Hamsters are pretty sensitive creatures that easily get scared of different things. Although some of them have a rather strong personality, the majority of them are shy animals that are afraid of almost everything.
Many things frighten hamsters. Hamsters can be afraid of their owners and larger pets. Loud sounds and noisy places fear them. They generally hate changes in their environment. They hate overpowering smells such as perfumes and fabric softeners but also detest the tastes of lemon and olive oil. Hamsters are not big fans of light. They don’t like being waked up. Being in the water scares them very much and they hate doing that.
What Are Hamsters Afraid Of or Hate (Dislike) From Their Environment?
Hamster dislikes any type of change. That’s why they are very scared when brought to a new home.
Hamsters don’t like to change the cage, they even don’t like anything to be changed in their current cage. Even a slight change can cause them major stress.
They are afraid of loud sounds. That doesn’t mean they cannot listen to the music though. They may enjoy classical music but any loud sounds scare them very much.
That means that you should never put the hamster’s cage in some noisy area of your home. Find a nice and peaceful place where nobody will bother your pet.
Forget about the kitchen and living room, these are not good places for a hamster. TV may also provoke unnecessary stress to your hammy.
Hamsters are afraid of larger pets. Especially dogs and cats which are predators by nature. No matter you think your dog is friendly and would get along with the hamster, those two are not a good match.
If you have larger pets in your home, make sure you keep them far from a hamster. It’s super important that they cannot reach the hamster’s cage in any circumstance.
Two hamsters can also be a bad match due to a lack of social skills. Hamsters are rather solitary animals. They don’t like to share their territory with another hamster.
Syrian hamsters never should be kept in pairs while other types such as Russian or Dwarf can live in pairs but should be introduced at a very young age.
Even if you have a pair of Russian or Chinese hamsters and one of them apparently get pregnant, you should remove other hamsters and leave the pregnant one alone.
Pregnant hamsters usually have problems with their cage mates and prefer being alone.
Another thing about pregnant hamsters, they are afraid of highly visible areas. That means that you should provide more bedding material so your hammy can make a nest and a shelter, burrow.
Hamsters are also not a good match with children, especially the small ones. Children are less able to articulate their voices and movements. This experience can be a great stress for a fragile hammy.
Kids most probably won’t handle the hamster gently, there is a possibility to hurt them unintentionally so every interaction between kids ( especially under the age of 5) and hamster should be supervised by a responsible adult.
Kids (even adults) find it adorable to blow air in hamster’s face, but it makes your pet uncomfortable and afraid so please don’t do it!
Hamsters hate the dirty environment. They are very clean animals and if you notice a bad smell that comes from the cage, ooh it’s you and not your hamster.
Ok, it’s not really you but soiled bedding that is your responsibility. The good thing is that hamsters use one corner of the cage as a toilet so it’s super easy to scoop the soiled bedding and change it.
Never ever force your hamster to enter the water. Hamsters hate water ( unless to drink it, of course) If a hamster ends up in the water, that can cause great physical and mental damage.
First of all, hamsters naturally live in dry areas, far from the water. So they are not used to swimming, they don’t need water to keep themselves clean.
If the water is cold or they remain wet for quite some time, they can catch a cold or even pneumonia.
On the other hand, water removes protective oils from your hammy’s coat.
Not to speak about the stress caused by hamster being in the water. Stress makes their immune system weak so they are prone to other water- not related illnesses as well.
You may find some videos on Youtube in which hamsters are swimming. The people that force their hamsters to swim are cruel, hamsters don’t enjoy swimming.
Many owners notice that their hamsters vanish as soon as they turn on the light. Since hamsters are nocturnal animals, they sleep during the day, the only time you can play with your pet is late afternoon or evening. Mostly when it’s dark.
So you need to turn on the light and what happens? You hammy runs away.
Some hamsters are shyer than others, some will get used to low light while others won’t. So what is the solution?
From many owners’ experience, a small lamp with a red bulb could be a good option. It seems that hamsters cannot see the red light but we can.
You will need some time to get used to that light but eventually, you will succeed. So it’s a win-win situation – you can watch and play with your hammy and he can enjoy the ”dark” atmosphere!
Another thing about the red light. One study made by Ohio State University says that hamsters that are exposed to red light during the night show far less evidence of depressive-like changes. The worst effects on the hamster’s mood and general mental well-being had a blue light closely followed by the white one.
Hamsters hate extreme temperatures. Although their natural environment is dry and rather warm, avoid placing the cage near the heating source.
Also, hamsters hate direct sunlight and being exposed to draught. Low room temperatures ( below 15C or 60F ) are not good for hamsters either, if they remain at those low temperatures they could go into hibernation mode and die.
Hamsters dislike being bored. They like to do something all the time. So it’s very important to provide a wheel to spend the energy they have as well as some chewing toys to keep their mind occupied and their teeth healthy.
A bored hamster could try to escape or could become depressive and start chewing the cage bars and end up seriously hurt.
If your hammy has a multi-level cage, he might be afraid of coming down from the upper level. I heard that it happens in some hamsters.
The hamster climbs from lower to upper level without any trouble but when he needs to come down he freezes.
Maybe your hammy needs a little bit more time to get used to his cage or if this continues you will need to provide a single level cage for your pet.
Hamsters shouldn’t be scared of height since they have bad depth perception so they don’t know how high they are and how dangerous that could be.
What Smells and Tastes Do Hamster Hate (Dislike)?
Hamsters have very keen sense of smell ( same as sense of hearing) so they feel a smell much stronger then we do.
Overpowering smells such as flowers, fabric softeners, perfumes, deodorants, air refreshers hamsters simply hate.
Be aware when handling the hamster, don’t wash your hand with scented soap, he might run away from you. Don’t forget that the same can happen if you have just handled your dog. The hamster will detect the dog’s smell on you.
Essential oils are another thing hamsters don’t like. Don’t keep them around your hammy, especially if not diluted.
If you want to keep the room where the hamster is, fresh, just open the window, don’t use any artificial refreshers
Hamsters despise the taste of olive oil as well as lemon juice. Hamster owners usually rub the cage bars with these tastes to discourage their hamsters from chewing the cage bars. As soon as they feel the taste of lemon or olive oil, hamsters will stop chewing the bars.
Regarding this problem – the hamster is chewing cage bars for some reason. It’s not enough to discourage him to do that but to find the real cause why he is doing that.
Hamsters chew the cage bars if they are bored or their living space is too small and they are trying to escape. They also chew the bars if they are stressed or they don’t have enough chewing toys or they seek your attention.
In all cases, it’s important to solve the initial problem and not just prevent the hamster from chewing the bars that can lead to broken teeth or serious mouth injuries.
How To Know If Your Hamster Is Scared?
Hamsters are pretty quite animals but you can read some signs of body language and learn if your hammy is scared.
Hamster that is shaking is very scared
Yawing hamster is either scared or tired
Hamster the nibbles or even bites is very scared. Biting is not associate with aggression but fear.
Apart from body language, your hammy can ”tell” you if he is afraid of something.
For example, the hissing hamster is either scared or angry about something. If you hammy squeak or grinds his teeth he is defiantly upset.
If you would like to know more about this topic how to know if your hamster is scared do read our article ”How Can You Tell If Your Hamster is Happy, Frightened, Nervous, Calm ( All About Hamster Behavior)”
Why My Hamster Is Afraid of Me? What to do?
You are the person who likes hamsters. You got one and want to provide a nice and healthy environment for him/her. You are trying to do everything it takes to reach the goal, but your hamster is obviously afraid of you. Why?
Hamsters are easily frightened since they are prey animals. They require gentle touch without any sudden movements.
You have to be patient as your hammy will be afraid of you until he gains trust and starts watching you as a source of food and not a giant predator that could eat him. This process may take a while. In some cases a month, in some even more.
Don’t try to hold your hammy as soon as you bring him to your home. Let him settle first, to explore his cage, get used to new scents and sounds.
Bear in mind that hamster’s eyesight is not the best so he relies on a sense of hearing and sense of smell, both are sharp.
At first, don’t handle your hamster, just make sure you spend some time ( when he is awake) around the cage, talk to him or even sing. The point is your hamster gets used to your voice and smell.
It’s not recommended to pet your hamster in this stage. He is still very scared and you still pose a great threat for him. The food is the best tool you have.
So take a piece of apple or banana or some green vegetable and offer your hammy while he is in the cage. He might run away and hide as soon as you approach the cage and put your hand on it. If this happens, don’t insist, just leave the food and go.
As we said you need a lot of patience. Repeat this with food and one day, the hamster will come close to you to get some food out of your palm. That’s a good sign.
Let him take the food but don’t pet him yet. After you succeeded in feeding him a few times and your hamster seems distracted with tasty treats try stroking his back. If he steps back or runs away, let him do that.
Once you notice that your hamster is comfortable with petting, you can gently try to take him and remove him from the cage.
The hamster may still be afraid of you so don’t be surprised if you discover that he urinates out of fear.
That can happen the first couple of times. If your hammy starts to shake, the show is over, you need to put him down as shaking means that he is very scared.
Avoid touching the burrowing hamster. No matter if he is sleeping in the burrow or he is just hiding the food, you can really terrify him if you try to handle him at that moment.
If you notice that your hamster is sleeping, don’t bother him. Hamsters hate being woken up, he will be scared to death so wait a couple of hours and let him wake on his own before you start playing with him.
It may look cute to you but hamsters simply hate being blown on, please don’t do that. This action of yours will just teach your hamster to be afraid of people instead to trust them. Blowing in his face makes him feel uncomfortable.
One tip – if you have a super-shy hamster make sure you always approach him from the side, in order to cause less stress.
Hopefully, this article will help you understand your hamster better and avoid doing things they don’t like so you can both enjoy each other’s company.