Hamsters, with their chubby cheeks, tiny little noses and bright eyes, are undoubtedly adorable. These enchanting little creatures make great pets for owners who are willing to take care of them properly.
Although Hamsters are generally ‘low-maintenance’ pets, taking good care of your hamster requires more than just giving them food and a clean place to live. Like most pets, for your hamster to be happy and content, interaction with their owner is required.
So, do hamsters like to cuddle? Yes, in general, hamsters to like to be cuddled and handled from time to time. Affection between hamster and owner, for instance cuddling or handling, can build trust. Equally, when your hamster trusts you, they will feel safe and calm in your presence, allowing for more cuddles and affection to be shared. This is highly important for your hamster’s overall health and happiness.
While hamsters generally cope better when living alone (Russian dwarf hamsters are, of course, the exception to this), there is great benefit to regular interaction with your hamster.
Talking to your hammy in a soft voice, stroking them, feeding them treats (occasionally) and cuddling them are all good ways of showing your affection and love for you pet.
You may have some questions regarding the benefits of cuddling and interaction with your hamster and the bond this can build between you and your pet.
This article will provide all the relevant and necessary information to help you with this.
Why Do Hamsters Like To Cuddle?
Spending time with your pet can be exciting and rewarding, for both you and your hamster. Owing to the fact that hamsters are generally solitary animals, you may be wondering why hamsters like to cuddle.
The fact is, that attention and affection from their owner is important in terms of a hamster’s health and emotional well-being.
Typically, hamsters will live alone in an enclosure. While all good owners will provide a wheel for exercise and toys to stimulate their hammy’s mind, affection and attention from their owner will allow you hamster to feel safe.
Cuddling your hamster can also help to prevent boredom and distress for your pet. Talking to you hamster and gently stroking them is another excellent way of providing them with the attention that they need.
Boredom is common for most pets whose primary living environment is a cage and hamster are no exception.
Can you imagine being in the same enclosure, playing with the same toys and eating the same food day in, day out, every single day? Boring, right? The same can be said for your hamster.
Cuddling or handling them can provide a welcome change of environment for your furry little pal, allowing them to follow their naturally inquisitive noses and be stimulated by the world around them.
By spending time with your pet hamster, you can break up their day and provide new and exciting experiences for your pet. As well as gaining their trust and making them feel at ease in your presence.
How To Cuddle A Hamster Safely
It is important to note, that there are several things that should be considered by hamster owners to handle their pet safely.
It is in a hamster’s nature to be curious and even skittish, the process of building trust therefore, can take a little time.
Your hamster may not appear willing to be handled at first. It is important that when you first bring your hamster home, that you allow them time to get used to their new surroundings.
Within the first few days of getting your hamster, they may appear disinterested and even slightly scared of you.
Do not be disheartened by this. Instead, invest time in ‘getting to know’ each other first. Gently speaking to you hamster from a distance at first is an excellent way of starting to build trust.
Over time, this can extend to offering them the occasional treat from your hand. We would recommend holding your hand out flat and allowing your hamster to come towards you to accept the treat.
This will prevent your hamster from feeling threatened by you and allow them to get used to your smell.
Try to avoid fast movements and loud noises when interacting with your pet hamster, as this can cause distress and inadvertently scare them.
Progressing to cuddling with your hamster will take time, patience and practice but will be so worth it – trust us!
The type of cuddles that your hamster enjoys depends on their own little personality. You may have a hammy that loves nothing more then falling asleep in your hands or lap. Or alternately, your hamster may love to be picked up, held for a little while before being allowed to climb all over you!
Figuring our what your hamster likes best in terms of cuddling is key to their happiness.
Owing to the fact that hamsters have quite poor vision, it is advisable for owners to wash their hands before cuddling with their hamster, especially if you have been handling their food previously.
Your hamster may smell the food on your fingers and mistakenly bite you so clean hands are always best.
It is important not to rush in to pick up you hamster straight away. Let them sniff you and get used to you at first. You may notice that your hamster is willing to approach you and let you scoop them up.
If your hamster is slightly more reluctant, move slowly and gently scoop them up by placing your hands over them and gently moving them round to support your hamster, a similar motion to cupping water.
At first when you are giving you hamster cuddles, or especially if children are holding your hamster, we would recommend sitting down, either on the floor or on a sofa to avoid the risk of your hamster falling.
Keep talking in a soft voice to your hamster while you are holding them to allow for them to feel calm and safe.
The most rewarding cuddling interactions for both you and your hamster involve climbing, playing and stroking! Don’t be afraid to explore different combinations of these activities when snuggling with your hamster, to truly enjoy the bond with your pet.
When Do Hamsters Like To Cuddle?
It is widely known that hamsters are nocturnal animals, so the choosing the best time to cuddle with your hamster is key to making the interaction meaningful and rewarding for both you and your pet.
Early evening is the best time for cuddles with your pet hamster. Try to avoid disturbing your hamster when they are sleeping or eating.
To avoid irritating your hamster and causing distrust with your pet, follow these general rules for cuddling:
- Only stroke/hold/cuddle your hamster when they are active and awake,
- Never interrupt your hamster for cuddles when they are eating,
- Incentivize cuddles by rewarding your hamster with a treat,
- Try to interact with your hamster in line with their sleep cycle (most owners find early evening to be the best time).
How Do I Teach My Hamster To Cuddle?
Teaching your hamster to cuddle requires patience and is most successful when the teaching begins from the very first time you bring them home.
Cuddling is something that you will build up to with your hamster, when you have gained their trust. Take it slow, be kind, calm and patient.
Follow these steps to train your hamster to cuddle:
1. We would recommend having their cage, food, toys and water set up before you bring them home.
That way, after the stress of the journey to your hammy’s new house, they can settle themselves in to their new environment right away.
2. Place your hamster straight into their enclosure straight away and leave them alone (with exception of giving them food and water) for a few days.
This will allow you hamster to ‘nest’ and settle in to their new home.
3. After a few days, begin building trust by hand feeding your hamster.
This will allow your bet to get to know your smell and associate you with treats! Let your hamster come to you.
4. As the hamster gets more and more used to you, being stroking or petting them in their cage.
This shows the hamster that you mean them no harm and will develop you bond of trust.
5. To pick your hamster up, gently cup your hands round them and lift.
Keep talking to them in a soft and soothing voice to keep your hammy clam whilst holding them.
6. Be calm, avoid loud noises and be confident! Let your hamster explore you by climbing snuggling and burrowing into you.
Start by keeping cuddles to a shorty amount of time at first, before gradually extending the length of time as and when your hamster gets used to you!
Generally speaking, hamsters to like to be cuddled and handled from time to time. However, this depends on the personality of your hamster.
Take cues from their behaviour and respond to them appropriately; if your hamster seems to be enjoying cuddles – great! If not, focus on building trust first, and showing them attention and affection in different ways.
Giving your hamster attention is so important for their health and to prevent boredom. Enjoying cuddles with your hamster is as rewarding for them as it is for you.
A hamster will display that they are comfortable with you through the way they behave and react to you when in your presence. Positive behaviors include coming towards you as you approach the cage, moving towards your hands when offered, licking you, and generally looking relaxed and calm when you are around. However, if your hamster flees, hides grimaces, or raises its hand as you approach these are signs that they are not comfortable presently in your presence.
While a hamster may or may not enjoy being kissed,(depends on the temperament, sociability, and personality of the hamster and your bond with them) this is not something you should look to do as an owner. Hamsters are vulnerable to human germs and equally, humans can catch germs, bacteria, and illnesses from hamsters. Therefore, you should look to show affection in other ways.
There are three reasons why a hamster will most likely lick their owners. Firstly, some hamsters do so as a sign of affection as grooming is one way in which they express this. Secondly, some hamsters lick at the fingers of their owners if they smell food, treats, or any residue they like the smell of. The other main reason is that your hamster is salt deficient and is attempting to acquire it through the salt you excrete through sweat.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.