Last Updated on: 2nd January 2024, 09:55 pm
Watching hamsters play and burrow and getting to know their personalities is fun. However, you’d likely have to stay up late to see them in action because that’s when they’re most active.
Most people get sneak peeks of their hamsters throughout the day as they come out to eat and drink and run on their wheels. But what if you don’t ever see your hamster?
The food you put in its cage has disappeared, and new tunnels have been dug the next time you check on it, which means the hamster comes out when you’re not around.
If this sounds like your hamster, you may have a ghost hamster.
What Is A Ghost Hamster?
A ghost hamster only emerges from hiding late at night or when people aren’t around. Ghost hamsters are relatively common, especially when facing new surroundings.
If you’ve just bought a hamster and brought it home, it may seldom appear until it grows accustomed to its new home and your presence. It takes time for a hamster to trust you.
However, even hamsters kept as pets for a long time can become ghost hamsters, often without warning or explanation.
Some hamsters have bold personalities and run around their cages at all hours, no matter who is around to see them. Other hamsters are shy and prefer to come out to play and eat when it’s quiet.
Why Does My Hamster Never Come Out?
Hamsters sometimes hide and never come out except to eat. Unfortunately, you’ll be lucky to see them before they return to hiding again. This is how they got the name “ghost hamsters.”
There are several reasons why a hamster may hide and never come out:
Not Used to You
Some hamsters, especially young and new hamsters, will go into hiding immediately because they’re unaccustomed to human interaction.
The experience scares them, hence why so many people advise you to leave the hamster alone initially and not pick them up or handle them.
However, the Vet Times stated that you should pick up, play with, and interact with the hamster from a young age. Doing this will reduce their stress and familiarize them with people.
It’ll need time to adjust if you’ve just brought a hamster home. New pet hamsters should be given 7-10 days to get used to their new home with minimal disturbance.
The new hamster was just taken away from where it felt comfortable. Moving to a new home can shock hamsters, so give them time to adjust to their new environment.
If you’ve had a hamster for a while and it’s suddenly become a ghost hamster, it could be due to a change that’s happened recently.
Moving to a new home isn’t necessary to unsettle a hamster. Changes can be much smaller and still affect the hamster enough to stress it out and make it want to hide away.
Have you changed anything in its cage? Even changes as minor as switching up the bedding or adding or removing a toy can be enough to unsettle the hamster.
Why Does My Hamster Avoid Me?
When you brought a hamster home, you likely expected to be bonding, cuddling, playing, and seeing it excited when you showed up.
You’ve had the hamster home for a while but are still waiting for those things to happen. Instead, the hamster runs away as soon as you approach.
Hamsters are small prey animals with fears and moods that are sometimes hard to understand.
Here are the reasons why your hamster may be avoiding you:
Dislikes Human Interaction
While some hamsters don’t mind being picked up, held, or played with, others don’t want involvement. Some hamsters dislike interacting with people.
This could be due to bringing home an older hamster that didn’t get much interaction or doting care in its last home. It’s grown used to being unbothered by people and prefers things that way.
Had you brought home a baby hamster and begun doting on it from the start, it’d grow up only knowing that side of things, so it probably wouldn’t feel the need to avoid you.
You can only try to get it to come over to you. When it’s feeding time, see if the hamster will take the food from your hand. Attempt petting while it’s safe in its home. If it runs away, try again later.
Scared of You
Environmental Science found that some hamsters living in the center of a busy city in Austria surrounded by noise from traffic, car horns, and people talking and shouting were unbothered.
We can assume that hamsters who have lived in captivity their whole lives are used to quieter surroundings and aren’t as accustomed to interactions with people.
If the hamster is new to your home, give it time to adjust to its surroundings. If it’s a long-time pet hamster, tempt it over with food.
How To Entice A Hamster Out of Hiding
If the hamster has been hiding for a while, you’ll likely be anxious to get it to come out, at least for long enough to ensure it’s okay. Here are some things you can do to lure a hamster out of hiding:
- Place treats in its cage. Then, wait to see if it emerges to eat or pouch them.
- Limit any noise around the cage.
- Keep other pets away from the cage, especially larger or predatory animals like cats.
- Removing all bedding at the same time is unsettling, so change the bedding more gradually. So, the hamster’s scent won’t be entirely removed from the cage.
- If you live where you get storms, move the cage to a quieter, darker room.
- Put a new toy in the cage to promote curiosity and activity.
- Make the room dark or wait until nighttime when hamsters usually come out to play.
These methods to entice hamsters out of hiding might work well for some hamsters. For other hamsters, if they don’t want to come out, nothing you do will change that.
You might have to get used to having a permanent ghost hamster as a pet, and all you can do is continue feeding and taking care of it. Maybe one day you’ll finally get to see it again.