It can be a bit disconcerting when you catch your hamster staring at you. You may just be going about your day, doing nothing in particular, only to notice a pair of tiny eyes looking at you from their cage. What does it mean when a hamster stares at you? Do they need something, or are they just watching you like you would watch TV?
Why Does My Hamster Stare At Me?
Your hamster may want to get your attention by staring at you: they could be hungry, playful, or just want some affection. They could also be watching you back.
Like most pets, hamsters will at times be caught staring at you. They are usually either motivated by a need, are just feeling content and are relaxing by looking at you, or are keeping an eye out for potential threats.
If your hamster is hungry or thirsty, they may be trying to catch your eye and let you know you need to do something about it. If you are doing something interesting in their vicinity, they will observe out of sheer curiosity.
And, despite their size relative to yours, hamsters will also stare at you when they want to protect you. As prey animals, they understand that watching each other’s back is very important. If there are strangers about or if they have heard or sensed something is amiss, they will actively keep watch, to be able to warn you of any danger in time.
They Want Food
Hamsters will stare at you when hungry, or if they just want something to nibble on. You will know this is the case if they jump straight into the meal you serve them. They may also start to talk at you to get your attention.
However, make sure not to give a treat to your hamster every time they stare at you, as they will quickly gain unwanted weight. No matter how cute their gaze is, only feed them the amount of food recommended by a vet or other hamster expert.
They Need Some Water
Hamsters will also try to signal they are out of water by staring at you. If they’ve suddenly had a drinking burst (after working out, for example), they may have run out of water, and now need you to take care of the issue for them.
Check your hamster has plenty of water more or less every hour or so, or when you walk by their cage. If they have a bowl, they may have tipped it over or gotten their food in it, so you will need to clean it up.
Provide fresh food often, especially during the summer months when they can get dehydrated quickly.
They Are Staring at a Potential Threat
Hamsters have extremely astute senses. They can hear and smell things we know nothing about, so if they sense something is going on, they may freeze and stare.
For instance, they may hear a dog in the street. They may hear someone coming through the front door. They may hear something on the TV.
Given the fact they are prey animals, hamsters have learned to keep watch and hide when danger is afoot. Since they are also known for forming deep bonds with their owners, they will stare at you either as a means of feeling safer (i.e. you will protect them), or as a way of protecting you (i.e. they will let you know you need to hide).
They Are Curious
Hamsters and also quite curious little creatures, and will stare at you when you are doing something interesting. It’s just their way of understanding the world around them better.
Don’t forget that what is obvious to you is completely strange to them. If you can, walk up to them and get them involved in the activity. You don’t have to take them out of the cage, just let them sniff and examine the item you may be holding in your hand, for example.
They Are Content
If your hamster seems to be completely relaxed, but is still staring at you, you can take it as a sign of content. Happy hamsters are known to lovingly look at their owner, and yours may just be sending some good vibes your way.
You will know this is the case if your hamster isn’t moving around their cage or listening intently. If it’s just a casual stare, consider it a good sign.
They Want to Play
Hamsters are active animals. When you have more than one, you will notice they seem to spend a whole lot of their time running around and playing.
If they are staring at you, it may mean they want to include you in the fun, or that they want you to give them some kind of toy. This will ideally be something they can chew on.
They Want a Cuddle
Hamsters can also be quite cuddly. They will want your attention, and will sometimes actively stare at you to get it. If you notice their eyes haven’t left you in a while, give them a pet.
A hamster that wants attention may take it to the next level and start squeaking, and you may even be bitten if you have been ignoring them for too long.
They Are Actually Asleep
Hamsters may open one of their eyes during sleep, especially if they’ve heard a noise. This may seem like they are staring at you, but they may in fact be far away in dream land, but aware of their surroundings at the same time.
They Like You
If a hamster likes you, they may just spend some time loving staring at you. It’s similar to what cats do with their owners when they watch them sleep: a stare isn’t always a sign of need, it can be a sign of affection and content.
Due to the size difference, hamsters can be quite scared of humans, and it may take you quite a while to establish a relationship with one. When their slightly cautious stares turn into relaxed ones, you will know they have accepted you and have even started to like you.
Are My Hamsters Staring at Me Because They Think I’m Sick?
It’s highly unlikely your hamsters have picked up on some disease. While they may be able to gauge your mood and behavior, they aren’t adept at making medical diagnoses.
We know that some dogs can detect certain types of cancer in humans. The same is not likely true of hamsters, so you don’t need to worry if your pet is staring at you, it’s not a sign there is anything wrong.
Hamsters will stare at their owners for a variety of reasons, and illness is not likely to be one of them.
Wrapping It Up
Hamsters will stare at their owners for all sorts of reasons. Most likely, they are either trying to grab your attention, or they may just be curious and interested in whatever it is you are doing.