Hamster Behaviours Explained

by Hamster Care

Hamster behaviours explained

Did you know that hamsters communicate in a variety of ways, ranging from body language and scent messages to various sounds, some of which are too high pitched for humans to hear? Understanding whether your hamster is happy, scared, curious, or annoyed can help you provide them with everything they require to live their best hamster lives.

As a pet parent, you must understand your hamster’s behaviours and be able to recognize when something is wrong. While hamsters are generally a timid species (as prey animals, their instinct is that everything is out to get them), each hamster is an individual with their own distinct personality, and learning all about them, especially what makes them happy, can be a lot of fun. This is especially true when it comes to taming your hamster.


Normal hamster behaviours

The hamster behaviours listed below are completely normal, so if you see your pet doing any of them, everything is fine in the hamster house.

  • Being active at night

Have no fear if your hamster is awake and running around their habitat at night – this is a sign of a happy hamster. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means they are more active at night and less active during the day. They are extremely active and will work out for three to four hours each night.

  • Chewing things

Chewing behavioir in hamsters allows these small animals to grind their teeth. Because hamster teeth are constantly growing, provide them with approved chewing materials. They can chew on things like wooden blocks or crunchy food.

  • Stuffing their cheeks

Hamsters carry and store food in their cheek pouches, which can hold up to 50% of their body weight. The cheek pouches are used to transport food, bedding, and sometimes their young. They will take their cheek pouches filled with food back to their burrow or special hiding place and empty the pouches into their food store.

  • Burrowing and hiding

Hamsters instinctively burrow or hide to protect themselves and stay safe. This is their method of evading danger. When they need to rest, they usually go into hiding. This is how they stay safe while sleeping.


Abnormal hamster behaviours

The following are signs of a sick hamster. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Hibernating

If the temperature in a hamster’s environment drops suddenly, the hamster may go into hibernation, which is normal for wild hamsters but not for pets. This often happens at a temperature of around 41°F (5°C). To keep a healthy pet, the habitat of a hamster should be kept at normal household temperatures: up to 80°F (26°C).

  • Lacking of energy

Hamsters are active and energetic animals, so if yours is acting sluggish, take them to the vet right away. Hamsters do not show symptoms of illness until they are severely ill.

  • Neither eating nor drinking

A healthy hamster should have a healthy appetite, so if your hamster isn’t eating or is refusing food, there could be a problem. Because they are so small, even a few hours without eating or drinking can cause them to become dehydrated.

  • Not chewing

If you notice your hamster’s teeth are misaligned or overgrown, and you don’t see them chewing on a regular basis, you should contact your veterinarian right away.

  • Unusual hiding

Hamsters do burrow and hide, but it’s usually when they’re getting ready to sleep. If your hamster is constantly hiding during regular awake or play periods, this could indicate anxiety or stress. If a cat (or other animal) is constantly watching them, they may do this.


Other behaviours to look out for

  • Bedding burrowing: This means your hamster is happy and digging around, possibly looking for a snack they buried earlier.
  • Watching you with ears erect: This indicates that your pet is relaxed but curious about what’s going on.
  • Ears back and eyes narrowed: This is a sign of suspicion – they believe something is wrong and may need to flee and hide.
  • Ears forward, cheek pouches puffed up, and mouth open: Your hamster is scared of something; try to identify and remove the source of their stress, whether it’s loud noises or other pets getting too close to their enclosure.
  • Standing on their hind legs with their front paws raised: Your hamster is indicating that they are threatened and may become aggressive if you do not back off – this may be accompanied by teeth chattering.
  • Stretching their limbs: Your hamster appears to be content with life.

If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!

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By HamsterCareTip.Com

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