My Hamster Is Scared Of Me – What To Do?

Is your hamster showing signs of stress or being scared? It can be worrisome when your hamster is seemingly scared of you or its environment. You may have done something to make your hamster not trust you, or you have a shy hamster that is easy to scare. Sudden movements or loud sounds can be enough to break the trust between you and your hamster. There are other factors that can add to your hammie's fear, and you are probably wondering what they are. We have done the research to answer these questions and break down how you can get your hamster to trust or bond with you. 

If your hamster is scared of you, you will need to work towards building trust with your pet. There are a few tips and tricks that will benefit the bond between you and your hammie. Methods of gaining your hamster's trust includes:

  • Meet all their basic needs
  • Create a routine
  • Slowly introduce your touch
  • Provide enrichment (toys, treats, time to explore)

There are plenty of strategies to trust building with your hammie. Building or repairing a bond with your hamster can take a little time and patience, but your efforts will make a difference. Continue reading as we discuss these methods of trust building in-depth and explain why your hamster may have gotten scared in the first place. 

Little girls with a small gray dwarf hamster in her hand, My Hamster Is Scared Of Me - What To Do?

What Should I Do When My Hamster Is Scared Of Me?

When your hamster is scared of you, they may hide from you, shy away from your touch, or in some cases, show aggression. It can make caring for them harder and their lives much more stressful. Fearful hamsters can be shaky or jumpy. Have you noticed your hamster having some of these behaviors? The best thing to do is begin to repair the relationship and remove any stressors from their environment. 

Hamster plays hide and seek

Let's take a closer look at what you can do when you have a scared hamster on your hands. 

Meet all their basic needs

If your hamster has become fearful of you, you need to regain their trust. A great place to start is ensuring they have everything they need for happy living. A hamster who has all they need, and a little extra, are more likely to get comfortable in their environment. Some basic hamster needs include adequate cage space, a fully balanced diet, access to clean water, and environmental enrichment. 

Cute little fluffy hamster drinking in cage

If you just brought your hamster home, provide a comfortable area in their cage where they can hide. These hidey holes can provide them with comfort as they get used to their new environment. Meeting your hamster's basic needs will let them know they can depend on you and will decrease added stressors from their surroundings. 

Find more information on our blog post, Hamster Supply List (Read Before Shopping).

Create a routine

Working with the idea of dependability, creating a routine is a great way to build trust with your hamster. Part of the routine is changing out water and feeding at the same time every day. With this routine, your fur ball will start associating your presence with food and water. 

Cute Exotic Winter White Dwarf Hamster standing two legs begging for pet food with innocent face

Creating a positive experience for your hamster while your hands are in their environment is a great way to let your hamster know you are not scary. With time, their fear of you should subside. They may even start running up to you to greet you during these feeding times. 

Slowly introduce your touch

Once your hamster is more comfortable with your presence, you will want to begin introducing your physical touch. This should be done slowly, avoiding any sudden movements or loud noises. When you have a scared hamster, it is best to let them come to you. Attempting to grab or chase around your hammie can just make matters worse. 

Playing with a small white hamster/rat/lemming at home. Holding him in hand and enjoying stroking.

Try placing your hands in their cage for a bit longer after feeding time to give your hamster a chance to approach you. Once they are comfortable enough approaching your hands, they may let you scoop them up. Always move slowly with your hamster and provide some yummy treats during cuddle time. Positive reinforcement is a great method to getting your hamster into a more trusting state. 

The video below shows you how to introduce your hand to a fearful hamster.

Provide enrichment (toys, treats, time to explore)

Providing the ideal environment for your hamster can mean going the extra mile when it comes to their enrichment. Taking the time to learn what toys and treats they enjoy most can really help to get your hammie out of their shell. Adequate exercise and mental stimulation helps a hamster feel more confident and comfortable in their surroundings. This can lead to a notable decrease in their fear. 

Cute Winter White Dwarf Hamster begging for pet food with innocent face. Winter White Hamster is known as Winter White Dwarf, Djungarian or Siberian Hamster. Pet, Human Friend, Domestic animal concept

Read more on our blog post, What Toys Should I Get My Hamster?

Why Is My Hamster Scared Of Me All Of A Sudden?

Hamsters are tiny prey animals. They can scare easily. Something as small as a sudden movement can make your hamster fear you. Your hamster may become suddenly scared due to loud noises, fast or abrupt movements or new animals or people in their environment. 

djungarian dwarf hamster.

Waking a hamster from their sleep is a common way owners scare their hamsters. These furry friends are nocturnal. When they are woken up during the day, this can leave them feeling disoriented and scared. This fearful and confused state can even lead to you getting bitten. 

Sometimes something out of your control can scare your hamster, unfortunately. A bad storm or a car alarm for example. It is important to work on trust building and bonding with your hamster regularly. This work will help to comfort your hamster after fear-induced setbacks. 

How Long Will It Take For My Hamster To Get Used To Me?

Every hamster has a unique personality and their quirks. It is expected that there will be an adjustment period when your first bring a hammie home as they get used to you and their new environment. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for a hamster to get used to you. 

Little girls with a small gray dwarf hamster in her hand, My Hamster Is Scared Of Me - What To Do?

The length of time depends on how much effort is put into bonding with your hamster and their personalities. Some of these pets are simply shy and may never be the outgoing, cuddly type that other hamsters are.  Always set your hamster up for success by providing them with plenty of food, fresh water, and slowly introducing handling. 

Read more on our blog post, How To Help A Hamster Adjust To Their New Home.

How Do I Get My Hamster To Trust Me?

Building trust with your hamster takes time, but it can be done. We touched on the core trust building methods like meeting basic needs, creating routine, and slowly introducing your touch. If you have a hamster that was in a very stressful environment before, the trust building may take longer.  You will have to start with more subtle exposure as well. 

Beautiful little girl is feeding hamster

A helpful, hands-off way of getting your hamster to trust you can be hanging around their cage often. Try speaking or singing when near their cage to get your hamster used to your presence. Take at least five minutes a day to gently rest your hand in your hamster's home.

You can try putting their favorite treats on your hand and leaving it in the cage afterwards. If your hamster seems agitated or upset at any point when engaging with them, give them a break. It is important to not exhaust your hamster or push them over their stress threshold. 

Small trust building exercises every day is the key to building a relationship between you and your hamster. Before you know it, you'll be able to scoop them up and enjoy some adventures outside the cage.

Read more on our blog post, How To Get Your Hamster To Like You.

How Do You Bond With A Scared Hamster?

Building a bond with a scared hamster is rewarding for you and comforting for them. To build a bond with a scared hamster, you will begin by relieving them of their fear. Slow, calm movements are crucial when you are near a scared hamster. Always try providing something positive to your hamster after handling or trust building exercises. 

Woman holding cute little hamster indoors, closeup

You can reward them with tasty treats, toys, or try incorporating your bonding attempts around feeding time. Bonding happens when your hamster starts to associate you with positive situations in their life like food or comfort. You can tell the bond is forming when your hammie starts to expect you or starts trying to grab your attention. A bonded hamster will often be curious about what you're doing and is happy to get scooped out and brought out of their home to explore. 

Bond with your hamster by creating a safe, clean, and interactive environment around them. Move slowly, speak softly and provide them with enough mental stimulation to keep your fur ball happy. 

Read more on our blog post, How Should You Play With Your Hamster?

In Summary

If your hamster is scared of you, you need to work on trust building and bonding with your hammie. Trust is built by meeting their daily needs, having a routine and getting your pet used to your presence and touch. Rebuilding trust or creating a bond with your hamster will take time. The length it takes to create these bonds varies based on the effort and the hamster's personality.

These small pets can scare easily. Ensuring their environment provides a safe and enriching feel will make it easier for them to get back to a comforted state. Your hammie will let you know when they are comfortable with you. The process takes time and patience, but the bond makes it all worth it. We hope you found this article helpful when it comes to dealing with a scared hamster. 

Looking for more ways to interact with your hamster? Have a look at our blog post, 9 Fun Things To Do With Your Hamster.

Alyson Maticic
Alyson Maticic
Articles: 25

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