The scared hamster is a reaction meme featuring a hamster standing against a corner with a gaping mouth and tiny hands in a defensive position, a look which to humans mean “startled” or “scared”.
The image is frequently used to react to stories or other images that are horrifying, or downright disgusting.
It can also be seen as a meme in itself, with a caption that would generally bring out such a fear-filled reaction.
Just like any pet meme, it is particularly funny because it is not human, so such a humanoid reaction is rarely seen.
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The origin behind the image is much less shocking than it looks.
In fact, the hamster’s hooman was just in the process of changing the pet’s kibble dish when the hamster got severely startled.
The owner made a video at just the right time, and decided to share it on Twitter for others to enjoy, with the caption “This is a video of a hamster screaming at me because I’m trying to change his food.”
This happened back in June 2016, and the video got tremendous attention.
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It was the very same person who started the “scared hamster” meme as well, but under the new Twitter name @dattebanyan.
She took a screenshot from the video and captioned it “Back when I worked at petsmart I took this picture of this hamster who literally screamed every time I tried to feed him and omfg I’m crying”.
Others responded by various photoshopped versions of the hamster, and when Reddit user daviddefnitely shared it in r/funny, the hamster’s fame went to the moon and back.