Compared to other pets such as dogs and cats, hamsters are relatively new to pet life and domestication, and most hamster parents have limited care tips. Thus it is normal to get scared if your hamster gets hyper all of a sudden. Thankfully, it is possible to calm down your hamster, though it requires patience and may take a while.
Your hamster can get hyper all of a sudden due to stress, their history, lack of exercise, a new environment, or a small cage. Additionally, they could just be very young, naturally excitable hamsters, or other pets in the household may be intimidating them.
Let’s dive in. I’ll discuss why your hamster is so hyper and whether it is normal for a hamster to be hyper. I will also expound on how to calm down your hamster.
If your hamster suddenly gets hyper, most likely something is off. Understanding some of the reasons why your hamster could get hyper is the first step towards calming them down.
So, what can make your hamster hyper?
Since hamsters are prey animals, they stay alert to escape from predators. Thus minor sounds and movements can make a calm hamster get hyper all of a sudden.
It’s crucial to note that stress in hamsters is life-threatening, especially when pregnant or if they have other underlying conditions, so calming a stressed hamster down is of paramount importance.
Here are the signs you should check to know if your hamster is stressed.
- They’re chewing through their steel cages. Hamsters can showcase their stress by biting or chewing their cage. For this reason, if your hamster doesn’t normally bite their cage, they may be stressing out. Biting their cage can also mean that the hamster does not have enough chew toys. Therefore, confirm whether they have enough chew toys before concluding that they are chewing their cage due to stress.
- They show signs of anxiety all of a sudden. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand with hamsters. When a hamster is anxious, you may notice anxiety signs such as aggressive behavior, freezing when you are around, and poor eating. Additionally, the hamster may avoid you or hide by staying under their bedding, in their nest boxes, or near the wall.
- They may become aggressive to the owners. Generally, hamsters are unaggressive pets. So, if you realize that your hamster gets ready to attack when you move closer, they are probably stressed. The hamster may move their ears backward, grunt, or show their teeth as a sign that they are ready to fight back. If this is an unusual behavior with your hamster, they may be letting out stress.
- They try to escape. When your hamster is stressed, they are always trying to find new ways to escape the cage. You can see them trying to squeeze through the bars of the cage or biting the cage to get a way out. Additionally, the hamster may dig at the corner of the cage in a bid to get away from the stressful environment.
- They salivate excessively. If your hamster is stressed, scared, or nervous, its body responds through excessive salivation. Therefore, if you notice this hypersalivation, it is a tell-tale sign of stress.
The hamster’s previous habitat highly contributes to its behavior and attitude. For instance, if the hamster lived in a loud, busy, constantly bustling environment – the New York City of hamster cages, if you will – where it was mistreated or not handled by humans, it may have difficulty adapting to the new life.
As a result, the hamster may get stressed and hyper anytime somebody tries getting close to them.
On the other hand, the hamster’s breed could contribute to their personality. A Syrian hamster is easy to domesticate, and it’s calmer compared to other breeds like the Campbell’s Russian Dwarf hamster.
It is paramount to learn the history of the hamster before bringing them home. That way, you understand their behavior, and you may help them to become calm in their new home.
Hamsters might get bored fast due to a lack of mental stimulation or lack of exercise. Besides, they are very active and love to explore. They might lose interest in a short time because of playing with the same toy.
Therefore, when they are inactive, their energy will build up in their body, and they may let it out by being hyper.
As mentioned above, hamsters are always aware of their surroundings to avoid predators. For this reason, being in a new environment may not always work well for them.
If you recently brought the hamster home, moved to a new house, or changed their cage, they may become restless all of a sudden. Moreover, if they are frequently disturbed, or there are sudden noises in the house, they can become restless and agitated.
The younger a hamster, the more energy they have. Consequently, the young hamster will get hyper to use up the excess energy in their body. You will notice that their energy decreases as the hamster grows older. This is a normal progression, though if they become too lethargic too early on, that could be cause for concern.
Although hamsters are friendly to humans, they are naturally solitary animals. They hate being around other animals, including other hamsters. You may realize that your hamster gets hyper and defensive at the sight of other pets in your house, like cats and dogs.
The situation could get worse for your hamster if they are adapting to a new environment and a pet at the same time.
Generally, hamsters are active and energetic pets. Nevertheless, it may scare you if your hamster suddenly gets very hyper.
It is normal for a hamster to occasionally get hyper. Based on the hamster’s breed, they may be naturally aggressive and energized. Others may have been born with a hyper personality regardless of their breed. However, hyperactiveness could indicate something is wrong.
If your hamster becomes super hyper all of a sudden, it is important to brace yourself with tips on how to calm them down.
It is easier said than done to calm down a hamster and make them happy again. Unlike other pets, they do not calm down by being around other hamsters. Also, picking them up is not guaranteed to work.
Luckily, calming down a hamster may be tricky but not impossible.
You can calm down a hyper hamster by getting a larger cage, encouraging them to express their natural behavior, bonding with them, and offering a sand bath. You can also introduce tactics to encourage foraging, such as sprinkling food in the cage, introducing hideouts, and offering dried herbs.
These tactics will help you relax your hamster. Continue reading for a detailed explanation of how to relax a hyper hamster.
If your hamster lives in a cage that is too small for them, they are at risk of suffering from cage rage. This psychological disorder can manifest in various ways, like being hyper. That’s why it is recommended to get a large cage for your hamster.
Ideally, if you have a Syrian hamster, have a cage with a minimum height of 24 inches (61 cm), bedding depth of 10 inches (25.4 cm), and width of 40 x 20 inches (101.6 x 50.8 cm). Its floor space should be at least 900 square inches (2,286 cm).
Other breeds such as the Dwarf and Chinese hamster should have a floor space of at least 700 square inches (1,778 C cm) with a height of 24 inches (61 cm), and the width of 40 x 15 inches (101.6 x 38 cm). Moreover, the bedding space should be at least eight inches (20 cm) deep.
These are the minimum requirements that you can get per cage. If torn between two cages, always go for the larger one.
I recommend buying the VINTEX large hamster cages (from Amazon.com). This is a well-spaced and luxurious cage where your hamster can live comfortably. Besides, it is easy to install hamster toys and prevent waste from splashing all over the cage.
The cage also ships to New York and is fairly priced.
After getting the large hamster cage, make it an occasional duty to clean it. Hamsters are clean pets, and they get stressed when living in nastiness. Therefore, spot clean the cage at least every day and fully clean it once a week to ensure a conducive living environment.
Also, don’t forget to position their cage in a silent and low-traffic area.
As much as you want your hamster to adapt to living in your house, they are meant to live in the wild. Therefore, ensure that their cage allows them to express their natural behaviors.
For instance, hamsters love making burrows to hide from the hot sun and predators. These are the places they use for bathing, sleeping, and storing their food. Consequently, their cage should allow them to make burrows at least six inches (15.24 cm) deep.
Otherwise, you risk having an ever-stressed hamster if they have nowhere to hide.
Here is a video explaining more about how hamsters live in the wild
It is great when you make the cage feel natural, and the hamster can experience the wild. Thus, aim to provide aging opportunities for your hamster.
You can encourage foraging in various ways like sprinkling food around the cage for your hamster to find. They have a good sense of smell and getting it is easy and fun for them. Also, you can hide toys in the cage, and your hamster will love to look for these toys.
Get dry herbs such as rosebuds, marigold, hibiscus, and raspberry leaves and sprinkle them in the cage. Though it is tricky to find dry herbs in some US cities like Houston, Texas, you can purchase them online.
Apart from self-grooming, hamsters love bathing in the sand. Most hamsters will roll and shake in the sand, but this is not the case for all hamsters.
Be careful to ensure that you always provide sand and not dust for your hamster. Dust can be too fine and can cause respiratory infections.
You can get the PIVBY Hamster Bathing Sand from Amazon.com. It is 100% natural sand and free from dust and bacteria.
Additionally, ensure that the dish you use for the hamster sand is large enough since the hamster may be disinterested to bathe in a small dish. A large dish will also make it possible to provide a hideout in the sand, which makes the hamster feel secure and protected.
In the wild, hamsters have access to fruits, animal proteins, and grains. In the same way, when you get the hamster home, ensure that you are providing them with enough high-protein pellets and seed mix to keep up the diet.
Moreover, incorporate vegetables, fruits, unseasoned meats, and dried insects, among other things that the hamster may get in the wild. A well-fed hamster is relaxed and happy.
Bonding with your hamster may take some time, but it is worth the wait.
When you bring the hamster home, give them time to settle in until they are comfortable in their new surroundings. If the hamster previously lived with humans, this should not take long. However, allowing them to settle in makes it easier to bond.
Additionally, you can bond with your hamster by helping them learn your scent and voice. You can do this by spending time next to their cage where they can see you.
While in their vicinity, gently talk to the hamster before picking them up and avoid sudden noises. You can also put clothes that have your scent in their cage.
Don’t get frustrated if your hamster is not yet bonding with you as well. This will likely improve with time, so keep trying.
Here is a YouTube video explaining more ways to bond with your hamster.
Hamsters are easily bored if they play with the same toy for a long time. For this reason, switch up their toys occasionally to keep them occupied. You can use hamster-safe toys such as a hamster wheel.
However, before getting any toys, confirm that they are safe and cannot cause any injury or trauma for the hamster.
Additionally, be tactical when introducing new toys to your hamster to avoid overwhelming them and raising their stress levels.
Consider this YouTube video for more information on using a hamster wheel.
Sure, a hyper hamster does not always mean that your hamster is unwell. Nevertheless, the hamster may be hyper due to a condition that you cannot identify on your own.
Therefore, inform a vet to rule out any possibility of disease and get advice on how to care for your hamster if they are unwell.
Related Hamsters articles:
- Why Does My Hamster Poop So Much?
- What Does Hamster Diarrhea Look Like?
- How To Play With a Hamster
- What Hamster Lives the Longest?
- How Much Should I Feed My Hamster
- How Long Does It Take for a Dead Hamster to Start Smelling?
Like humans, each hamster is unique and reacts differently to these tactics. Therefore, don’t lose hope if you try one tactic on a hamster, and they seem not to like it. Keep trying various things, and eventually, you will get a calm and happy hamster.
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