by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Can Hamsters Hiss?
You just brought home your baby hamster and you want to take him out to play, but a strange noise emits from him. Maybe you have had your hamster a while and brought him a new friend he's reacting strangely to. Is your hamster hissing? My kids own two hamsters, one from a rescue situation. It is definitely possible for a hamster to hiss. So what does it mean?
Look at your hamster's body language. When your hamster makes the hissing sound, what else is he doing? A hamster who hisses may be posed in a different stance than usual. He may also be baring his teeth, growling, raising up his paws, or making other unusual sounds. Paying attention to your hamster's reactions can help you prevent the hissing in the future. Usually a hissing hamster is feeling scared, nervous, or threatened.
Consider the situation. If you just brought your hamster home, she needs some time to get used to her home and then to you. What is going on at the moments when your hamster hisses? If you are trying to interact with her, give her some time. Is there another hamster or animal nearby? You should not have other animals near your hamster. Some hamsters can safely live together if introduced a a young age, but many prefer solitude. They can be extremely territorial. While we have two hamsters, they have separate cages. The cages are side by side, so they can watch each other. Some hamsters like this type of setup, but prefer their own cage.
Does my hamster hate me? Not necessarily. It can take time for a hamster to get used to its owner. This may take days or even a couple months. Your hamster hissing directly at you is not something you want. But if you treat him right, given time, he will no longer do this. Unless you are abusing your hamster, the hissing is more a sign of nervousness and feeling threatened than it is of hate. Just give your fur baby time to get used to you and most likely the hissing will begin to fade.
Is the housing situation safe and comfortable? Perhaps your hamster is not hissing at you, but at something she is uncomfortable with. Remember that just like human babies, your hamster cannot talk to you to indicate an issue. All she can do is squeak or hiss to express her thoughts. Is there anything in the cage your hamster does not like? Is she being bothered by a person or another animal? Have you housed your hamster with one or more from another breed or family? Unless hamsters are born in the same litter or introduced at a very young age, they do not usually get along well. Especially do not mix different hamster breeds in the same hamster cage. They are almost guaranteed to fight, which can include hissing but will likely be even more violent.
How can I stop my hamster from hissing? When you bring your hamster home, allow a couple days for your furry friend to get used to his new habitat before handling him. After he has a normal routine with eating, drinking, and nesting, you can then begin to interact more with him. Talk to him softly through the cage at various intervals throughout the day, including when you feed him, change the cage, and more. He may hiss during this time period, especially if you move too quickly. First try petting him while he is distracted by eating. Do this slowly and with a gloved hand. Eventually, you will also be able to pick him up. Always do this with a gloved hand until you are sure the hamster will not bite you. While hamster bites do not hurt much, they can cause you to jump or jerk your hand, which may hurt or scare your hamster.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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