Hamsters are cute and fluffy animals that often live in cages or enclosures. Due to their small size, it is easy to assume that they just sit still, eat, and sleep all day long. This is why many owners are left wondering if their little pets also release their pent-up energy suddenly. Do hamsters get zoomies just like dogs?
Just so you know, hamsters exercise on impulse and this is one of the reasons why you might see your small animals running in circles as if they are getting zoomies. Hamsters, like other pets, also need ample cardiovascular activity every day. They will also make hamster laps or get on a wheel.
However, it is important to remember that if your hamster seems like he is obsessively running in small circles or expresses otherwise erratic or similar repetitive movements, there is a possibility that your pet may be suffering from something. Physical illness, emotional distress, and even stroke may cause this behavior. Be sure to pay close attention to the behavioral patterns of your hamster and visit your vet if things look and feel unusual.
Common Reasons Why Hamsters Get Zoomies or Run Around in Circles
There are several reasons why hamsters may run around in circles or seem like they are getting zoomies, and these include the following:
A female hamster goes into heat every 4 days, and the moment they do, you can pretty much expect them to be a bit antsy. Hamsters in heat may have erratic behavior if they don’t have a mate. They may also do things such as racing around in circles, biting the bars of their cage more than usual, or even biting. You will be better off simply ignoring this behavior unless you like to have plenty of baby hamsters.
Illness may also be the reason why your hamster is running in circles. For instance, a hamster suffering from a stroke may start running around in circles. This is specifically more common in elderly hamsters.
Hamsters living in extremely warm environments may be prone to strokes. For these small animals, running in tiny circles for longer than several seconds is a sign of stroke.
In addition to stroke, there are still other conditions that may cause a similar behavior of running in circles such as a vertigo-like condition, infection, or other illnesses. If your pet is inexplicably running in circles or he always tilts his head, be sure to take him to the vet right away.
Your hamster needs lots of exercises daily. These creatures may be small but they were meant to do plenty of traveling for them to scavenge in the wild for long distances. In just one night, these small animals can run up a maximum of 5 miles.
If your hamster doesn’t have a wheel he can run on, he may end up racing around in circles inside the cage. However, some hamsters simply ignore their wheels and still run around their cage. No habitat for hamsters will be complete if there is no exercise wheel whether they want one or not. Your hamster should get his cardio every day and blow off steam.
Hamsters are good at keeping themselves entertained most of the time, particularly if there are distractions inside their cage such as some climbing toys, a few assorted things they can chew on, and an exercise wheel.
This doesn’t mean that your little pet no longer needs your attention every day, though. Make sure you still socialize with him and allow him to spend some time outside his cage at least once daily. This way, he can get some actual interaction and spend some time with you.
At first, your pet might not be enthusiastic about jumping in your hand. However, putting a treat on the palm of your hand to tempt him and gently stroking your pet daily will teach him and make him realize that you are not a threat in any way.
Once your pet becomes hand-trained and gets comfortable with you handling him, give him approximately 15 minutes of playtime daily. If you never let your hamster outside his cage enough, he may get restless and may obsessively run around inside his cage.
Signs of a Happy Hamster
Zoomies are often associated with happiness in other pets like dogs, and the same thing may also apply to hamsters.
Just like humans, your hamster can also experience emotions like happiness, optimism, depression, and sadness. When you notice your pet’s mood changing to a rosier approach from a gloomy demeanor every day, take note that this is quite normal.
How will you know if your hamster is happy, then? Here are a few signs to watch out for:
Excited for Playtime Outside or When You are Near the Cage
Happy hamsters love running around, playing well, stretching and yawning, and grooming themselves while outside the cage spending time with you. Once they hear you coming near or approaching the cage, a happy hamster will also be excited, welcoming, and run up to you as he waits for you by the cage’s door.
Despite being naturally solitary, hamsters also enjoy the company of humans. While it may take some time for your hamster to bond and get comfortable with you, the moment they get used to you stroking their fur, your pet will need and appreciate your attention.
Happy to Get Treats from Your Hand and Doesn’t Attack You as He Does
Hamsters are animals with poor eyesight, relying on their sense of hearing and smell to earn trust. Happy hamsters will recognize your scent and voice, feeling the excitement when you are near. If a hamster gets treats from your hand without attacking you at all, it is a good indication that they are already comfortable both with you and the environment.
They Make Cozy Beds and Hoard Food
Once a happy and normal hamster finds food, he will hide this in their elastic cheeks, carrying it to his cozy bed that they dug the whole day. These tiny animals love to explore, burrow, and make comfortable beds.