Last Updated on: 28th September 2023, 01:11 pm
Taking sufficient care during handling is essential because hamsters can become stressed or get injured because of their diminutive size and jittery disposition.
There are certain areas where hamsters dislike being stroked. Knowing a hamster’s preferred petting places is crucial for a happy and stress-free life.
Hamsters like being stroked on their backs, heads, and stomachs. Also, some hamsters enjoy a rub behind the ears. When petting a hamster, use gentle strokes in the same direction as the fur.
If you pet the hamster somewhere it likes, it could become relaxed and fall asleep on you.
Where Do Hamsters Like To Be Pet the Most?
When you first get a hamster, petting it without understanding its boundaries is tempting.
However, this risks stress because hamsters are particular about people touching areas of the body they like and dislike. So, find out where your hamster enjoys being stroked.
Hamsters don’t openly show affection like cats and dogs, so it can be difficult to determine their likes and dislikes. That said, hamsters that enjoy being petted will:
- Close or narrow their eyes.
- Wiggle their ears.
- Tweak their nose.
- Remain still to allow you to stroke it.
- Fall asleep.
While all small animals are different, hamsters like being petted in these areas:
Most hamsters are happy to be petted on their backs, which is where most owners start stroking them.
The back is a large area, so it’s an easy part of the body to practice using light, gentle strokes before moving on to smaller parts of the body.
When stroking a hamster on its back, slowly approach it from a low-down position. If you attempt to stroke it from above, the hamster may see you as a predator swooping in to capture it, like a bird.
This will make it fearful of you and may even make a hamster jump due to being startled.
Some hamsters enjoy being stroked on the head if their owners use slow movements. Hamsters that are sleepy respond best to having their heads stroked.
Depending on how much your hamster trusts you, it may feel relaxed enough to fall asleep while you pet this area. You can rub a hamster around its ears at the same time, which are sensitive to touch.
However, when stroking a hamster on its head, avoid touching its face. As the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences explains, hamster whiskers are sensitive.
Hamsters enjoy belly rubs when they trust their owners. This trust may take time to build, but if you work on handling your hamster regularly, you’ll eventually be able to start petting the stomach.
A hamster’s tummy is one of the most sensitive parts of its body, which is why you must stroke it ever-so-gently. Also, avoid turning a hamster over, as you’ll spook it. It may even bite in defense.
If a hamster isn’t in the mood for a tummy rub, try again when it’s more receptive.
How To Stroke A Hamster
You should take certain steps when petting a hamster to ensure it remains comfortable while minimizing stress. These steps include the following:
- Cradle the hamster with cupped hands, using your free hand to stroke it.
- Use the middle and index fingers to stroke the hamster’s back.
- Pet the hamster in its favorite spots using light strokes, almost as if you’re barely touching it.
- Don’t press down too hard on the fur and stroke it in the direction of the hair, not against it.
Don’t make sudden movements that’ll scare or hurt the hamster. When it appears uncomfortable or wriggles to free itself from your grasp, stop stroking the hamster and give it a break.
Do Hamsters Like To Be Held?
Hamsters are naturally shy around people, at least when they first meet them.
Whether they enjoy being held or not comes down to their personality. However, captive hamsters aren’t like wild hamsters and can be tamed to accept human contact.
There are two main personality types in hamsters:
- Ghost hamster: Prefers to remain hidden until its owners have gone to bed.
- Happy to be held: Copes well with handling, even if it’s just for a short time.
You can train the latter to enjoy being held, but this is a drawn-out process.
When building a bond with a hamster, move at its pace to prevent stress and fear. If you attempt to hold the hamster too quickly, it’ll panic and see you as a predator.
Instead, commit to handling the hamster daily for a few minutes. You can also encourage direct hand contact with its favorite treats.
Once it’s comfortable, you can increase the time you hold it until there’s no longer a trust issue.
Do Hamsters Like To Be Cuddled?
Spending quality time with a hamster before you attempt to cuddle them builds trust and gives it time to recognize you, making it more likely to accept your cuddle.
This won’t happen with strangers because the hamster must be able to learn how you smell and sound.
However, hamsters must feel comfortable around their owners before they allow themselves to be cuddled, which requires the same bonding process as being held.
Using a snuggle sack can help a hamster feel comfortable with being cuddled before you move on to direct contact.
Some hamsters will never like being cuddled, though. Ghost hamsters prefer to remain out of sight and lash out when handled or touched.
How Do I Know My Hamster Likes Being Petted?
If you notice these signs when petting a hamster, you’re doing something right:
Coos and short squeaks are sounds hamsters make when they are happy and content. Also, they make a bruxing sound when they rub their teeth together to signify satisfaction.
Screaming, hissing, and crying are signs of fear and distress. You must stop immediately if you hear any of these sounds when touching your hamster.
Relaxed Facial Features
When hamsters are happy and content while being petted, they relax their facial features and close their eyes or blink. This shows they trust their owners and don’t see them as threats.
If a hamster appears tense and on alert, it’s wary of you and sees you as a predator.
Relaxed Body Posture
When hamsters become relaxed, their bodies go soft and become limp. They sometimes settle down to sleep in their owners’ hands or on their chests while being petted.
A hamster is easiest to handle during this stage, but don’t spook it with sudden movements.
Stroking and handling a hamster is part of the fun of ownership. However, you must only pet the body parts a hamster is comfortable with and move slowly to minimize stress and anxiety.