Since hamsters are prey animals—meaning they’re hunted as food in the wild—it’s a hamster’s instinct to be hyper-vigilant. These defense mechanisms can also be prominent in domestic hamsters and may manifest as lingering in one corner. Such behavior may concern you if you’re unsure why your hamster does it.
Your hamster is staying in one corner, likely because it feels uneasy in its enclosure. Maybe your hamster is afraid or is still trying to adjust to its environment. If your hamster continues to stay in one corner for longer, it might indicate that your hamster is ill or injured.
It’s essential to note that a hamster’s defensive and sometimes fearful behavior is nothing out of the ordinary if you first bring it home. Keep reading as I’ll discuss various topics related to this question, including what you can do to keep your hamster comfortable and happy!
Your Hamster May Be Uncomfortable in Its Enclosure
If your hamster huddles in the corner of its enclosure, it could feel uncomfortable in its space and safer in the corner. When your hamster doesn’t like something about its cage, it’ll use a corner as a hiding spot and a source of safety.
Should something in your hamster’s cage make it scared or uncomfortable, its fight or flight instinct will kick in. Your hamster will try to get as far away from it as possible.
Suppose you notice your hamster backing away and hiding after adding a new addition to its cage, like a new toy; then it would be best to remove it.
Your Hamster Might Be Feeling Scared in Its Cage
A common reason your hamster stays in one corner of its cage is that it doesn’t feel safe yet. A fearful hamster is suspicious of its environment and will hide in a corner until it’s warmed up to its surroundings.
No matter where you live in the city—be it New York, Boston, or Chicago—chances are there will be noise that can cause your hamster to feel uneasy.
If your hamster’s cage is in a noisy area with loud, sudden movements, the chances are your hamster is frightened that its life is in danger.
Your Hamster May Need More Time To Adjust to Its Surroundings
Suppose you’ve just brought your hamster home for the first time. Your hamster will need ample time to get used to its new environment.
Hamsters don’t enjoy change, as routine and knowing what to expect makes them feel safe, so experiencing a change of scenery isn’t always enjoyable for them.
If you notice your hamster being standoffish and hiding in one corner of its cage, note that it could mean that it needs more time and space to get comfortable, especially if it’s new to your home.
Your Hamster Might Be Sick
Finding your hamster in a huddled position might indicate that it’s sick or in pain. If you suspect your hamster is ill, note whether it shows any other sickness symptoms, including runny stools and lack of energy.
Should signs of illness besides staying in one corner be present, take your hamster to a veterinarian to get the treatment it needs.
It’s essential to note that your hamster solely staying in one corner isn’t always indicative of illness, so assess whether there are coexisting symptoms before taking the next step.
Your Hamster Could Be Injured
An injured hamster may cower and huddle in a corner in response to the pain. If you suspect your hamster is injured, check for any swelling, bleeding, or limping, and take your furry friend to the vet as soon as you can.
If you’re new to caring for hamsters, you may find many things hamsters do strange or alarming. However, it’s not always a cause for concern regarding a hamster staying in one corner. If your hamster tends to stick to a corner but goes about its usual routine (eating, playing with its toys, sleeping, etc.), you have nothing to worry about.
A hamster huddling in a corner may make it comfortable and feel safe. You know your hamster, so as long as its behavior is typical, taking a liking to a corner is nothing to be concerned about!
Your Hamster Might Be Feeling Distressed
Knowing the signs of an unhappy hamster is crucial in owning one, as the symptoms can often be very subtle and may quickly go unnoticed.
To ensure you know when your furry friend is unhappy, I’ll discuss the signs of a distressed hamster and what you should do about it.
Your Hamster Climbs and Bites the Cage
One of the biggest and most common causes of an unhappy hamster is a cage that’s not big enough. Your hamster climbing and biting its cage is a telltale sign that it’s not happy in its enclosure and, therefore, wants to escape.
Cage climbing and biting is also a sign of boredom, so if you catch your hamster climbing and biting its cage, it may be time to get a larger cage with more toys to keep it busy.
Your Hamster Paces Around the Cage
A hamster pacing back and forth around its cage indicates stress and can quickly worsen if you don’t treat it. Pacing causes include a noisy environment, other pets that your hamster views as a threat, and a small cage.
By housing your hamster in a decent-sized cage, keeping your hamster and other pets separate, and placing your hamster’s enclosure in a quiet area in your home, you can eliminate repetitive behavior caused by stress.
Your Hamster Is Aggressive Toward You
Hamsters aren’t aggressive animals by nature, so hostility toward you and other people is a sign of unhappiness or distress. If your hamster tries to bite you and is overall aggressive toward you, they may be severely unhappy and could benefit from free-roaming.
Your Hamster Excessively Grooms Itself
Excessive grooming is a repetitive behavior that can indicate stress or a skin problem. If you find your hamster constantly grooming itself, it may be suffering from skin mites, dry skin, or dirty fur. Any skin condition can severely affect your hamster if left untreated and may cause it to keep to itself in a corner.
Your Hamster Stays in One Corner
Your hamster staying in one corner can be a sign of feeling unsafe and unhappy in its environment. A hamster that doesn’t feel safe in its enclosure will resort to hiding and will be unwilling to interact.
Your Hamster Lacks Energy
Hamsters are naturally high-energy animals that like to keep active. If your hamster is lethargic and uninterested in activities it usually enjoys, this can indicate severe unhappiness and distress. Unless your hamster is old, it should want to play with its toys and explore its surroundings.
Noticing a change in your hamster’s typical behavior is often frightening and may lead you to imagine the worst. However, there’s usually a valid reason why and numerous things you can do to prevent or lessen distress in your hamster.
How To Keep Your Hamster Happy
Every good pet owner wants their companion to be happy and satisfied with their lives. Luckily, you can give your hamster a fulfilling life and prevent it from being stressed and unhappy with a few simple ways.
Ensure Your Hamster’s Cage Is Big Enough
Providing your hamster with a spacious cage is the best way to keep it happy, as it’ll spend most of its time there.
Your hamster’s enclosure’s minimum size should be 24 x 12 inches (60.96 x 30.48 cm) or more. Hamsters are happiest when they have a spacious cage they can explore, so ensure your hamster’s cage meets the minimum requirements or more.
A big cage ensures your hamster gets enough physical activity, keeping it in shape. Hamsters are prone to obesity, so providing your hamster with a larger pen will prevent it from becoming overweight.
Provide Your Hamster With Sufficient Bedding
Hamsters love burrowing and nesting, so deep bedding will keep your hamster happy and secure. These rodents feel safe when inside a burrow, and providing them with bedding of at least 6 inches (15.24 cm) deep will keep them busy. They’ll also feel safer and more comfortable.
Feed Your Hamster a Healthy Diet
A healthy, balanced diet will prevent your hamster from developing health complications. It also keeps your furry friend happy.
Hamsters are omnivores, so feeding them anything they would normally eat in the wild is the best diet. A good balance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains is more than satisfying for your hamster.
Let Your Hamster Live Alone
A common misconception is that all animals are pack animals and need companionship; this is not the case with most hamsters.
Hamsters are one of the few species that prefer to be alone and don’t do well with other hamsters in their territory. It may be tempting to buy your hamster a friend out of fear that it may be lonely, but it’ll likely fight with the new hamster and possibly kill it.
Suppose you want to buy another hamster. It’s best to keep it in a separate enclosure.
Most hamsters are happy on their own. Hamsters are generally solitary in the wild. That said, don’t worry about your hamster feeling lonely. As long as your hamster has your companionship and affection, it will be content and happy!
Provide Your Hamster With Stimulating Toys
Much like children, hamsters need enrichment and stimulation. Providing your hamster with sufficient toys is a great way to keep it busy, granted you introduce new toys since hamsters are prone to boredom.
You don’t have to buy expensive toys every time (hamsters love toilet paper cardboard!). An exercise wheel is a great choice, as it will keep your hamster in shape and happy.
Since hamsters naturally run a lot in the wild, consider providing your hamster with an exercise wheel an absolute must.
Place Your Hamster’s Cage in a Quiet Area
Hamsters are sensitive to sound and temperature, so it’s crucial to place your hamster’s enclosure in a spot that isn’t noisy and cold.
A hamster will get stressed and hide in a corner if it’s in a loud environment. Knowing this, putting your hamster’s cage somewhere quiet will make it feel safe and secure.
Be Affectionate Toward Your Hamster
Suppose your hamster likes attention and physical contact from you. Pet and hold your hamster at least once a day.
Hamsters generally aren’t physically affectionate and don’t like being petted or held. But some hamsters are more affectionate than others, so they’ll enjoy the attention!
If you know your hamster isn’t touchy, don’t try to force affection, as doing so can stress it out and make it feel like it’s in danger.
Give Your Hamster Treats
Like all pets, hamsters love occasional treats! Giving your hamster a little snack now and then is something it won’t get tired of.
Fruits and vegetables make excellent snacks, but ensure you do your research before serving them to your hamster as most fruits and veggies contain a lot of sugar, which can be harmful to your hamster if you don’t provide them in moderation.
Keep Your Hamster’s Cage Sanitary
Cleaning your hamster’s cage is necessary, as it can get filthy quickly. However, be careful not to overclean your hamster’s cage.
Removing your hamster’s burrows can stress your pet out every time you clean its cage. So, it would be best to thoroughly clean your hamster’s cage once every two weeks and spot clean in between.
Spot cleaning involves only cleaning the parts of the cage that are stained or dirty. It’s an excellent method of keeping your hamster’s cage clean without overly stressing your hamster.
The points mentioned above are foolproof ways to prevent your hamster from being unhappy, stressed, and resorting to staying in one corner. By maintaining your hamster’s cage, keeping it active, and feeding it a balanced diet, your hamster will feel comfortable and safe in its environment!
Hamsters are great pets and are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and North America. It’s gratifying when your hamster starts warming up to its surroundings and trusting you.
Although it may be concerning if your hamster tends to stay in one corner, it could also just be its preferred hiding spot. As long as your hamster exhibits its typical behavior, having a favorite corner is not a cause for concern.
Related Hamster articles:
- How Much Water Does a Hamster Drink?
- Why Is My Hamster Lying Flat?
- How To Bond With Your Hamster
- Why Is My Hamster Not Coming Out at Night?
- How To Humanely Kill a 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