A happy hamster is a playful and energetic one, keen to roam and explore the cage. But what about sadness? How can an owner tell something is up, and do these cute rodents cry when upset or hurt? Is it even possible for them to do so? Here is what you should know.
So, do hamsters cry? Hamsters cry, not through tears, but through sounds such as squeals, squeak, or screams. They usually cry when frightened, in pain, or experiencing stress. Hence, you must monitor your hamster closely as these noises can indicate illness or injury.
Getting a hamster is a joyous occasion.
It’s all happy and exciting in the beginning.
But as the novelty starts to wear off, we begin to question the wellbeing and welfare of our new little companions.
Besides, we want them to be happy and healthy.
As hamsters do not produce tears, it’s essential for us to familiarize ourselves with how they express sadness or discomfort.
In the rest of this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to do so properly!
Your hamster will thank you for it.
At least figuratively.
- 1 Can Hamsters Cry?
- 2 Why Do Hamsters Make Crying Noises?
- 3 What Sound Do Hamsters Make When They Cry?
- 4 Do Hamsters Get Sad?
- 5 How Do You Comfort A Hamster?
- 6 Finally
Can Hamsters Cry?
Hamsters cannot produce or cry tears, but they express sadness, shock, or pain through specific noises and screams. These are distress sounds to indicate something is wrong.
These are sounds no one wants to hear, especially if you are the owner. They can be pretty upsetting, particularly at first.
But if you hear these sounds, you must do all you can to support and comfort them. We will be looking at how to do so in a further section.
Incidentally, it is common to see a little fluid around a hamster’s eye from time to time.
This is increasingly likely in older hamsters.
But if this is not tears, what could it be?
Well, for starters, it could be residue from their sleep.
Or, it could be that a foreign object has irritated and caused some discomfort on the eye.
This can happen with bedding, particularly those that are dustier.
If you do notice some dust is present in the eye, you will need to carefully remove the debris with a cotton swab (dipped in lukewarm water only).
If the debris is embedded in the eye, do not try to remove it yourself; instead this is one for the vet!
Another possibility for excess fluid in and around the eye could be due to conjunctivitis.
It’s not a harmful condition to them, but it will mean a veterinary visit to help reduce the infection and calm the irritation.
You must do so if you notice your hamster in any discomfort or red, sticky, or swollen eyes.
Watery eyes can also mean that the environment is humid.
In this case, it’s entirely normal and natural.
There is nothing you need to do.
You may want to wipe the fluid from your hamster’s eyes – but be careful.
You don’t want to harm them!
Why Do Hamsters Make Crying Noises?
Hamsters make crying noises out of anxiety, fear, distress, or as a means to get attention. They typically will cry more when they are new to a household or placed in a new and unfamiliar environment.
The truth is, hamsters can cry for various different reasons.
Some are more positive than others.
Let us look at each one a little closer:
Anxious And Unfamiliar
The main cause of crying is out of anxiety. It’s common in the first few days of ownership.
It will most likely happen when you approach them.
Besides, you are big and scary, at least to them.
They feel intimidated and are not sure of who you are, what you will do, and if you are a threat.
In this scenario, you should give your hamster time and space. They need to get used to you and their new home.
Don’t force them into your hands or stand over them for too long.
When you enter their presence, gently make yourself known.
Chat with them in soft tones and let them become familiar with your voice.
Show them that you are trustworthy, and it always helps to offer treats.
Eventually, your shy hamster should get used to you and will enjoy spending time in your presence.
Crying in this context simply indicates that your hamster isn’t used to you yet – don’t take it personally!
It’s not a reflection of you as an owner; it just means your new pet needs more time.
At other times, a hamster may be crying out of distress. This will likely be more persistent, harsher, and louder in tone.
Your hamster may be harmed, injured, or suffering from an illness.
Or, it could be something in the environment that is scaring them – like a cat or another pet.
If you suspect your hamster is unwell, injured, or crying is for an extended period of time, then do inspect them.
Monitor their behavior, eating, and drinking habits, and do not hesitate to call a vet!
This ones a little amusing.
Some hamsters cry out if they just want attention from their owners.
They might cry if they want to be held or played with.
It’s most likely to happen as you enter the room and after some time in your care.
It’s a great sign!
It shows they recognize and trust you; whatever you are doing, you are doing it well!
What Sound Do Hamsters Make When They Cry?
Hamsters make particular sounds when they cry, and the tone and volume of the cry will be in relation to the emotion that is causing the vocalization.
It is, therefore, crucial to get familiar with your hamster and understand the context regarding the sounds that they make.
And aside from the vocalizations, you must familiarize yourself with their body language.
Usually, this gives key clues into how and why they are feeling a certain way.
Let’s look at some of these different sounds and what they might mean:
Screaming is more common with recently acquired hamsters.
You might see your hamster backing into a corner and screaming when you are present in the room with them.
If their ears are pulled back and their body stiffened, your new hamster is likely terrified.
Consider that hamsters are tiny creatures compared to humans and are prey animals to many in the wild.
Staying hidden and concealed is part of their nature.
But for a hamster in captivity. Well, they cannot do this.
So, screaming and backing into a corner is all that they can do to protect themselves.
Just remember, scared hamsters need time and patience, consistency of care, and routine to show they are safe.
This is also a sound that new hamsters make when they are in new environmental settings, and they are frightened.
Hissing is usually the first sign of discomfort in a hamster; it indicates that your hamster needs time to get acquainted with you and your home.
So patience and gentle socialization is the key here.
It takes time for them to settle in, and any little thing such as noise can frighten them.
Squeaking is a common hamster sound. And it can be a confusing one.
They squeak when they are happy, curious, playful, hungry, sad, etc.
It can be disconcerting trying to figure out what it could mean, so you have to observe your hamster closely.
If they are active and sprightly, it usually means that they are full of joy, especially when fed, playing with a new toy, or running on a wheel.
If they are more reserved and lethargic, squeaks or squeals are likely due to injury, irritation, or even hunger.
If you own your hamster for a while, you will learn to recognize patterns and what the sounds explicitly mean.
Do Hamsters Get Sad?
Hamsters can get sad, which can happen out of boredom, insufficient space, neglect, or loneliness (mainly if they shared the cage with another hamster who passes away).
In fact, this study even suggested that hamsters can get sad during the darker, colder days of winter.
Otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, ironically) that many humans suffer with too.
A sad hamster will be much more lethargic, sleep more often, and not be as active in its cage.
They’ll be unlikely to play or interact with any of their toys if provided.
They are also likely to conceal themselves away, being much less social and willing to spend time in your care.
Other than this, they are likely to consistently gnaw away at the cage, almost trying to escape.
How Do You Comfort A Hamster?
If your hamster is showing signs of sadness or is being particularly vocal, it’s important that you comfort your hamster.
But how do you do so?
Well, first and foremost, you need to discover the cause for the noise.
Either way, you need to provide your hamster with sufficient attention and meet their needs, whatever they are.
The only time for concern around crying is if it is persistent or suggesting that they are in pain.
If so, there is little comfort you can do. Get on the phone to a vet!
For a new hamster who’s crying out, there are some practical things you can do to support them.
In time, you should find they stop crying!
At least for negative reasons, at least.
Spend Time With Your Hamster
Get to know them, spend time during the day observing them.
Learn their personality, mannerisms, and behaviors.
Each hamster is unique, so important that you acknowledge this and respond accordingly.
If your hamster is the shy type, respect their boundaries and do not disturb them unnecessarily.
If your hamster lowers himself to the bottom of their enclosure and flattens out when you come near or try to pick him up – this means he doesn’t want to be handled.
Do not attempt to do.
This is not the time.
Come back later.
Begin Handling Gradually
Be slow and patient with your hamster if you want to handle them, and don’t do it too often.
Encourage your hamster to move to your hand by offering them a treat.
Lay your hand out flat to allow easy access.
Don’t lift your hand until the time is right.
When your hamster runs around your hand, it’s time to stop for the day, and it’s time to put them down.
If your hamster recoils in fear, take your hand away slowly; you can always try another day.
Over time, you should notice that they are more comfortable in your hands.
Work On Your Bond
Try to stick to a routine when you are around your hamster; this allows them to get used to your company and know what to expect of you and when.
It’s vital that you do not bother them when eating or sleeping.
And offering treats is a surefire way to show them that positive things happen when you are around.
Set Up A Play Area Outside Of The Cage
It’s essential to allow your hamster out of its cage regularly.
A playpen is an excellent way to do so safely.
To set up a playpen, find a clean spot on the floor.
Ensure that the pen can be closed to prevent escape and place some toys in this space.
They will enjoy running around in an open space, but you must keep a close eye on them to keep them safe.
This playpen from Amazon is particularly effective. It is cost-effective, concealed, and will protect your floor from any accidents!
Hamsters do cry, but not in the way you might have been thinking.
Crying in terms of noises and vocalizations – yes.
Crying tears – no.
And if you do own a hamster, hearing them make different noises will just be a natural part of ownership.
And rest assured, occasional crying sounds are normal and usually nothing to worry about.
Just monitor the behavior of your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or pain.
There is always the possibility they are hurt or unwell and need veterinary support.
And at the same time, be patient with your hamster.
Give them the time and space to recognize and trust you.
Besides, they are prey animals by nature.
It’s in their instincts to be wary.
So, acknowledge that they will take a little while to get used to new people and surroundings.
They need some socialization.
In time, you should find that crying will mostly happen for positive reasons; out of excitement to see you!
And at the same time, you will learn to understand their own specific sounds and their meaning and context.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.