Perked ears, waving hands, hissing… do you know what these actions mean in “hamster speak”? Read on for tips on how to interpret your hamster’s actions.

Is he waving at me?
Your hamster may seem to be waving hello, but he’s really exploring with his senses. Since he doesn’t have good eyesight, he relies on his senses of smell, hearing touch and taste. To do that, it helps to stand on his hind legs and wave his front paws a little.

Hiss, hiss or stay away
As you may have guessed, a hissing hamster is not a happy hamster. In this case, he’s feeling aggressive or is afraid. Take it as the warning it is and leave him alone for a while.

I’m watching you
You know that cute pose when your hamster stands on his hind legs and seems to be begging? He’s not begging. He’s watching… intently. This watchful pose might precede aggression or nipping, so it’s a good time to step back and watch him before approaching.

It’s grooming time
Just as you might enjoy a soothing bath, your hamster grooms himself when he’s calm and at peace. He won’t want to be interrupted at this moment, so just let him enjoy himself. If he grooms excessively, however, it may point to a skin issue or other problem and should visit a vet.

Watch the ears
As a naturally curious creature, your hamster may often keep his ears perked forward. It helps him explore and shows his interest. If his ears are flattened back, he may be fearful or aggressive and will want to be left alone.

Take the time to learn your hamster’s body language and you’ll find yourself able to read him more easily and enjoy your time with him.