Last Updated on: 24th September 2023, 10:46 pm
Hamsters don’t communicate through speech, and their body language differs from ours. That leaves us to decipher the message a crying hamster attempts to convey.
Despite being incapable of speech, hamsters can still vocalize. Listening to its different sounds is the easiest way to understand a hamster.
Hamsters make several noises, each with a different meaning, but the most distressing noise is crying and whining. So, you need to understand what hamsters are trying to say when they cry.
Do Hamsters Cry?
Hamsters don’t shed tears of sadness. Instead, they produce vocal wails that sound like crying but can’t be overwhelmed with emotions to the point of tears.
Evolutionary experts believe this is due to how nature treats social and asocial animals.
The more social the animal, the more it can express itself. Humans can produce tears of emotion because we’re social creatures that depend on human interaction.
Expressing ourselves by producing visible tears is another way to connect with others.
Hamsters aren’t social creatures, keeping to themselves because they’re highly territorial. They don’t spend much time together other than to mate, so they never evolved to express themselves with tears.
According to Physiology and Behavior, vocalization seems enough for many encounters since it can convey sex, phenotype, and aggression.
Why Does My Hamster Have Tears in Its Eyes?
If a hamster is teary-eyed, it’s either because it’s lubricating its eyes or has an irritated eye. Although hamsters don’t cry emotional tears, they can still produce tears.
A healthy hamster will produce tears to lubricate a dry eye. So, check the humidity level in the room. If the air is too dry, you can get a humidifier.
If the humidity in the room is optimal, check the hamster’s eyes for debris. Dust and hair can get in the eyes, causing the hamster to produce tears to remove anything that shouldn’t be there.
However, frequent crying could mean a hamster has an eye infection.
Why Does My Hamster Sound Like It’s Crying?
Hamsters cry by making a high-pitched wailing sound that almost sounds like a miniature baby crying. Some hamsters even have a croaky cry that sounds like the creak of a rusty door.
Crying is never a positive sign in hamsters, and it could be caused by the following:
Stress and Fear
Hamsters are sensitive creatures that cry when stressed or afraid.
Crying is routine in new hamsters because they get overwhelmed with their new environment. If the hamster is used to you, it’s probably stressed due to something else.
Crying from stress and fear is usually accompanied by negative body language. Hiding and tucking itself away into the corner of its cage signifies that the hamster is terrified of something.
Avoid anything that might scare a hamster, such as keeping others in the same cage. Hamsters bully each other, so each animal needs a separate cage.
If nothing nearby can frighten the hamster, be conscious of your movement. Sudden movements scare hamsters, so slow down to show them you aren’t a threat.
Hamsters cry when in pain, so check for injuries if you see a hamster crying.
Examine the hamster closely without picking it up and try to spot an injury. Pick up the hamster if you can’t see anything from a distance. The most common hamster injuries are as follows:
- Bar rubs from biting cage bars.
- Cuts and abrasions from fighting.
- Broken limbs (fractures) due to falling.
- Broken teeth.
- Muscle strains.
Illness, Infections, and Parasites
Hamsters can feel their body changing, and this distresses them greatly.
They’ll mostly cry out when a health problem is in its early stages. They’ll stop crying to conserve energy once the illness or infection is more advanced.
As hamsters cry when the health problem is hard to detect, many owners miss this red flag. Common illnesses, infections, and parasites that make hamsters cry are:
Why Is My Hamster Crying When Sleeping?
A hamster might cry while sleeping if it’s having a nightmare.
There are no studies on hamsters to determine if they dream. However, University College London stated that when rats sleep, their brain imagines paths toward food they can’t reach.
Although hamsters aren’t rats, they’re part of the order Rodentia and share many similarities.
If you’ve ever watched a hamster sleep, you may find it fidgets and shakes sometimes. If lab rats can dream of finding food in a maze, then who’s to say that a hamster isn’t doing the same?
The crying means a hamster’s dream isn’t a pleasant one.
What Do I Do If My Hamster Is Crying?
If the hamster cries, you should explore the possible causes since context is important.
If the hamster is new, it doesn’t trust you because it’s still getting to know you. With treats and careful handling, the hamster will learn to trust you and stop crying when it sees you.
Crying is normal for the first few days after arriving at its new home.
You should only be concerned if you can hear your hamster crying when you’re not around. It means that neophobia (a fear of new things) isn’t the only thing making the hamster cry.
If the hamster isn’t asleep, slow your movements to avoid frightening it and check for injuries.
If the hamster is alone in its cage, check the room for things that might frighten it, such as a predatory pet staring at its cage constantly or loud noises from a TV.
In a multi-hamster cage, separate the crying hamster and put each in a separate cage.
You can divide the cage, but this should be temporary because hamsters need lots of space. A lack of free space can be just as stressful as getting bullied, so the hamster might not stop crying.