure their diet suits them and provides all the nutrients they need for a healthy life. Again, these little beings value hygiene, so make sure that you keep their cages clean. And of course, access to clean water goes without saying.
Never Shout At Your Hamster
At times a shout is all it takes to instill fear, not just in hamsters but also in you and me. So next time, think twice before shouting or making loud noises near your hamster. This includes the use of any form of violence against them as well.
Hamsters are naturally not inclined to trust easily. As such, if you have to win their trust, always speak to them in a gentle manner so that they get used to you instead of being scared of you.
Create A Routine
Every hamster expert will tell you that hamsters don’t like surprises. Anything outside what they are already used to will cause them stress, one of the reasons they may be scared of you.
Hence, it’s best to develop a routine and follow it when dealing with your hamster. Have a routine for taking them outside their cage, feeding, and cleaning their house. That way, they are less likely to get stressed and scared in that case.
Don’t rush things when dealing with your hamster. Don’t force your way into their hearts. It may take time for them to begin trusting you, so ensure that you are patient enough.
If you just moved to a new place, or maybe got your hamster a new cage, then it will take time for them to adapt to their new surrounding. Just leave them alone for several days or weeks to get themselves familiar with their new home.
Again, don’t force them to do what they don’t want (unless very necessary). For instance, don’t take them outside their cages when they don’t seem to like it. Be keen to interpret how they feel, and that’s what will help them build your trust in them.
Enrichment Go A Long Way
Things like toys and tasty treats will also do wonders in winning trust in your pet. Take time to learn your hammy’s best toys and favorite treats and offer them more frequently.
Treats and toys are a way of creating a strong bond with your hammy, and as it grows stronger, they will eventually stop getting scared of you. So yes, never underestimate the value of toys and treats!
Why Is My Hamster Scared Of Me All Of A Sudden?
Your hamster is scared of you doing something suddenly that caught them unaware. It could be making abrupt movements, sudden sounds, or even awakening them from sleep.
When any of these happens, it’s very likely to scare your hamster. At times fear will come because of your intimidating size, especially in their eyes.
Can Hamsters Die From Being Scared?
Yes, these little furry balls can die from being scared, but not usually. However, if the fear is overwhelming and they have a heart condition, then it might be possible.
For example, if your hamster gets too stressed out that they start having a heart attack, then you might want to consider getting a vet involved as soon as possible.
Where fear doesn’t kill them directly, it can do so indirectly by weakening their immune system. Suppressed immunity paves the way to a host of different diseases that may eventually lead to death. So yes, although fear isn’t a disease, it can claim the life of your hamster.
Hamsters can be scared of you for a variety of reasons, some within your control, others not. Knowing the cause of fear is imperative in knowing how to overcome it. However, no matter what’s making your hamster afraid of you, you need to give your hamster time to stop behaving in that manner.