Why Your Hamster Is Squeaking (& What To Do About It)

Why Hamsters Squeak

Hamsters are generally quiet animals, but squeaking is one way that they will communicate with you and with one another. If you hear squeaking coming from your hamster’s cage, don’t panic – there are many things that your hamster may be trying to convey, and they are not all causes for concern. 

Why is your hamster squeaking? Hamsters may squeak when they are stressed, in distress, injured or ill, feeling defensive or aggressive, or scared. They may also squeak to get your attention and to express happiness or excitement. Females may squeak when they are in heat. Any time you hear squeaking from your hamster, you should investigate the cause. 

Read on to learn more about why your hamster may be squeaking and what you can do about it.

Hamsters May Squeak When Stressed

When a hamster is in a state of stress, you may hear squeaking from them. Your hamster may be stressed if you have recently moved them into a new cage, if you have left them outside of their enclosure for longer than they are comfortable, or if they are cold or hot. They may also experience stress if their water or food has gotten too low or if they are bored and need stimulation

If your hamster is squeaking because they are stressed, you will want to get to the root of the problem. If they are stressed because you have moved them, give them ample quiet time to get acclimated to their new environment, leaving them alone for the most part while they get comfortable.

Otherwise, you will want to look into their behavior and environment to find out if they are not having a physical need (temperature, food, water) met or a mental need (toys or chewing opportunities) met – if this is the case, you can usually provide a solution easily by adding to or changing their environment.

Hamsters May Squeak When In Distress

If a hamster is in distress, it will squeak loudly and continually for help. For example, this may happen if your hamster becomes stuck or trapped somewhere or if a young one is separated from its mother. A hamster experiencing panic or extreme anxiety will call out loudly until her situation is resolved.

If you hear a sudden, loud squeaking coming from your hamster, go to them immediately. Hamsters are curious and quick creatures who are also lacking in good eyesight. This can lead them to find themselves in all sorts of trouble. If your hamster needs help immediately, you will probably know by the panicked squeaking. 

Hamsters May Squeak When They Are Not Feeling Well

Injury or illness are common reasons your hamster may be squeaking. Because of their curious natures and their poor eyesight, as referenced above, hamsters can find themselves injured rather easily. This is especially true in the case of falling from any significant height – hamsters lack depth perception and will walk right off of a platform (or your hand), unaware of the distance from which they are off the ground.

Hamsters, while generally hardy, can also become ill with parasitic, bacterial, or even viral infections. If your hamster is not well due to an injury or an illness, they may communicate this by squeaking in pain.

Any time your hamster is persistently squeaking, you should give them an examination. If you see an obvious injury, you will want to care for it in a manner appropriate to the severity. Some smaller injuries you can care for at home; larger injuries or suspected fractures will need to receive veterinary care right away.

Likewise, by the time a hamster is communicating pain because of an illness, that illness is likely advanced, and a trip to the veterinarian is advised. 

Hamsters May Squeak When Feeling Defensive (or Aggressive)

A hamster who is facing a real or a perceived threat will squeak, as will a hamster who has been attacked by another. Hamsters are one of nature’s truly solitary animals, and they almost always prefer to live alone.

This is especially true of Syrian hamsters and is often the case with dwarf hamsters. When a hamster is approached by another, he may squeak to express dominance and a warning to stay away.

This is really a defensive behavior, though may be interpreted as aggression. If the other hamster does not back off, an altercation may follow, in which case you will likely hear loud squeaking from both parties. 

Your hamsters will not fight one another if they are not housed together. The most effective and ideal way of preventing a situation like this is to keep your hamsters housed alone. Hamsters do not become lonely – this is a human trait that is often projected onto hamsters.

Some dwarf hamsters can be successfully housed together in same-sex pairings or groups, and if you would prefer to try this, introducing young hamsters very slowly and patiently will give you the best chance at success.

If you have hamsters living together, no matter the length of time, make sure to supervise carefully for evidence of physical altercations and make corrections as necessary. Some previously amicable pairings can turn territorial without warning.  

Hamsters May Squeak When Being Held

Your hamster will likely squeak when you first start picking them up and holding them. If this happens, you can assume that this is out of fear and a sign that you should take things more slowly. Additionally, some hamsters (like Roborovskii dwarf hamsters) simply do not enjoy being held – these guys may squeak when picked up not out of fear but to express their displeasure.

If your new hamster is squeaking every time you pick them up, go back to the basics and start over. Start by placing your hand in the cage. Once they are used to that, cup your hands inside of her cage and wait for them to climb inside of them.

Once they do, slowly and securely bring them out of the cage for short periods of time before carefully placing them back in the enclosure. You can gradually build up the time they are in your hands until they are no longer scared.

If you have a hamster who is comfortable with you but just does not enjoy being held, it is always best to respect your pet. If you try going back to the basics and are not successful in getting him receptive to being held, you may need to accept that you have a pet best suited for observation and not interaction. 

Female Hamsters May Squeak When In Heat

Going into heat can make some female hamsters feel irritable and cranky. Remarkably, female hamsters go into heat every four days, for a few hours at a time. If you have a female hamster who seems to squeak out of irritation every few days, her cycle may be to blame.

If you have a Syrian hamster, you may also notice a pungent, musky odor during this time as well, which will give you another indicator of the reason behind her squeaking and irritability.

If you have a hamster who is especially sensitive as her cycle approaches, you will need to be patient with her. If you would like to interact with her and she is not receptive, give her a break before trying again.

While the estrus cycle of a hamster is extremely short, it will likely only last for a few hours before her hormone levels change yet again. Younger hamsters can be more sensitive to these changes, and as your hamster ages, you may find yourself no longer noticing these cycle squeaks and behavior changes.

Hamsters May Squeak When Excited

I told you not all squeaking is bad – your hamster may also be squeaking because they are happy and excited. These are usually very short squeaks (and only once or twice) and will accompany behavior that shows they are relaxed or excited.

For example, if your hamster has a favorite treat and they can smell that as you are approaching their cage, they may let out one or two quick squeaks as they run to the door of the enclosure.

They may also let out a little squeak if they are sitting quietly and relaxed on your lap after looking around or grooming themselves. These are, of course, the best hamster squeaks – and the cutest. 

Diagnosing Your Hamster’s Squeaking

As you can see, there are several possible reasons behind your hamster’s squeaking, some of them more obvious than others. The more time you spend with your hamster, either by observing him or interacting with him, the easier it will be for you to decipher the meaning behind your hamster’s various vocals.

If your hamster’s squeaking seems excessive and you cannot determine the cause, you should always seek the advice of a veterinarian or other experienced professional. The last thing you want to do is ignore one of your hamster’s only ways of communicating with you, especially if your pet is hurt, sick, or otherwise in distress.

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