13 Ways To Tell That Your Hamster Is Stressed

Have you ever noticed that your hamster is acting strange and wondered if they were stressed or not?

It can be hard to tell if they are because hamsters are really good at hiding their stress because they’re prey animals.

So after I did a little bit of research, I put together a list of 13 ways that you can tell that your hamster is stressed.

That way it’ll be easier to tell their stress behaviors apart from some of their other common behaviors.

Your Hamster Will Be More Aggressive When They’re Stressed

The first way to tell that your hamster is stressed is if you see them being more aggressive than usual.

This is usually easy to spot because hamsters aren’t normally aggressive animals.

So for example, if you see your hamster acting aggressively when you come up to them, try to play with them, or just generally interact with them, then they could be stressed out.

Sometimes while they’re acting aggressively they can also make noises like little squeaks too.

Hamsters are mainly quiet animals, so most of the time you can tell if there’s an issue with them when you see that they’re trying to vocalize what they’re feeling at the time.

You’ll Notice Some Repetitive Behaviors

Another sign that your hamster is stressed out is if you notice that they’re displaying some repetitive behaviors.

Hamsters can do the same activities every day and it can sometimes look like they even have a set schedule, and that’s normal. But what’s not normal is if you see them doing different repetitive tasks.

One example of repetitive behavior for a hamster is when they start pacing back and forth throughout their cage.

Another example of this behavior in a hamster is when they move most of the bedding out of their home and then put it all back in over and over again.

These behaviors aren’t that normal for a hamster, so if you see them displaying some similar behaviors then it could mean that they’re stressed.

A Stressed Hamster Won’t Eat And Drink Normally

A stressed-out hamster won’t eat and drink like they normally do. They won’t feel comfortable eating and drinking especially out in the open part of their cage.

Sometimes they won’t even store as much food when they’re stressed as well.

If they’re not eating and drinking as much then that can start to lead to some health issues over time.

So if your hamster is stressed out and doing this for an extended period of time, then you might need to take them to the vet.

That way you can get a professional opinion on what might be wrong with your little pet.

Hamsters That Are Stressed Will Bite And Climb Their Cage

Sometimes when a hamster is becoming stressed they will start to bite on or climb their cage.

The reason why is that sometimes biting their cage can be a way for them to relieve some of their stress. So if your hamster doesn’t usually bite their cage then this could be a sign that they’re starting to stress out.

That being said, when a hamster starts to climb their cage or bite on the cage bars it can have multiple meanings.

For example, some hamsters just like biting on their cage and it’s not really a sign that they’re stressed. They will also do it sometimes when they don’t have enough chew toys as well.

So if your hamster normally bites their cage bars or they’re biting it because they don’t have enough chew toys, then most likely they’re not doing it out of stress.

Your Hamster Will Start Hiding Too Much

Hamsters normally hide when they’re sleeping and sometimes eating and that’s perfectly fine for them to do.

However, if you notice that they hide all the time then it could mean that your hamster is stressed out.

So if your hamster is hiding too much then something may have recently stressed them out or scared them.

This can also happen after you first adopt them because it’s usually a stressful time for a hamster when they’re in new surroundings.

So if they’re new to your home and still getting used to their new environment, then they may be hiding a lot out of stress.

A Hamster That’s Stressed Will Freeze Up

Another way to tell that your hamster is stressed is if they start freezing up. Because hamsters are prey animals they can spend a lot of their time on high alert.

So if something surprised them and caused them to start stressing out, then you may see them sit still in one spot almost like they’re frozen in place.

There are a few reasons why a hamster will sit there frozen and shaking, but the main reason is that something may have scared and stressed them out.

This can happen if they’re not used to you yet and you come near their cage, or even when they hear loud noises that they’re also not used to yet as well.

You’ll Notice They Won’t Be Doing Their Normal Activities

You can tell that your hamster is starting to become stressed if you notice that they’re not doing most of their normal activities.

Normal activities can vary from hamster to hamster, but generally, they will do the same things throughout the day.

For example, if you normally see your hamster running on their wheel, playing with their toys, or just playing out in the open all the time then they’re probably okay and not that stressed out.

But it can be a sign that they’re stressed out when you stop seeing them consistently do the normal activities that they usually do on most days.

Your Hamster Will Try To Escape

A hamster that’s stressed out can start making a lot of escape attempts. So you’ll usually see them try to get out of their cage anyway that they can.

They’ll start biting at their cage and may even attempt to climb out of it as well.

If there are bars on their cage then they might also try to slip through it so that they can escape what’s stressing them out.

Even though it can mean multiple things when a hamster digs a lot, a stressed hamster will start digging at the corner of their cage which can also mean that they’re trying to escape sometimes too.

You May Notice Your Hamster Losing Their Hair

Hair loss can also be another sign that a hamster has been stressing out too much.

Some hamsters will start to lose their hair if they stay stressed out for too long. That being said, hamsters can lose their hair for many different reasons.

So if you notice that your hamster it’s starting to lose some of their hair then it’s important that you figure out if what’s causing them to lose their hair is actually stress.

Because it could be something that can be easily fixed like keeping bigger pets away from their cage or lowering loud noises that stress them out.

If that’s the case then it’s fine, because reducing their stress levels may help with the hair loss.

However, when a hamster starts losing a lot of their hair it can also mean that they have health issues. So if they continue to lose their hair then you may need to take them to the vet for a professional opinion.

A Stressed Hamster Won’t Want To Be Held

Hamsters that are stressed out will not want to be held or handled in any way.

So you can tell that your hamster is stressed if they are used to being held or handled, and all of a sudden they don’t want to be touched anymore.

That can be a very stressful experience for a hamster and that’s normal because of the size difference between you and them.

Even if they’re used to you holding them, when they’re stressed out they may try to bite you so that you’ll let them go.

If that’s the case, then you should stop trying to hold them for a while until you find some ways to calm your hamster down.

Hamsters That Are Stressed Will Sleep More Than Usual

Another way to tell that your hamster is stressed is if you notice that they’re sleeping more than they usually do.

When a hamster doesn’t come out of their home or sleeps more often than they normally do, then that can mean that they’re stressed out or even scared of something.

Hamsters can sleep a lot and at odd hours of the day, so it’s normal not to see them come out of their homes all the time while you’re around.

But if you’re used to seeing them at certain times and now they remain asleep or aren’t coming out of their homes as much anymore, then it could be a sign that they’ve been stressed.

A Stressed Out Hamster Will Chatter Their Teeth

A hamster that has become stressed out may start chattering their teeth. This type of behavior can show that they are really stressed or even irritated over something.

So if you notice that they’re chattering their teeth a lot and you continue to try to interact with your hamster, then it can lead to them trying to bite you.

If that’s the case then you’ll have to give them some space if you start to notice this behavior.

As long as you have a little bit of patience by not bothering them as much, then the time that your hamster is spending alone can give them a chance to calm down and reduce their level of stress.

When A Hamster Is Stressed They Will Act More Skittish

When your hamster starts to act skittish it’s a good way to tell that they’re already stressed out.

Certain loud sounds and fast movements that they’re used to will quickly scare them and can cause them to become even more stressed out too.

So when they’re acting this way what you usually will notice is that they will be quick to run away from you.

That way they can get away and hide until either they have calmed down or they have figured out what caused them to become so scared.

If they’re acting skittish and you can tell that your hamster is stressed, then it’s a good idea for you and them that you give your hamster some time to calm themselves down for a while.


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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