Hamsters are cute, expressive, and active animals but can also be hard to communicate with. There are many questions new hamster owners have. Beginner hamster owners may take time to get to know their own pets and vice versa for hamsters learning to trust their new caretaker.
Spending time to observe and get to know your hamster pet will make the transition from the pet store to your home easier. It might take a while, but it’s a vital part of the hamster-owner relationship.
There are many mistakes new hamster owners make. Often it’s about basic necessities hamsters need, such as choosing the right cage, food, bedding, and knowing hamster behaviour. This article will answer the question, “why is my hamster always sleeping”.
We will discuss the reasons, what you can do, and at what point you should be concerned with the amount your hamster spends sleeping.
HOW MUCH SHOULD A HAMSTER SLEEP
Hamsters need about 12-14 hours each day. However, they don’t get this in one sleep cycle. Hamsters wake up and often do something else. After all, they are crepuscular animals. When they wake up, a hamster will run, eat, play, and do bathroom business.
A hamster will go to sleep before dawn and wake up before or after dusk. Sometimes, it will wake up in the middle of sleep as well.
WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER WAKE UP YOUR HAMSTER
Hamsters are naturally aggressive and nervous animals. If you forcefully wake up your hamster, this will put a strain on your relationship. A disturbed hamster from sleeping will be aggressive and irritated, raising the chance of them biting you if you try to hold or pick them up.
Another thing to remember, in the wild, hamsters woke up because of a threat invading their living quarters. So, every time you wake up a hamster from sleep, you are basically telling them something is wrong, there’s danger.
Simply imagine yourself every time your sleep is disturbed by either loud noise like TV, music, construction nearby, or simply someone who wants attention. It’s annoying, right?
WHY IS MY HAMSTER ALWAYS SLEEPING
Sleep is obviously essential for hamsters. However, too much sleep can be a sign of something serious. Hamsters being territorial and liking their space and own company makes things harder to tell when they feel unwell.
Hamsters are noctural and crepuscular animals. Nocturnal means they are awake and most active at night and asleep during the day. Crepuscular is more like a twilight thing – their activity is somehow related to twilight.
This is one of the reasons why a hamster is not a great classroom pet or pet for kids. Classrooms are too loud and bright for hamsters who only want to sleep during day time. While young children would want a pet they can interact with during the day.
The reason why hamsters have this unusual sleeping cycle is because of their life, not the wild. Being such tiny animals, they are more of prey animals. Animals such as reptiles and even birds hunt during the day. So, hamsters rather hide and sleep during daylight and then collect food and secure their home at night.
ALSO READ: Are hamsters good pets
Still adapting to a new home
If you just brought your hamster home, it will take time for them to get used to the new environment. If you don’t see your hamster that often, it doesn’t mean they are asleep. They could just be busy marking and leaving their scent around the cage and getting familiar with where everything is located.
Also, your hamster hasn’t learned to trust you yet. So, every time you approach their cage, they would go run and hide and prefer to be in tight, narrow, and dark spaces because that’s where they feel safer.
Suppose your hamster is sleeping more than usual, for example. In that case, if your hamster is often awake and playing around at 7 in the evening and then ready to go out for playpen time at 8 pm but then it’s been a few days and they seem to be not doing any of these, it might be something more serious.
Hamsters suffering from a wet tail, broken limbs, infection, pregnancy, and even some fur loss can cause them to sleep more than usual. If it’s been 2-3 days since you were able to interact with your hamster, it’s best to check up on them to make sure everything is alright.
Changed sleeping habit
While this is not recommended, hamsters will be forced to change their sleeping habit, especially if the room where the cage is located is too bright or too loud for them to enjoy sleeping.
One more reason why my hamster is always sleeping is when they simply want to hide away. This was super common, especially when there were significant environmental changes, such as deep cleaning of the cage and the room or corner where the cage is suddenly too bright or loud.
If you have hamster multiple hamsters in one cage, the hamsters who are less aggressive might feel better hiding instead of playing on the wheel or the tunnels to avoid a fight with other hamsters.
SOLUTIONS IF YOUR HAMSTER IS ALWAYS SLEEPING
If your hamster is sleeping way too much than usual, here are the things you can do to make sure everything is alright with your pet and there’s nothing too serious happening here.
Do not disturb your hamster
It’s super vital that you do not, in any circumstance, wake your hamster up. Even if they are currently under medication, hamsters usually wake up every 2-3 hours anyway, so just wait until they wake up naturally before giving their medication.
Not only will this sour their mood, but also they will start to resent you and not want to spend time with you.
Leave your hamster for 1-2 weeks
If you have a new hamster, leave them alone for 1-2 weeks so it can settle down, spend its time getting to know its new home, and leave its scent all over the place to feel at home. Only approach the cage when refilling the food bowl, handling treats and food, and replenishing water.
Lure with treats
If you feel like your hamster hasn’t been out in a while and are worried that they might feel unwell, you can use their favourite treats to lure them out. But do it only when you know they are awake but prefer to hide inside.
Luring them out will give you the opportunity to check if they are okay (i.e no broken legs, wet tail, fur loss, or eye infection happening). With my hamster, I usually shake the packet of their favourite treat (dried mealworm), and she would come running.
If your hamster didn’t come out but usually would do, they might be sick and too unwell to get up.
Contact the vet
If you suspect that your hamster is ill and there’s no home remedy that you can do, it might be best to contact an exotic vet who can help you diagnose your hamster. If you are taking your pet to the vet, ensure a secured and comfortable vet carrier or transport cage.
Earn their trust
Your hamster might not be sleeping all this time, but simply scared of you. Don’t worry, there’s a solution to this – tame your hamster and earn their trust. Taming a hamster will reduce the chance of them biting you. It will also allow you to introduce your scent to them and get them familiarised with you.
In this way, you can build their trust and let them know how to fear you every time you come near their cage.
Move the cage
If your hamster’s cage is located in the living room with loud TV, music, and even people chatting, it’s best to move the cage and place it in a quieter room. The same goes if the room is too bright. Hamsters like to sleep in a darker and quieter area which is the environment where they feel safer.
In this way, your hamster can enjoy their nocturnal sleep and be awake at their natural body clock. Personally, I like to place my hamster’s cage inside my bedroom so she can sleep during the day when I’m not using it. I also placed a silent wheel so she won’t disturb me while I sleep.
If you have multiple hamsters in one cage and they are nearing six weeks old or starting to fight, it’s best for everyone if you separate them and give them their own cages and space. This will let them sleep peacefully in their own comfortable cage without other hamsters bothering them.
Due to their unusual sleeping schedule, hamsters may not be suitable for young children as pets and definitely not a fit for a classroom pet. A hamster sleeping during the day is normal, they usually wake up around 5-6 pm and go to bed around 6-7 in the morning.
Waking up a hamster is not a good idea, which can cause them to be aggressive and irritated. To ensure that your hamster will have a good sleep cycle, place the cage in a quiet, cool, and darker part of the room.
If your hamster is sleeping more than usual, make sure to check on them to see if they are feeling unwell.
I hope that you find this article helpful and that we answered your question, “why is my hamster always sleeping”. If you have some tips to add here, let us know in the comment area below.