Hamsters are small and cute – but even these cute little balls of fur have feelings! You should always be aware of this fact.
So it is not surprising that your hamster occasionally feels fear. In some cases you will find that your hamster is even afraid of you. This is of course not a nice feeling for you – but don’t worry, this circumstance can be changed!
In this article you will now learn how to recognize fear in hamsters, what the causes of this fear can be and what you can do to help your hamster overcome his fears.
How can you recognize fear in your hamster?
Fear in hamsters – just like in humans – can express itself in many different ways.
As a rule, however, you will be able to observe that a fearful hamster hides in a shelter in search of protection.
If your hamster is afraid of you and you chase your animal with your hand into the shelter, the flight reaction of the animal can turn into aggression, so that the hamster bites you! So: Finger away, if your hamster is afraid!
Also sudden bustle and a real ‘scurrying from house to house’ is a clear indication that your hamster feels fear and insecurity.
The body language of an anxious hamster is also very clear, as your hamster will appear to be ‘squashed flat’, so to speak, when anxious. This crouched posture persists even when moving.
You may also think that your hamster might be scared when it is trembling – however, this is not the case! Compared to humans, trembling in hamsters is never a sign of fear, but usually occurs as an accompanying symptom of an illness.
If you observe your hamster sitting in the enclosure and trembling, you should immediately take the animal to the vet!
In any case, fear is not a nice feeling for your hamster either – especially not if your hamster regularly struggles with anxiety. That’s why in this article, you’ll find seven reasons why anxiety occurs and tips for each cause that can help make anxiety a thing of the past for your hamster.
Why is my hamster afraid of me?
The reasons why your hamster is afraid of you can be very diverse.
To make it a little easier for you to find out why, we have selected seven possible reasons that can cause your furry roommate to be afraid of you.
Please note that this article can only give you food for thought – in the end, only you can find out which cause applies to your hamster!
After these possible causes, you will find detailed solutions in the next section – after all, you not only want to know why your hamster is afraid of you, but also how you can ensure that he overcomes his fears!
- the animal has not been with you for long.
Every animal needs a certain amount of time to arrive and settle in. Hamsters are no exception. So if your animal has just moved in, it is not surprising that he is a little anxious overall.
In the first days and weeks this behavior is completely normal and no reason to worry!
- the environment is too noisy
Hamsters are very sensitive to noise and stress.
Your hamster would like to sleep during the day. If he is in an environment where there is a lot of commotion and noise during the day, your hamster is under constant stress – and this in turn can manifest itself through various fears!
These fears can show up again and again in everyday life as well as in very specific situations.
A stressed hamster is also not able to learn. As long as the stress continues, your hamster will not be able to lose his shyness towards you.
- your hamster is overwhelmed
You know that feeling of being overwhelmed: everything is too much for you and you just want your peace!
Your hamster can also feel overwhelmed. This overload can be caused, for example, by the fact that your hamster cannot move sufficiently or is kept together with other hamsters. Hamsters are strict loners! As a result, your hamster may well become afraid of you, as he is already overwhelmed with everything.
- you demand too much from your pet
Could it be that you are simply asking too much of your pet?
If your hamster is really afraid of you, you can’t expect your pet to eat out of your hand after 15 minutes!
Trust needs time, especially if you have taken over a hamster from a bad keeping, which possibly already had to make one or the other bad experience with humans.
The fear of you has in this case nothing to do with you, but is based on experience from the past of the animal.
- the feeding is not species-appropriate
Believe it or not, feeding can have a huge impact on your hamster’s behavior.
A nutrient deficiency that persists over a long period of time can lead to behavioral changes in your hamster. This deficiency can manifest itself in illness, dull fur, dull eyes, fatigue, or even the development of anxiety.
- your hamster is sick
Your hamster has always been trusting and is suddenly afraid of you, although there is actually no reason for it? Then it could well be that your hamster is sick!
Animals that feel pain are often noticeably aggressive or fearful towards their humans. If there are other symptoms besides fear, such as refusal of food, fatigue, etc., then it is likely that there is an underlying disease and the fear of you is only an accompanying symptom.
- you behave unpredictably for the hamster.
Hamsters are far down the food chain and their instinct therefore advises them in the case of the skins – uh – cases usually to take flight.
If you now move quite frantically or speak in a loud voice when you want to engage with your hamster, your hamster will most likely perceive you as a threat. This unpredictability on your part appeals to your hamster’s flight instinct, so it’s not surprising if your hamster takes flight as soon as he spots you.
It’s your turn: Here’s what you can do to make your hamster less afraid!
- give your pet time to arrive
Give your newcomer a little time to settle in. It’s best not to actively interact with your hamster for the first few days. Usually a few days or weeks is all it takes for your hamster to open up on its own!
- provide more rest
To lower your pet’s stress level, it is highly recommended to move the enclosure to a quiet place so your hamster can sleep undisturbed during the day. Also, make sure your pet has plenty of things to do as well as space to move around freely.
- relaxation can work wonders
Hamsters should definitely be kept alone. If the hamster’s housing meets all its basic needs, your hamster will be able to relax more and more and will become calmer overall. This will also make it easier for him to overcome his fears towards you and to gain confidence. 4.
- accept your pet as it is
There are also among hamsters more courageous and less courageous, trusting and less trusting specimens.
Just because your previous hamster let you feed him from your hand on the second day doesn’t mean that every hamster will be able to trust you as quickly – especially if his past has not been very rosy.
So always pay attention to your hamster’s body language and needs and you will see that the fear will subside after a while.
- adjust the diet of your hamster
A healthy diet is essential for a balanced, healthy and active hamster. Therefore, study the subject of hamster nutrition in detail and adjust the diet if necessary.
- off to the vet!
If your hamster’s fears appear out of nowhere, you should see a vet immediately to rule out physical causes! Early diagnosis and treatment are important to give your hamster the best possible chance of recovery.
- create routine
Hamsters love routine and predictability.
So speak to your hamster in a calm voice and introduce a ritual or two (such as an evening treat that you always feed at the same time) to build trust with your hamster.
As soon as your hamster gets to know you better, he will slowly become more trusting! It pays to stick with it!
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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