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Why Is My Hamster Not Active?

Why Is My Hamster Not Active?

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Keeping a hamster as a pet is going to be a good experience. These are relatively easy pets to care for, and they’re very fun to interact with.

If you recently started caring for a hamster, you’re going to be concerned if it doesn’t appear to be active. What is going on when a hamster seems somewhat lethargic?

Keep reading to learn about some reasons why hamsters might not be as active as they should be. Getting a better idea of what’s happening will help you to try to fix things.

It’s important for hamsters to stay active for health purposes. You’ll want to take this situation seriously so that your new pet can thrive under your care.

Acting Lethargic Isn’t Normal

The first thing to understand is that acting lethargic is in no way normal for a hamster. Hamsters are very energetic little animals that like to move around a lot.

It isn’t typical for hamsters to act lazy or just lay around in the cage. If your hamster seems sluggish, it’s likely because something is wrong.

There could be a few things going on, but you might want to consider if the hamster is sick. This is bad because hamsters don’t normally show signs of sickness unless they’re very sick.

If your hamster has some type of illness, you’re going to need to act fast. It’s wise to get the hamster evaluated by a veterinarian who will get to the bottom of the situation.

The best bet will be to take the hamster to the vet right away to determine if anything is wrong. If the hamster is sick, you’ll get the best advice to treat the hamster by talking to the vet.

If there isn’t anything wrong with the hamster physically, there’s a chance that something is wrong with its environment. You might need to make some changes.

Is the Hamster’s Cage Too Small?

Trying to force a hamster to live in a cage that is way too small will be a bad idea. Hamsters need enough room to be able to move around and play.

Some enthusiasts have suggested that putting hamsters in small cages will make them lazy. It’ll make them feel as if they can’t get up and move around due to the cramped environment that they’re living in.

Others have even said that it might make hamsters feel stressed or unusual. Either way, not having a lot of space will keep hamsters from exercising.

This is known to cause health issues. Hamsters that don’t move around enough can wind up experiencing paralysis in their back legs.

A condition known as cage paralysis will cause hamsters to become unable to move their back legs. This happens when hamsters don’t exercise enough and they wind up gaining a lot of weight.

Hamsters that eat and don’t exercise will become overweight. Overweight hamsters will become unable to get around normally due to not being able to use their back legs.

You might notice your hamster dragging its back legs when it does move around. To solve this issue, you’re going to need to help the hamster lose weight.

Give the hamster a bigger cage where it can properly move around. Assure that it has toys to play with so that it will be encouraged to do things.

Do your best not to overfeed the hamster, too. Giving a hamster too much food will make it gain weight and that could lead to problems even if the hamster does exercise.

Be careful to feed your hamster recommended foods. Don’t give it too many treats because that could be counterproductive.

Does Your Hamster Have Toys?

Boredom could be why your hamster appears to be inactive. Perhaps your hamster isn’t stimulated enough in its cage.

To keep hamsters happy, you have to give them toys that they can play with. These little animals are very playful and energetic.

They like playing with toys and moving around. If you don’t have a lot of toys in the cage with the hamster, it’s possible that it might be bored.

Buy recommended hamster toys that will keep the hamster occupied. You can give the hamster a variety of different toys that will appeal to it.

Some hamster owners choose to change out the toys in the cage every so often. This keeps the hamster from getting bored of the toys by ensuring that it has some type of new stimulation every so often.

You can cycle the toys in and out to give them a good experience. Of course, you can keep certain toys or exercise tools in the cage permanently.

It’d be wise to give the hamster access to a simple hamster wheel. It’s a great way for these little pets to get exercise, and it should keep the hamster from becoming overweight.


Dehydration has been known to make hamsters lethargic. It could be that you aren’t giving your hamster enough water.

Hamsters need to have constant access to water. You should have a simple water bottle that the hamster can access whenever it needs to get a drink.

It’s really easy to set up water bottles like this in hamster cages. Ensure that you’re doing things right so you don’t put your hamster in danger.

Try giving your hamster more water while ensuring that it’s eating right. If that seems to turn things around, you won’t need to worry any longer.

The Hamster Could Be Dying

If your hamster has been alive for a few years, it could simply be that the hamster is getting close to death. You see, hamsters only have a life expectancy of two years on average.

Some types of hamsters will live a bit longer, but hamsters are pets that won’t survive for too long. You shouldn’t expect a hamster to live much longer than two years.

When a hamster is getting toward the end of its life, it might start to be less active than it once was. This is simply a sign that it’s slowing down as it approaches death.

There isn’t much you can do when a hamster is getting ready to die of old age. You can keep the hamster comfortable, feed it well, and ensure that it can live happily until the end.

Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t ignore your hamster if it appears to be lethargic. It isn’t normal for a hamster to be inactive since they’re usually quite energetic.

Determining what is wrong is imperative so you can help the hamster get better. It might be sick, and you should likely take your pet to see a veterinarian to get it diagnosed.

If the hamster is sick, you’ll want to follow the treatment plan that the vet provides you. When the vet doesn’t think the hamster is sick, you’ll want to turn to other possibilities.

It could be that the hamster is living in a small cage and it needs a larger environment. Perhaps the hamster simply needs more toys so that it can play and move around more.

You might even need to give the hamster more water. These pets are supposed to have constant access to a water bottle.

Remember that hamsters only live for around two years. If your hamster is getting a bit old, it won’t be as active as it was when it was younger.

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