Why is my Hamster Frantically Running?

  • Author: Carl
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Have you recently gotten a pet hamster and noticed that it keeps running in circles, often excessively? For new hamster owners, some activities of their pets can often worry them.

If you have noticed your pet hammy being a little extra active and frantic in their running, don’t worry. This is often completely normal as hamsters instinctively exercise a lot. Sometimes, this can be a possible cause for concern and a warning sign that your pet is in distress.

So, how would you know when it’s time to get your pet hamster checked, and when there is absolutely nothing to be worried about? Let’s find out. 


Why Do Hamsters Run So Much?

Why do hamsters have an urge to run so much? For starters, they are naturally packed with energy. Plus, they have this instinct due to several reasons. 

Hamsters are prey animals. This means wild animals and predators are constantly on the lookout for these little creatures. As a defense mechanism, hamsters know how to quickly run away. In fact, they can easily run up to 5 miles in one night.

You may have noticed how quickly your hamster sprints in the opposite direction at times. Or, how fast their reflexes are. This is simply a part of their instinctive behavior. 

hamster running

Secondly, these furry animals have high amounts of energy that they need to burn off. This is also why it is always suggested to provide a running wheel to your hamster.

They love to exercise! You can even notice how they scurry rather than walk. This fast, frantic behavior is a natural trait for them. 


1. Lack Of Exercise

If you’ve noticed this excessive running routine in your hamster, you need to ask yourself if they’re getting enough exercise. Is there a suitable running wheel in the cage?

Even if you noticed them ignoring the wheel and running around in the cage, keep it there anyway. You must provide all outlets to your hammy for much-needed exercise.

hamster ball
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You can also introduce a hamster exercise ball, another fun play-time for your pet hammy.

Also, provide a wide selection of toys like ladders, tunnels, and more. If there isn’t much else to do in the cage, your hamster might be suffering from wheel addiction. 


2. Restlessness 

We have to understand that animals feel so many things just the way they do. Even a hamster can not always feel at ease being confined in a cage 24/7.

Regularly, let your pet hammy out for 15-20 minutes every day. They will spend some time with you, interact and feel free, and will be much less restless.

Before you let your hammy out, it is a good idea to hand-train him and make him comfortable with you. This will make it feel relaxed and happy. 


3. Heat

If you have a female hamster and you see her going extra with her running habits; she may simply be in heat. 

If she does not have a male partner for mating, the female hamster can start behaving rather erratically. Running around in circles, biting the bars of the cage, and being over-hyper are all normal in this state. 

Plus, you should know that female hammies go into heat after every 4 days. There is absolutely nothing to be worried about and you can ignore it. 


4. Illness

In some cases, this could even be a signal for worry and might indicate a health condition in your pet hamster. Elderly hamsters are at risk of strokes and frantic running can sometimes be indicative of that.

Another risk factor for strokes are environments that are too warm for hamsters.

There could be more health-related reasons for running too. A vertigo-like condition, an infection causing them discomfort, or some other illness could all be possible. 

One way to tell that your hamster is indeed suffering a stroke is constantly running for more than a few seconds. It will also look dizzy, and move back and forth even while sitting.

If you notice these symptoms or suspect that something is off, consult a vet immediately. 


Can Hamsters Run Too Much?

Now you know that running a lot is completely normal for hamsters, even if it seems too much for us. But when is it too much? 

It is a common observation that hamsters run on their wheel to a crazy extent, and this worries and scares their owners too. You might even wonder if it’s possible for your pet hammy to die from this high level of exercise. 

Before you freak out..

Hamster knows their own body and when it feels too tired, it will stop running by itself. However, the only time you need to be concerned is if your hamster is not healthy. If it is dehydrated or malnourished, too much exercise can put it at risk. Make sure that your hamster is eating and drinking well.

And if your hamster is actually sick, it’s best to remove the wheel till it feels better.

Always remember that your gut feeling and instinct matters. If you see your hamster frantically running and something just does not feel right, trust your instincts, and take your pet to the vet.

Otherwise, we assure you that hamsters definitely have higher energy levels than what is considered normal to us humans. 


Final Thoughts

We hope this guideline helped you in understanding your pet better. Whether you are now relieved that your hamster is behaving normally, or you know it’s time to seek help- we wish the best to you and your little furry friend.