Hamsters are tiny animals that make adorable pets, but they’re also known for being nocturnal and particularly afraid of humans. Such is not always the case, though, because, with proper practice, hamsters can learn to snuggle and get used to human touch.
Here are some of the ways you can get your hamster to sleep on you:
- Remember that the first weeks are crucial.
- Tame your hamster with your voice.
- Familiarize your hamster with your hand.
- Establish trust and connection.
- Try bathtub taming.
- Pick up your hamster.
- Carry your hamster when it’s tired or sleepy.
This article will elaborate on these steps and discuss ways to accommodate your pet’s sleeping schedule. I will also give some helpful tips on training your hamster to snuggle!
Hamsters were originally brought into the United States and turned into pets. That said, training your hamster to enjoy your snuggles might be a bit difficult at first.
However, with constant practice, you’ll find that it is easily attainable as long as you follow the proper steps.
Whether you’re planning to get a hamster or you’ve recently adopted (or bought) one, it’s vital to set up its new area before bringing it home. This includes getting the following:
- Food and water
- Exercise toys
Once you put your hamster into its new environment, the key is to let it adjust and settle alone during the first week.
Remember, you will be taking your hamster away from its recent comfort area. Hence, the hamster might be distressed and will need some time to adjust to new surroundings. It will be best to leave them inside the cage alone, only disturbing them for feeding and cleaning purposes.
Also, make sure that you don’t allow loud noises near their cage. Limiting simulation and contact with your hamster for the first few days will help them settle with less stress.
After a week, you can finally start introducing yourself to your hamster. This also marks the beginning of training your pet to sleep on you!
Hamsters depend primarily on their sense of hearing and smell to recognize their surroundings. By constantly talking (or even singing!) to your hamster, they will be able to recognize your voice after a couple of days as they are extremely sensitive to sound.
Introducing your voice to your hamster before trying to hold them is a great way to make the taming process easier. By doing this, they’ll get used to your voice and learn that you’re not a predator.
Make sure to use a soft voice since their ears are very sensitive to loud noises! Going for a low voice will also make your hamster feel less afraid or threatened by you.
The most critical step in training your hamster to sleep on you is to familiarize them with your hand. There are different ways to achieve this, but the most effective way is through hand-feeding.
- Hand feed your hamster. Prepare a small treat for your hamster, say a sunflower seed or some grains, then give it by placing your hand inside the cage. If you don’t put treats on your hand, your hamster will just ignore it. But if you do, they will come closer, sniff the food, and nibble at it.
- Feed them treats multiple times throughout the day. Do this until they become accustomed to your smell. You can even give your hamster full servings of food from your hand once they’ve gotten used to it.
Remember that at this stage, you should not try to carry your hamster yet as you’re still in the process of introducing yourself to them.
Building trust is vital if you’re aiming to teach your hamster how to snuggle and sleep on you. When you establish a good connection with your hamster, it begins to feel at ease when you are around.
Although it will take some time to learn to trust you, it will be easier to tame your hamster effectively if you have an established relationship.
One way to form trust is by creating a daily routine that involves feeding and playtime. If you spend at least 30 minutes actively taking care of your hamster, they will be happier and more active.
You can also build a connection by enhancing their habitat. Ensure there’s an exercise wheel, some tissue rolls, and other toys to play with.
If you have a bathtub at home, you can maximize its purpose by using it to tame your hamster! Also, according to the Ontario Hamster Club based in North America, hamsters love treats, so utilize them to tame your pet. After all, it’s not healthy for your pet to be caged all the time.
Try the following:
- Spread a towel down the tub’s surface and place in some toys. Just make sure that the tub is dry before putting any stuff in!
- Once everything is set up, remove your hamster from its cage and place it in the bathtub. You can also sit with your hamper in the tub as it runs around and plays with the toys. This step is a helpful way to give your hamster occasional freedom.
- Keep them active. Keep your hamper active and acquaint them with your touch as they play.
Once your hammy is comfortable with your hand being in the cage regularly, try putting a treat on your palm and see if it will climb into your hand. If it does, cup your hamster loosely and slowly lift it while inside the cage.
When holding your hamster, remember to pick them up not more than a couple of inches off the ground. Hamsters are easily startled and might jump from your hand if they get nervous, so it’s essential to foresee this reaction and not lift them high on the first try.
If you keep repeating the process, you should find that your hamster starts to feel comfortable when being held. At this point, you can already carry them higher and for longer periods.
Once your hamster is comfortable with being picked up, it will start to feel safe and become willing to sleep on you. But to achieve this, you’ll first have to understand their sleeping pattern and work your way through it.
The trick is to carry your hamster when it’s tired or sleepy. This can be early in the evening when it starts to wake up or late in the morning when it’s going to bed exhausted from activities. Sit down in a quiet area, stay still, and your hamster will be able to sleep on you in no time.
Finally, avoid carrying your hamster in the middle of its sleep so you don’t disturb its slumber. Doing this might also take away your pet’s trust, which you spent a lot of time building.
According to a study by agricultural scientists Gattermann et al. (2008), hamsters are by nature diurnal. This means they are primarily active during the day in their natural habitat.
Understanding and working with your pet hamster’s sleeping pattern is thus essential in maintaining their health and establishing a close connection with them.
When you learn how many hours and which time of the day your hamster needs to sleep, you’ll also be able to teach them how to sleep on you more effectively without disrupting their daily routine.
On average, hamsters sleep for about 12-14 hours a day. However, this total number of sleeping hours is not done at a go as hamsters naturally follow a polyphasic sleep-wake cycle. This means that they sleep for short durations multiple times per day, splitting 12-14 hours into smaller segments throughout the 24-hour day.
It’s important to remember that sleeping patterns vary depending on the type of your hamster, as different breeds do not follow the same cycle.
Syrian hamsters, for example, tend to stick to their natural pattern the most—being asleep during the day and active at night. Chinese and Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, can be more flexible in terms of sleeping patterns. They can be trained to engage in activities during the day and wake up naturally to play.
Despite the differences in sleeping cycles, one thing that can be applied among all hamster types is that they are most active at dusk and more awake at night.
Changing your hammy’s sleeping pattern might cause them to get distressed and develop poor health.
When a hamster’s sleep is constantly disturbed, there’s a high chance that it will develop crankiness and hostile behavior towards its owner. So, instead of altering their natural sleep cycle, adjusting to it will be a more helpful course of action.
As mentioned earlier, hamsters are in nature crepuscular, which means that they are most active during dusk and dawn. But because different breeds of hamsters follow different schedules, you should know your hamster’s sleep cycle by simply observing them.
Once you learn this, the rule is not to force your schedule into their own and only play with them during their natural waking periods.
In general, hamsters will want to play and move around at night. So here’s what you can do:
- Play with them during the early evening and let them sleep if they feel tired.
- Try cupping them after playing to get them used to your touch.
- Initiate playtime again as soon as they are awake.
If you continue playing with your hamsters during the day, they will be inclined to stay up earlier, then sleep at night once they’re tired from engaging in activities the whole day.
If you do this routinely, chances are they will associate getting up in the morning with more playtime and will change their sleeping cycle on their own.
In practicing this strategy, though, one thing you should never do is wake them up to play as they might get cranky and bite you.
Before you go and start training your hamster to sleep on you, here are some more important tips for you to remember:
Maintaining a routine in terms of your hamster’s feeding and playing time is a great way to establish a connection. Make sure that their sleeping cycle stays the same and that you hand them treats every day.
Once the one-week adjustment period is over, never let a day pass without playing with your hamster or hand-feeding it. By keeping this routine, you’re making it easier and sooner for your pet to trust you.
Even after you’ve successfully trained your hamster to sleep on you, it’s still important to keep snuggling and talking to them. Hamsters are more likely to forget if they are not constantly stimulated, so consistency is essential even after they become tame.
Never forget that it’s normal for the process to take some time. It might take a few days (or even a couple of weeks) to see some progress. Yet, it’s always the owners’ patience that will eventually get the hamster to get tamed.
Depending on various factors, some hamsters might even need months to become friendly. Just be patient, and you will see the result of your hard work in time!
Related Hamster articles:
- How to Find an Escaped Hamster
- What To Do When Your Hamster Dies
- Why Is My Hamster Running Around Like Crazy?
- Can You Get Rabies From a Hamster Bite?
- Why Is My Hamster Itching?
- 450 Square Inch Hamster Cage
Training your hamster to sleep on you might be a tedious process, but it is possible. Even the time it takes for hamsters to become tamed depends on the individual pet, so don’t be disheartened! Some owners may also train their hamsters with different methods than yours, but it’s okay—it all comes down to what works for you and your pet.
Perseverance, constant practice, and gentleness are the keys to success. After all, every hard work will be worth it once you develop a good relationship with your hamster—they will finally learn to snuggle and sleep on you!
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more