Did you recently bring home a new pet hamster? You probably have a ton of questions about hamster behavior. A part of hamster care is handling them. Properly picking them up and holding your hammie are skills to be learned. What happens if your hamster jumps out of your hands when handling? This can bring concern for a pet parent. That is why we gathered our research to explain why this behavior may occur and what you should do if you are dealing with a jumpy hamster.
Several reasons motivate your hamster to jump out of your hands. These reasons include:
- Fear or stress
- A feeling of being uncomfortable
- Need/want something
- Little exposure to handling
- Difficult personality
Now you know some basics as to why your hamster is jumping. We will explain each reason in detail and provide some tips and tricks to preventing this behavior. Keep reading for these tips, as well as a guide on how to lift and hold your hamster correctly.
Why Does My Hamster Jump Out Of My Hands?
There is almost always a reason behind your hamster’s behaviors and habits, including the need to jump. Figuring out why your hamster is jumping out of your hands is the first step to changing the habit. Getting your hamster to a point where they tolerate and enjoy handling is the goal to work up to. Let’s take a closer look at why your hamster is jumping from your hands.
Fear Or Stress
Many situations, movements, and noises can be scary for your little hamster. Fast movements with your hands, speaking loudly with them in your hands, or other stimuli can be enough to push your hamster to jump out of your hands. To them, they associate being in your hands with a stressful or fearful situation.
Feeling Of Being Uncomfortable
Imagine being a tiny hamster and being lifted high from the ground. It is understandable that being high from the ground, away from their cozy home, can be an uncomfortable situation for your hammie.
Prolonged handling sessions can be triggering for your pet as well. Many hamsters have a threshold for being in your hands. Once this surpasses, they are likely to jump from your hands.
Need Or Want Something
While handling, your hamster may become hungry, thirsty, or they see a place they would rather be. This can motivate a hamster to jump from your hands and seek the item they have in their sights.
Little Exposure To Handling
Is your hamster a new addition? If they start to learn about their new environment and you, they may be anxious to get away from you. New environments and people can be very stimulating for hamsters. Over time, with consistent handling, they become more attuned to you and being in your hands.
Have you had your hamster awhile and have ruled out all the above? Well, your hamster may have a difficult personality. Some breeds of hamsters are more prone to jumpy, excitable, or an antsy type of demeanor.
Read more on our blog post, “My Hamster Is Scared Of Me — What To Do?”
How Do I Prevent My Hamster From Jumping?
Once you narrow down why your hamster is jumping out of your hands, then you need to get familiar with how to prevent it. There are numerous tricks to getting your hamster more comfortable handling.
To decrease stress, anxiety, and a general feeling of being uncomfortable, move slowly whenever you are around or picking up your hammie. Keeping sounds to a minimum will decrease the chances of them fleeing your hands due to being startled.
Keep your hamster busy when in your hands. This can be done by adding treats or toys when handling or keeping your hands moving. Being able to move from hand to hand can be entertaining for your pet, preventing them from jumping.
How Do You Properly Lift And Hold A Hamster?
Knowing how to lift and hold your hamster correctly will create a more comfortable experience for them and less stress for you. To appropriately raise your hammie follow these steps:
- Wash your hands before any handling to rid of any potential smells
- Place your hand in their cage, slowly. Allow your hand to be in the cage for about 5 seconds without moving
- Flip your hand so it is palm up, and allow your hamster to crawl into your hand on their own (you can use treats for this part)
- Gently and slowly lift your hamster and cup your hands around them
Is your hamster reluctant to crawl into your hands? This can be the case if you are just starting to handle them. If your hammie is not motivated to make the move on their own, gently scoop under them, grabbing some of their bedding as well.
The video below breaks down how to pick up and hold your hamster with additional tips and tricks.
When holding your hamster, keep them close to you and the ground. Give them a favorite treat of theirs to create a positive experience; this will make handling easier and enjoyable for them over time.
Read more on our blog post, “How To Get Your Hamster To Like You.”
Can Hamsters Jump Up?
While it is more common to see a hamster jumping off or down from an area, they can also jump up. The action of jumping up is most commonly seen when hamsters are in their homes. They will often jump up or climb the cage bars if they want your attention or attempt to escape.
Jumping up can indicate boredom, stress, general curiosity, and more. If you notice your hamster jumping, inspect their surroundings for anything that may be causing them stress. Everything looks normal? If everything is normal, and your hamster is otherwise healthy, often there is nothing to worry about.
Read more on our blog post, “Can Hamsters Jump And Climb?”
How Far Of A Drop Can A Hamster Survive?
The height from which a hamster drops and what surface they are falling onto impacts what happens to them. There have been cases of hamsters falling from short distances and not surviving and the other side of hamsters falling from great heights and being okay. There is no definite height that will cause death in a hamster; it can happen at any height.
To avoid death or serious injuries, always handle your hammie above a soft surface until they get less prone to jumping from your hands. Keeping your hamster closer to the ground will decrease the chances of injury, but this does not rule them out completely.
What To Do If Your Hamster Falls From A High Place?
Did your hamster jump or fall from a high place unexpectedly? Unfortunately, this can happen, as we can’t predict every movement of these active creatures. So, what should you do?
When your hamster falls from a high place, you should monitor for indications that they are hurt. These symptoms include lethargy, limping, lack of appetite, squeaking, aggression, or difficulty breathing. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, the next step is to bring your hamster in to see their Veterinarian. With the history and a complete exam, you will be given the next appropriate steps to caring for your critter.
Read more on our blog post, “Do Hamsters Need Vet Care?”
Why Is My hamster Suddenly Jumpy?
Do you have a hamster that recently started jumping? If being jumpy is not typical behavior for your hammie, something might be wrong. These small pets can become jumpy for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include a new stressor in their environment, they were frightened, have a recent injury, or are uncomfortable.
With any sudden behavior change, you should do a sweep of their home and surroundings for anything that may be bothering them. Check for clean bedding, if any new toys or treats have been introduced, or if there are new sounds in the room.
Learn more on our blog post, “Why Does My Hamster Jump In His Cage?”
It can be expected that your hamster is motivated to jump from your hands as they are getting to know you and becoming comfortable with handling. Consistent handling, done the right way, allows your hamster to become more comfortable, and they will even start to like being in your hands.
Pair the action of picking up and holding with positive reinforcement, like adding their favorite treats. Try your best to protect your pet from falling or jumping from high places, and always handle them safely and slowly. We hope you found some useful tips within this article when it comes to handling your hammie.
Are you looking for more information on hamster behavior? Have a look through our blog post, “Is My Hamster Bored? (And What To Do About It)”