With their round, fluffy, and furry little bodies, it can be especially tempting to hold your hamsters and cuddle with them all the time.
So, you might be wondering, do hamsters like to be held? The answer is, unfortunately, not quite.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t handle your hamster at all. Depending on your pet’s personality, you can train them to be comfortable with being held.
Unlike bigger domesticated pet animals like cats and dogs, hamsters show affection differently. They don’t usually come up to their owners and start getting cozy and cuddly immediately.
Instead, they learn your scent, and they start acting more comfortable toward you. What does this mean, exactly?
Well, for one, when hamsters feel cozier with their owner, they generally start trusting them more.
For example, hamsters who are accustomed to your presence won’t hide when you’re around. They’ll even show off sometimes!
They do this by playing with their toys and running around their enclosures and hamster wheels whenever you’re near. They’ll try to catch your attention by showing off.
With that said, just because hamsters show affection differently doesn’t mean you can never hold them. Some, depending on their personality and how much they trust their owners, actually enjoy being held.
However, this usually doesn’t happen overnight.
If you choose to try and handle your hamster, ensure that you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t harm you or them by following some of the tips below.
Training your hamster makes it easier for them to get accustomed to being handled. Patience is the key to perfecting this tip because it might take a while to do this successfully, especially since it also depends on your pet’s personality.
Hamsters have a natural prey instinct because they’re more on the smaller side of animals. That means they’re more likely to hide and run away when bigger animals—in this case, you—start to get too close.
That said, the first step of training is to get your furry friend used to your voice, your scent, and your touch.
Once they’re comfortable with you and they no longer feel like being held is a threat to their safety, they’re easier to handle, and they might even enjoy it!
If hamsters aren’t trained to be comfortable with handling, their first instinct is to bite. This is why you should let your furry friend come to you.
Offer your hamster treats and slowly lead them to your hands. Let them willingly go to your hands, and never try to pick them up suddenly.
Shocking them might reset all of your progress in trying to get them comfortable with your touch. It could even lead to them having a hard time trusting you again.
If you’re handling a hamster for the first few times, place the treat on your palm and let them explore. Don’t close your hands just yet; let them familiarize themselves with your hand first.
Hamsters can and will bite, especially if they sense danger. Because of their prey instinct, they often use their teeth if they can’t run away from sticky situations.
That said, don’t put them in scenarios where they’ll feel like they’re not safe! To do this, know how to hold them properly.
Never hold a hamster by the tail. Use both hands to form a scoop and let them position themselves on your palms.
To avoid setting your hamster off in a panic, start slow. Once they’re comfortable getting in and out of your palms, try to slowly pick them up, but keep your hand inside their cage.
Once they respond well, slowly adjust the distance until you can safely pick them up and out of their enclosure.
Owners should never bother sleeping hamsters, especially during day time when they’re trying to get their rest. If you startle your pet and suddenly scoop them up, the chances of them biting you increase tenfold—even if you think they’re comfortable with you!
At their core, hamsters still have innate prey instincts. They have a strong tendency to bite if you startle them awake.
Hamsters love the attention and affection of their owners, especially if they share a bond with them. So, in short, yes, hamsters enjoy being petted as long as they’re comfortable with their handlers.
These furry friends generally prefer gentle petting rather than getting picked up and held.
Hamsters like to be petted on their back, much like some of our usual domesticated pets. However, these small rodents are significantly tinier than most of these animals, so remember to pet them with great care and gentleness.
Avoid sudden movements so that you don’t startle them.
So, do hamsters like to be held? Not particularly.
They show their affection differently by showing off and trying to catch your attention. However, this doesn’t mean all doors are closed when it comes to holding them.
With proper training and patience, you can teach your hamster to be comfortable with being held. You just have to ensure that you do it safely.
Remember, these little animals are known for their affinity to biting—especially those who aren’t trained or used to being held.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.