If there’s one thing that new hamster owners from California to New York can agree on, it’s that hamsters poop a lot. Especially if you’ve never had a hamster before, it can be shocking to see how much they actually poop. Is it even normal?
Hamsters poop so much because they’re constantly eating and have a fast digestive system, so excessive hamster poop is perfectly normal. Food for hamsters is also high in fiber. And if you’re feeding lots of fresh produce, you’re also offering fluids, which lubricate the intestines as fiber does.
Here are some explanations on how much hamsters poop and how to know when you should be concerned.
For the most part, hamsters naturally poop a lot; it’s a part of their rodent biology. But there could be instances where your hamster is defecating even more than usual. The trick is figuring out how much poop is too much.
First, let’s check out the reasons (both normal and abnormal) your hamster may be pooping often:
- Constant eating
- Fast digestive system
- High-fiber diet
- High fresh food diet
You can also interpret these factors as food, digestion, and stress.
Hamsters share these traits with the rest of the rodent family. They’re adapted to chew all the time and have rapid heart and digestive systems.
They need to chew rough food to keep their constantly growing teeth trimmed, and animals that stay in a constant forage mode have fast-moving body systems.
Fruits and vegetables also have high water content. The combination of water and fiber helps poop move along.
They’re also tiny animals, so whatever they eat doesn’t have far to go before getting out. This short exposure to nutrition would be a problem for small animals if they didn’t stay awake more than most animals to eat all the time.
If you watch your hamster at night, you may notice that they poop more than during the day, which is also typical for many rodents. They’re nocturnal (active at night). They’re also crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).
Since these are their natural activity periods, they’ll eat and poop more during these times.
Hamster poop also retains lots of nutrients because of the digestion speed, so don’t be surprised if your hamster eats its poop. It’s another common rodent trait that lets them make full use of their foraging efforts. This habit is called coprophagy.
Hamsters even know which pellets have the most nutrients or have specific ones they need. They’ll eat those and ignore the rest. Some scientists believe that the poop has extra vitamins B and K.
Hamsters deficient in B will eat and drink less, while those short on K will have brittle bones because K helps calcium absorption.
They’ll usually eat their poop at night immediately after they pass it. At that point, the pellets have healthy bacteria while harmful germs enter after the poop has sat around exposed for a bit.
The rapidity of their biology also makes hamsters more susceptible to stress. And when it comes to poop, stress tends to make things run extra fast.
Sometimes it only makes the hamster poop more in a shorter amount of time, but in more significant stress situations, they may experience diarrhea.
Stress for hamsters will include situations like the following:
- A cramped cage
- A cage that hasn’t been cleaned
- Lots of loud noises
- Excessive heat
- A new location
- Poor sleep hygiene
Hamsters also instinctively understand that cats are predators. So if a cat likes to gaze upon the hamster cage, even if the cat doesn’t do anything, the hamster may still feel anxious.
You’ll know when these factors are bothering them when they not only poop more, but their poop changes color or consistency, and the hamster’s level of aggression or activity changes.
Keep in mind that healthy poop is dry, rounded (pellet-shaped), and brown. When that changes, they may be stressed. It can be from having eaten something they shouldn’t have. It can also come from having eaten too much of a new food item.
If none of these are the case and your hamster’s poop consistency and color remain runny or colored, then check in with your vet.
If you see your hamster pooping every hour, that’s normal. It also varies depending on the individual hamster.
Some hamsters will poop more than others, such as once every waking hour, totaling 12 to 16 times. Others may poop three times per day. Even if two hamsters are on the same diet and live in the same environment, they’ll have different patterns.
Factors that influence individual variation include age, size, and breed. Youngsters will poop and pee more than older hamsters.
Either way, your hamster will be pooping enough for you to need to clean the Hamster cage once per day.
Hamsters also pee around three times per day and up to 7 ml (0.03 cup). The urine is naturally a cloudy color.
If you find that your hamster started pooping more than usual despite it being with you for a while and in a consistent environment, there are a few changes you can make.
The change owners will notice most is after adding more lettuce, cucumber, and other watery fruits and vegetables. Keep offering these foods, but dial back the amount.
The same goes for fiber.
The hamster will still have a fiber-focused diet. But hamsters sometimes have so much that their bodies aren’t breaking it down enough. When this happens, more nutrition will get pooped rather than absorbed.
Some commercial feeds have lower fiber percentages than others. Check the nutrition label on the back of the bag.
Some brands are also of higher quality. So if your hamster is having problems, a higher-quality brand might help. Higgins Premium Pet Food is always a good choice, and it’s U.S.-based out of Miami, Florida. If you’re unsure if a brand is better or marketed to seem that way, your vet might have a good idea.
When changing foods or the amounts you offer, change gradually. Sudden food changes can cause digestive issues.
For managing stress, stay on top of cage cleaning, give the hamster a larger or less-cluttered cage, and place it somewhere quiet. Toys, being left alone when sleeping and keeping enough food and water help. A consistent lifestyle does wonders for an animal’s mental health.
Larger pets and excitable children can also stress hamsters. So make sure that the cage is where other animals can’t bother the hamster and that children know how to act around it.
Check out, How Much Should I Feed My Hamster
Poop is one of the most apparent indicators of illness in a hamster. As long as you know what frequency, color, and consistency are typical for your pet, you can quickly notice when something changes for the worse.
Small, dark, and dry poop is good. Light-colored, runny poop is a concern.
In the short term, green is fine. Sometimes the bile in the stomach creates the color. Soft poop after watery foods just means you need a slight diet adjustment in the fresh vegetable department. These poop changes are mild, temporary, and not a significant concern.
If the poop remains runny and colored for several days, especially if your hamster starts to act lethargic or loses weight, it’ll need the vet.
Related Hamster articles:
- Why Is My Hamster Bleeding From Its Bottom?
- How To Train Your Hamster To Cuddle
- What Hamster Lives the Longest?
- How Long Should a Hamster Be in a Ball?
- Difference Between a Hamster and a Gerbil
- How Much Does Hamster Food Cost?
- Why Do Hamsters Pull Their Poop Out?
Hamsters poop a lot because they’re rodents. Rodents have fast metabolisms and small bodies, so they need to eat a lot, and the food gets to the other end in a short time. They also require a high-fiber diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Both fiber and fluids encourage frequent pooping.
For the most part, this means that all the poop you see is an indication of good health, and needing to clean it every day gives you a chance to monitor changes in your hamster’s health. If anything changes in a negative way, you’ll have early notice.
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more