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Since hamsters are often silent, it can be strange when you first hear them squeak. Hamsters squeak to communicate, but what are they trying to tell you? Should you be concerned if your hamster squeaks a lot?
Usually, hamsters squeak at you when they need attention, but they may also squeak if they are annoyed, or if they are happily playing. If your hamster squeaks a lot, however, they could be very stressed or sick, in which case you should take them to the vet.
How can you tell what kind of squeak your hamster is making? Let’s take a closer look at the different reasons why hamsters squeak, as well as when they do it.
The Top Three Reasons Why Hamsters Squeak
Typically, hamsters do not squeak very much at one time. Brief squeaks are used to convey the three following types of information:
1. Your Hamster Needs Attention
The most common reason why hamsters squeak is to let you know that they need something. Your hamster may just want you to spend some time with them and let them out of their cage, or they may require water, food, or a cage cleaning.
Hamsters also need a lot of stimulation to prevent them from getting bored, so a squeak for attention could be a sign that you should switch out some of the toys in their cage, or place them in a hamster ball so they can safely explore new areas for a while.
Please note that if your hamster is squeaking out of boredom and you do nothing to remedy it, there is a good chance that they will attempt to escape from their cage, and they can be hard to find once they have done so. Many hamsters are named Houdini for this very reason!
2. Your Hamster Is Annoyed
If your hamster only seems to squeak consistently at you or other hamsters, they are probably annoyed. In this case, squeaking is the hamster’s way of telling the target—you or other hamsters—to leave them alone.
On the bright side, hamsters generally only squeak in annoyance prior to being socialized. Once a hamster has gotten used to their cage and any other hamsters you may already have, they should stop squeaking.
Keep in mind that if your hamster keeps squeaking in annoyance, you may be doing something that they dislike. Other signs of annoyance include hissing or puffing themselves up.
3. Your Hamster Is Happy
You may also notice that your hamster squeaks when you give them a scratch in their favorite place, or when you give them a tasty treat. These little squeaks are a sign that your hamster is happy and even excited.
Some species of hamster that are often kept together, particularly dwarf hamsters, tend to squeak out of happiness when they start playing, or even when they first see each other after spending a little time apart. Like us, they are enthusiastic about seeing their friends!
Your hamster is definitely happy if the squeaks are accompanied by stretches and yawns.
Is It Bad If Your Hamster Squeaks A Lot?
Hamsters are typically quiet creatures, and if they are squeaking a lot, this means that something is wrong, although it may not be serious.
Hamsters squeak a lot for these reasons:
1. Your Hamster Could Be Stressed
Your hamster could be squeaking a lot because they have a need that is not being addressed, which causes stress. If it gets really bad, the squeaks may become squeals, though they will probably attempt to escape prior to getting that stressed.
Make adjustments until your hamster is no longer stressed, which could include offering more toys or cleaning their cage more frequently.
2. Your Hamster Could Be Sick
If nothing seems to be soothing your hamster and they continue to squeak a lot, they might be sick. Hamsters are prone to stomach problems, especially if they have experienced stress. Frequent squeaks could also be an indicator of respiratory issues.
Take your hamster to the vet when all else fails to see if they can identify what is wrong.
So long as you pay attention to the context of your hamster’s squeaking, you will be able to understand what they are trying to tell you.
Brief squeaks are the most common, and these often mean that your hamster needs something, they are annoyed, or they are happy. However, if your hamster squeaks a lot, they are probably stressed or possibly sick. See a vet if you cannot soothe your hamster.