Can Hamsters Cry?

By Dawn | Hamster Behavior
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Humans communicate their emotions in a complex variety of ways, and as a species, we have learned to understand what these ways mean. When you see someone crying, you know that they are sad, angry, or in pain. But this got me thinking about my hamster; how do I know what he is feeling? Would he cry to let me know he was distressed? For that matter, can hamsters cry at all?

Hamsters do not cry in the same way that humans cry; however, they do have a way of communicating their emotions. You might hear a hamster making various noises such as squeaking or squealing when it is distressed or in pain. 

But what is most exciting about how hamsters cry is that they might make a huge range of noises to let their owners know exactly how they are feeling. Your intelligent pet might be trying to let you know something, so read on to find out what this might be.

Hamster Crying

There is enough evidence to let us know that, much like humans, hamsters have a complex range of emotions. However, unlike us, they are not able to communicate them quite as coherently. 

That being said, it is a lot more difficult for an animal to get across their emotions when they don’t speak English – or any other human language for that matter!

But hamsters are surprisingly smart animals, despite what some people believe, and they do have ways to let other hamsters and their owners know what they are feeling. 

When we think about crying, we think about tears falling from the eyes, short gasps of breath, and sobbing noises. Of course, it would be ludicrous to think of a hamster behaving in this way, simply because they don’t.

But that is not to say that they cannot cry in their own way. 

When a hamster is feeling frightened, distressed, or anxious, they may make a variety of noises. 

Hamsters are pretty noisy animals, for the most part, scurrying around their cage at night and playing noisily during the wee hours of the morning, but they aren’t typically vocal unless there is a problem. 

Should you ever hear your hammy making a noise, this is an indication that something is wrong. 

The noises that a hamster will make tend to be squeaks and squeals, but it is not uncommon for a hamster who is particularly terrified to let out an almighty scream, and this won’t go unnoticed by their owners. 

It is essential that you try to interpret these noises, and if your hamster lets out a single squeak, this may just be a typical sound. 

Conversely, if your pet is repeatedly squeaking, it could be trying to tell you that they are ill or injured. What’s more, your pet may squeak when you handle them, and this is their way of telling you that you need to be more gentle.

Hamsters may also scream, and this is a sound that should not be ignored. For the most part, a scream is a hamster’s way of letting you know that they are terrified. It is then your job to determine why this might be. 

Finally, rather than crying, your pet may hiss. This is typically a warning sound and will be used by the animal when they feel threatened.  This was the case when we first brought our hamster Richmond home from the pet shop, which was a very stressful and frightening situation for him!

If you ignore this hiss and continue trying to interact with your hamster, you may fall victim to a little nip – and a hamster bite can be sharp!

What Other Ways Do Hamsters Communicate?

Making noises or crying in their own way is just one thing that hamsters will do to communicate with their owners and, indeed, other hamsters. 

One of the things that are very common in hamsters is the grinding of the teeth. 

Many pet owners might be fooled into thinking that their pet is doing this to keep their teeth trimmed since they continue to grow and the hamster must gnaw.  However, this is more likely your pet’s way of displaying a warning. 

When they grind their teeth, it will come across as a chattering sound, and your pet may also show their teeth.  This is their way of saying ‘back off and give me some space.’

Another way that hamsters communicate is by freezing. When they are scared, it is instinctual for them to remain still. If you notice that your hamster freezes when you approach them, it is likely that they are scared rather than staying still so that you can pick them up. 

The best thing to do is back away and show them that you mean no harm. 

If you are keeping more than one hamster together in the same cage, especially two males, you might notice that they fight for dominance. In this instance, they will communicate with each other through a series of squeaks and squeals. 

However, if this behavior becomes too aggressive, it might be wise to house the hamsters in separate enclosures to prevent them from physically fighting and injuring one another. 

Do Hamsters Make Happy Sounds?

Humans cry when they are happy as well as when they are sad; this is a reaction to an overwhelming build-up of emotions, and while hamsters may not tear up in the same way that we do, they certainly may make noises to display how they are feeling. 

One of the most common ways that a hamster will let you know that he is content is through a series of short squeaks. This may be somewhat confusing when you think that they might also squeak when they are unhappy but assessing the situation will give you a good idea of why your pet is squeaking. 

But when they are happy, hamsters may also do what is known as bruxing

This is similar to how a cat might purr when it is relaxed and content. But where the hamster is concerned, they will rub his top and bottom teeth together, which emits a clicking sound; if you hear this, you know that you are doing a good job as a pet parent.

Related Questions

Can hamsters get sad?

Scientists have performed studies on hamsters and have determined that it is entirely possible for them to suffer from anxiety and depression. This is most common during the winter months when it is colder and darker. 

Do hamsters like music?

If you are worried about your hamster’s well-being or want to calm him, it is believed that playing music can be beneficial in regulating negative emotions in these animals. 

Why does my hamster stare at me?

Hamsters are always on high alert, so if you startle your pet, there is a chance that they will stare at you. This is similar to how they will freeze when frightened, but it is nothing to be concerned about and is completely normal hamster behavior.