Hamsters can be mysterious animals. From the fact that they don’t have a long tail to wag or they can’t really make such big noise, it’s often hard to tell how your hamster is feeling. While some hamsters might become a pet where you can only watch them and handling them is complicated, it’s vital that you keep a keen eye to make sure they are happy and healthy.
More specifically, you are now asking “why is my hamster shaking?”. We will one-by-one list down the possible reasons why your hamster appears to be ill, what home remedies you can do, and when it’s time to see a vet.
IS IT NORMAL FOR HAMSTERS TO SHAKE
The simple answer is no. When a mammal is shivering or shaking, it indicates that something can be wrong. However, shaking can’t mean only one thing. It could be a symptom of a short-term health issue or a sign of something more serious. Regardless, when a hamster is shaking, you should have your alarm bells going on and start keeping a close eye on your pet.
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WHY IS MY HAMSTER SHAKING
There are many reasons why your hamster started shaking, let’s start with writing down the possible cause of this.
Stress and Anxiety or Fear
Shaking is the number one sign that your hamster is either stressed, feeling anxious, or scared. This is common to new hamsters, meaning you recently brought them home from the pet shop or rescued them from an abusive or they are abandoned.
Hamsters can get stressed easily resulting in anxiety. When there are big changes in the environment (new bedding, new cage, new noises), it can bring a whole lot of stress. If a hamster was rescued from an abusive or unsuitable home, they might have developed a fear towards people.
This is the reason why you must let your hamster be alone for 1-2 weeks after bringing them home and only get close to their cage when changing water, replenishing food, or handing treats.
It’s vital that you don’t force your hamster to play with you or expose them to sudden loud noises and bright lights. Let your hamster get familiarised with its new cage. Hamsters can’t see very well, hence, they try to memorise the set-up of their cage so they can move around easily.
After 2-3 weeks, if your hamster doesn’t shake or show any aggression every time you approach their cage, you can start taming your hamster and introducing your scent to them. In this way, you will earn their trust and will build a great bond with them.
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Nervous System Issues
Hamsters that are unethically bred are more prone to early death and nervous illnesses. Stargazing is one of the most common nervous system illness can be found in hamster who are not bred properly. This is common to hamsters that come from pet stores since these stores reproduce hamsters like a mill.
Stargazing is when a hamster stands on their feet, look upwards until they roll over to their back. After falling, they will keep doing the same thing. Often, you will also notice that a hamster is shaking and seems unsettled.
Although stargazing is not the only nervous system illness that is related to shaking. A hamster that is running around in circles, as if they are a mechanical item or looks like a recorded video that has been set to fast forward, is also a big sign of a neurological disorder.
If the problem has something to do with the hamster’s nervous system, there aren’t many things you can do, since, they are often from bad breeding. The best for you and your hamster is to bring them to the vet and seek professional help.
Of course, the sudden change to the weather is the simplest explanation of a hamster shaking. Even though hamsters are covered in fur, a sudden drop in temperature can still make them cold.
When the temperature in the room where their cage is located dropped to 10°C (50°F), it can cause the hamster to shake. When it becomes too cold for hamsters to regular their own body temperature, they might fall into torpor.
Torpor is when a hamster’s body shuts down due to cold temperature and the lack of a way to keep their body warm. It’s similar to hibernation but the difference is, when a hamster falls into torpor, there’s a high chance they cannot wake up, which leads to death.
Once the temperature starting to drop, there are many things you can do to keep your hamster warm. Make sure that the hamster’s cage is located in a room at least 20°C (68°F). If the temperature goes lower, you can keep a blanket around the cage (without messing with the ventilation). You can also warm up their sleeping room or make the bedding thicker.
Another reason why is my hamster shaking is due to some respiratory infection. It’s not common but it’s still possible. When a hamster is sneezing or wheezing plus shaking, it’s definitely a problem that has something to do with their respiratory infection or even an allergy.
Respiratory infection and allergy are common when there’s a big change in the hamster’s environment. If you change the type of hamster bedding or the brand of the bedding, it can cause breathing issues. If the bedding has dust, hamsters can easily breathe this in and cause an infection.
Another reason is hamster sandbath. When buying a sandbath, make sure you don’t get the ones where the sand is almost like powder or dust. The granules have to be grainy and not too fine.
Before adding the bedding or sandbath to the cage, open the packaging and pour them into a container. If you see dust-up in the air, it’s better to use different bedding or sandbath. If the shaking or sneezing don’t go away, it’s best to contact your vet.
It’s very important to observe your hamster for any behaviour and physical changes. Hamsters cannot express themselves very well when happy or when not feeling well. It is your job to spot the signs whenever your hamster is in distress.
It’s always best to contact a vet if you are worried or after trying home remedies, nothing changed or your hamster have gotten worse.
I hope you found this article on why is my hamster shaking helpful. I’m sure your hamster appreciate you looking out for them and providing the best care.