Hamsters are very common pets that many people truly adore. You might have bought a hamster for your kid to teach them about responsibility, but you could also simply enjoy caring for pet hamsters yourself.
If you’re still a bit new to taking care of pet hamsters, then there might be things that you don’t understand about the hamster’s behavior. For example, have you ever noticed that your hamster will sometimes freeze up?
There have likely been situations when your hamster will freeze and completely stop moving. This catches many new hamster owners off-guard because they don’t understand what’s happening.
Why do hamsters do this? Is this an indication that there is something wrong with the hamster?
Read on to learn more about why hamsters will sometimes freeze. Once you’ve read all of the information, you’ll have a much better understanding of what is truly happening.
1 – Hamsters Sometimes Freeze Because They’re Trying to Listen
It might seem strange, but there might be times when your hamster will freeze because it’s trying to listen to something. This is simply an instinctual action taken by the hamster.
The hamster is likely listening to see if it hears any predators nearby. You might think that this is weird if your hamster has lived its entire life in a safe environment, but that doesn’t make a difference.
Hamsters are wired to be careful, and they have instincts that tell them to listen out for predators. Every so often, something might happen that will cause your hamster to freeze up and start listening intently.
So, it’s very likely that your hamster is freezing to listen for something or because it is concerned about predators. Even if your hamster has nothing to worry about, this is something that can cause it to freeze sometimes.
2 – Hamsters Also Freeze When They’re Frightened
There will likely be times where your hamster will freeze due to being frightened. Many things have the potential to scare your hamster.
If you try to think about things from the hamster’s perspective, it’ll be easy to understand how it could get scared. Hamsters are very small, and many different things in your home might be intimidating to the little rodent.
You’ll find that hamsters scare very easily. Something such as a vacuum cleaner could scare a hamster, but so could a cat getting a bit too close.
Think about the things in your home that could make the hamster feel frightened. Do you have pet cats or dogs that might walk up to the hamster cage sometimes?
Could playing the TV loudly be scaring your hamster? It’s likely that there are many situations that will cause your hamster to freeze up.
3 – Sudden Movements Make Hamsters Freeze
Sudden movements can make hamsters freeze up, too. Hamsters have trouble seeing sudden movements, and this will cause them to stop and stare.
If you move very fast near the hamster, then it’s probably going to freeze. Most hamster enthusiasts say that it’s wise to move slowly when trying to interact with these pets.
Slower movements will help to keep the hamsters at ease. Fast movements will feel intimidating and might cause the hamsters to freeze.
If you accidentally make sudden movements near the hamster, then it won’t cause your hamster to be afraid of you for life. It’s just worth noting that you should make an effort to avoid sudden movements.
4 – Hamsters Don’t Have Great Eyesight
One thing that you should understand about hamsters is that they don’t have great eyesight. They can’t make out details when looking at things from far away.
If you’re standing across the room from the hamster, then it might freeze as you start walking. This is because it’s not going to know that it’s you until you get closer.
In this situation, the hamster stops moving so that it can analyze what’s going on. It might not be sure if you’re a threat or not since it can’t see far away.
As someone who is new to caring for hamsters, you probably didn’t know this. It’s very common to see a hamster freeze up when it’s looking at someone or something that’s in the distance.
5 – Hamsters Might Hear Things That You Don’t
So what does it mean when a hamster freezes for no apparent reason? If you’re just sitting there and everything seems fine, then you might be worried about why your hamster suddenly stops moving.
In this situation, you should consider whether your hamsters are hearing things that you’re not. Hamsters are good at hearing things, and they might be able to hear stuff that is happening outside that you aren’t able to hear.
It could even be that the hamster is listening intently and notices something in the house that you don’t recognize. Hamsters might be listening to the clock on the wall or they could hear footsteps if someone is walking upstairs.
Truthfully, it’s hard to say what the hamsters could be stopping to listen to. If you don’t see anything that should scare the hamsters, then it could be nothing that is worth worrying about.
Should You Worry When the Hamster Freezes?
No, you don’t need to worry when the hamster freezes up. This is really just a normal thing that the hamster is going to do from time to time.
It simply isn’t going to be possible to avoid scaring your hamster under certain circumstances. They are pets that will get frightened by things, but you can try to limit how much they get scared.
You don’t need to be concerned about the hamster’s health or anything like that. It’s not being harmed in any way when it freezes up.
Simply continue to take care of your hamster as you always have. So long as you’re treating the hamster with love and respect, everything is going to be just fine.
If you want to try to help your hamster calm down after being scared, then you can try to talk to it in a soothing fashion. Hamsters don’t have good eyesight, but they do have excellent hearing.
Try to speak in a soft and soothing voice so that your hamster will start to feel comfortable moving again. You might also wish to give the hamster a treat of some sort.
Just remember to approach the hamster slowly since fast movements will frighten it. After a bit, your hamster should be back to normal.
Excessive Stress Can Be a Problem
Everything said above is true, but you do want to try to avoid stressing the hamster. When a hamster is frightened, it’s going to experience stress.
You likely won’t be able to avoid scaring your hamster sometimes, but you can try to limit things so that the hamster won’t get startled too often.
If a hamster gets overly stressed, then its health might start to decline. Some hamsters that are experiencing anxiety will do unusual things such as excessive grooming, biting the cage to try to escape, and even acting aggressive.
Stressed hamsters have been known to bite other hamsters. A hamster that is unhappy might also try to bite its owner when they get too close.
What causes hamster stress? Many different things, but you should know that a hamster will feel stressed if it doesn’t feel safe.
If the hamster is getting scared all the time while living in your home, then that’s not a good thing. For this reason, you should try to avoid scaring the hamster by moving suddenly when you’re trying to interact with it.
It’s also a good idea to keep the hamster’s habitat away from other pets. Pets such as cats and dogs are seen as predators by the hamster, and the presence of such large and scary animals will stress the hamster quite a bit.
Avoid exposing the hamster to loud noises or other things that might scare it. If you can try your best to keep the hamster calm and happy, then you’ll be doing a good job.
Of course, you also need to focus on caring for the hamster to the best of your ability. Feeding the hamster and ensuring that it has a comfortable living environment will be of paramount importance.
What Are Good Ways to Calm a Nervous Hamster?
What if your hamster winds up getting stressed and starts acting nervous? Are there things that you can do to help the hamster feel better?
Yes, there are actually many things that you can try that will help the hamster to become more comfortable. It might take a bit of time for the hamster to feel less stressed, but you can make positive changes.
First, it’d be a good idea to ensure that the hamster has a good cage that is large enough. You don’t want to try to keep the hamster in a habitat that is too small.
Keep the cage clean and be sure that you’re giving your hamster access to water at all times. Give your hamster good food that will ensure that it is getting all of the nutrients that it needs.
Adding toys to the hamster cage will be a very good move. You likely know that it’s recommended to place a hamster wheel in the cage, but giving the hamster access to other toys will also be smart.
Some hamster enthusiasts even swap out certain hamster toys every so often so that the hamster won’t get bored with its options. You don’t necessarily have to do that, but it is good to give the hamster several things to play with.
Socializing the hamster is said to be helpful as well. You might want to get a buddy for your hamster so that it won’t be alone all the time.
You can try to play with your hamster, too, so long as your hamster has become comfortable with you. Just don’t excessively handle the hamster since that can be a stressful experience for the pet.
If the hamster ever appears to be sick, it’s good to contact a veterinarian right away. Get the hamster the medicine that it needs so that it won’t start feeling stressed over health problems.
Why Do Hamsters Do Backflips?
Another situation that startles new hamsters owners involves hamsters performing acrobatic feats. Have you ever scared your hamster accidentally and noticed that it did a backflip in response?
Some hamsters will react this way when they’re startled or surprised. Many hamsters are capable of jumping very well, and it wouldn’t be too odd to see a hamster do a flip.
If you see your hamster doing this, then you likely scared it in some way. Try to be more careful not to move suddenly near the hamster so that you don’t scare it in the future.
As neat as it might seem for the hamster to be able to do backflips, it isn’t really a good thing. When a hamster flips, it’s a sign that it is very frightened.
You want your hamster to be at ease in your home. Try to reduce the things in the room that might be scaring the poor hamster.
Why Do Hamsters Run and Hide?
When hamsters get scared, one reaction is going to be to freeze. Another reaction involves running and hiding somewhere.
It’s recommended to give hamsters little hiding spots in their cages. If your hamster suddenly runs and hides, then that’s pretty normal.
Remember that hamsters are prey animals. They have instincts that tell them to run and hide.
You might see your hamster running and hiding for seemingly no reason at certain times. Don’t worry too much about this.
So long as you’re doing your best to avoid scaring the hamster, it’s likely nothing to be concerned with. Simply keep taking care of your hamster as normal.
You know a lot more about why hamsters suddenly freeze up now. Hopefully, this information will allow you to avoid scaring your hamster quite so much.
Hamsters are great pets, but they can be very fearful little animals. It’s up to you to look out for your hamster, and you should try to make it feel as comfortable as possible in its new environment.
Knowing what to look out for should help you to reduce instances of the hamster getting scared. You’ll be able to have a good time with your hamster moving forward so long as you put in the effort.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.