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Do hamsters like to be petted?

Bonding time or better to maintain some personal space?

When I was 7 years old, my dad’s brother decided he was going to start breeding and selling hamsters as a side business. Like most children at this age, I was both intrigued and enthralled by the cute little furry critters ????. After much begging and promising to keep my room clean, I finally convinced my mom to let me have one… and I can say that my life was never the same again.

Hamsters are one of the commonly chosen first pets for children. They teach a sense of responsibility for the animal’s care and a respect for the handling of them as well. However, I often stopped to wonder: Do hamsters like to be petted? The simple answer is yes, they do like being petted. There are some considerations when petting hamsters. We’re going to explore those here. 

Hamsters both desire and thrive on the affection they receive from their owners, but it has to be on their terms. They only enjoy being touched at certain times, in a specific manner, and under various circumstances.

Petting a hamster can go a long way to establish a deep, meaningful bond as well.

The thing to remember about petting your hamster is that it can’t be done all the time or under all conditions.

It is imperative to keep in mind that when petting your hamster, you want them to enjoy the physical contact as much as you do. Also be sure it is in a manner that gives them a feeling of security, without causing fear or harm.

How To Pet Your Hamster

There is no specific formula on how to pet your hamster. But there are a few points and guidelines that will make the experience one your hamster will enjoy.

Your hamster is both a delicate and sensitive creature, making it essential to be mindful of the care that you give it. When handling your hamster, it is best to cup it in the palm of your hand.

Then take your first and middle finger, and gently run them down your hamster’s back, using both light and delicate strokes.

It is crucial that you make sure that you avoid pressing down too hard and refrain from making sudden or swift moves. These will only serve to scare and upset your hamster.

The main thing to remember is that you need to pet your hamster very carefully. It’s often suggested that the first few days that you have your hamster, you keep physical contact to a minimum. The reason being is so that it may have the time it needs to adapt to its new and strange surroundings.

Hamster Petting 101

When you start to handle your hamster, do so slowly and with much care. It is best to introduce your hamster to the idea of being petted slowly and in steps.

When you are playing with or feeding your hamster, you can take the opportunity to lightly stroke its back. When doing so, watch closely for physical indications to see just how the hamster reacts to your touch.

Make sure that when you approach your hamster, you use slow moves that are not sudden or jerky. Also, refrain from approaching it at an angle that will both startle or frighten it.

Watch for any signs that might indicate that your hamster does not like the petting process. There’s no need to cause undue stress.

How To Tell If Your Hamster Likes The Petting

Hamsters are intelligent creatures. Unfortunately, they can’t tell us if they like the petting or not. It reminds me of when my kids were babies. I would think, I wish they could just tell me what’s wrong!

But as with any animal, there are a few signs you can look for that indicate that your hamster is enjoying itself.

If you find that your hamster reacts to your petting in the same manner as they do when given a treat, offering chirping and squeaking sounds, then you can rest assured that you’re making them happy.

There is also the fact they appear to be relaxing both their face and their bodies then you are on the right track.

Happy white hamster being petted in a cage with an open door

Much like other pets, when petted a hamster may close their eyes or wiggle their ears in a display of sheer delight. Once your hamster is accustomed to you petting them, they may actually begin to lay in your hands in an effort to let you know they want you to continue the petting and cuddling.

If your hammy would prefer to not be pet, there are clear signs. These include hissing and sharp squeaking as well as biting, clawing, and nipping. Excessive squirming and running from your approach are also reliable indicators that petting is not currently desired ????

Like with most anything in life, your hamster has to be eased into the routine of being petted.


Hamsters generally enjoy attention and affection. But just like us humans, sometimes they’d prefer a little alone time. First, know how to properly pet and handle a hamster. Then lookout for the signs of enjoyment (or not so much). The key is being sensitive to their needs in the moment and listening to what your hamster friend is telling you with their behaviors.

If you practice patience and put in your due diligence, it will be no time at all before you will be successfully petting and bonding with your furry friend.


Pets on Mom.com – Where Do Hamsters Like to Be Petted

Wikihow – How to Play With a Hamster