If you’re wondering what your hamster’s trying to say, let me help you crack the code. I listened to my own hamster’s sounds, and checked with other hamster owners to see what each of these sounds mean.
Now, we all know hamsters are very quiet creatures and barely make any sounds, at all. But when they do, you might be at a loss for what they mean. Let’s look into that.
Usual hamster noises
While hamsters don’t really make a lot of noise, the ones they do make are important to know. They’re not as immediately obvious like a cat purring, or a dog growling. But they all have a specific meaning.
Sadly some of them aren’t very well researched, and one sound can mean many things, depending on the context.
This is a sound you might hear fairly often from your hamster. It’s either a positive or a negative one, depending on the situation. What is clear though, is that the hamster is reacting strongly to something, and his opinion is very important and needs to be heard.
My Teddy does this (weirdly) when he sleeps. He starts squeaking in the middle of his sleep (only every few weeks or so) and I can see he’s only half awake, moving his nest’s bedding around, rearranging himself better in bed.
I think it’s funny, how he wakes up like a grumpy old man and turns on his side and mutters himself back to sleep.
I also think it’s a bit alarming, since I don’t know what the reason for that is. He’s done it when the house was quiet, when we had guests, when the light was both on and off, it never mattered.
As for exactly what it sounds like, it’s a bit like a rubber duck. A very small, angry rubber duck. It sounds a lot like someone just insulted Teddy and he’s too shocked to do anything but ”hmph’ back.
I’ve seen and heard other hamsters do this when exploring their habitat, getting new food, finding a new smell, etc. It’s a reaction, a strong one, but it’s not always a good or bad one. I think it really depends on the context of that specific moment.
My Teddy is a champion at this, and I’m not sure why. Hamsters only click their teeth when they’re annoyed by something, and/or agitated. As in, so jittery and feverish in their clicking that handling them is not an option.
Hamsters will also click their teeth at each other as a sign to keep their distance.
My Teddy is a lone hamster, and he has a big enough cage. When he was younger he used to click his teeth every now and then and take it out on the cage bars. I’m thinking his immense energy made him jittery sometimes, and he had those weird moments.
If your hamster is clicking his teeth at you, well, stay away. Give him some space, and come back later when he’s calmed down.
But if he’s clicking his teeth even if you’re not there, it’s not you he’s mad at. He’s just very jittery and again should not be handled, since he will not stay put at all.
Think of teeth clicking in hamsters, the way you’d think of tail swishing in cats. Never a good sign, and they’re impatient when they get like that.
This is something I hope no one has to hear, ever. This is never a good sound, and it will tear right through you. It’s a lot like a scream, with the mouth closed. Hamsters only make this sound when they’re very very angry or annoyed or in pain.
For example a neighbor came once, with his little girl. Said he wanted to show her the hammy, and she was very curious. I told him Teddy isn’t very friendly but we can try if I hold him for her.
Well, when Teddy was in my hands and the little girl tried to pet him, Teddy started hissing and thrashing, wanting back in his cage. You see, he’d never met the little girl, and hamsters are very very bad with stress, and people they don’t know.
If you’re chasing a young, new hammy in your room because you dropped him, this might be a sound you’ll hear. He’s not happy being chased, and he’s more than a bit shocked and upset.
You will also hear this sound from your Dwarf pairs, when they start fighting. Sometimes it might not get very loud, but it can happen.
I’ve never heard my teddy do this, but other hamster owners have told be about hamster cooing. It’s a very soft, vibrating sort of sound. They’re not necessarily scared or angry, but it’s a sound they make when they’re content.
Not many people have heard this sound, but I;m leaving it here anyway, in case your hamster does this. Knowing your hammy isn’t the only weirdo is kind of comforting.
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Reading your hamster’s body language
Alright, if you were curious about hamster sounds, I’m guessing you’re trying to get to know your hamster better. That’s great, and body language is a large part of understanding what your hamster’s trying to say.
Standing up on his hind legs
Hamsters do this when they get curious about something, and they want to hear things out. They can also freeze in this position, sometimes even for 2 whole minutes.
It’s something hamsters do fairly often, since they would have to do this in the wild every few minutes to check for predators. You can find out more about hamsters freezing here.
This is normal behavior, and the hamster isn’t scared.
Mouth open, ears back, fur ruffled
The hamster is trying to intimidate, and is getting ready for a fight. I’ve seen this in Teddy by accident a few times. Like when I leaned over his cage to get something and he saw that as a threat, when I looked down at him he was making himself very big.
When that happens, lower yourself to eye-level with the hamster. Not just your head, your entire body. Hamsters feel threatened by creatures bigger than them, so try to make yourself very small. Talk to him softly until he calms down. Try feeding him a treat to help things along.
If you’re trying to introduce 2 hamsters and they take this stance, it’s a sign they won’t be getting along very well.
Rubbing his hips or belly on something
This is the hamster simply marking his territory. Syrian hamsters have a scent gland on each hip, while Dwarf types have one on their belly.
The hamster will use his scent gland to mark when he believes is his.
This is like the human equivalent, and it’s both cute and terrifying. The hamster will stumble out of his nest and take a couple of steps before stretching all his limbs, and curling his tail back. That’s cute, and he’s huggable and fluffy then.
He also yawns when he stretches, which reveals a gaping maw of teeth and the entrance to his cheek pouches. It looks awful and he is neither huggable nor fluffy.
Flattening his body, very slowly
This I am not very sure, since no one I’ve talked to or asked ever agreed on this. The hamster will mind his own business, as always, nothing exciting or extra boring happening. Then he will slowly, in slow motion, start to lay down completely flat and seem to fall asleep, wherever he is.
Teddy’s done this in the corner of the cage – not curled up, but lying there like a bearskin rug. He’s also done it in his tunnel, he’s done it in the middle of the cage.
And I have no answer for why he did this. He’s conscious and aware I’m there. He opens his eyes and looks at me if I tap the cage. But he goes back to sleep ( is it sleep ?) after a few seconds.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters don’t make too many sounds, but the ones we do make are pretty important. It’s just that sometimes we’re secretive with what they mean.
If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.