Why Does My Hamster Freeze?

There are lots of potential reasons for hamsters to stop moving temporarily: they can freeze both out of fear and surprise, or they can pause their movement so that they can listen more carefully to something that they’re unsure about. Although you might want to alter your hamster’s environment to make it less stressful, there isn’t usually a problem with your pet’s health. However, if your hamster is showing this freezing behaviour to excess then you might want to get them checked by a veterinarian.

The normal cause of hamsters stopping still is fear. Is your hamster a new pet? If so, it’s in a very strange environment and there will be lots of things capable of scaring them, from new sights and smells to unfamiliar noises and people. Even if your hamster hasn’t been brought into your home recently, there are still things that can make it nervous. For example, does your pet freeze a lot when the TV is on? Hamsters have good hearing, and so a dog barking on the TV, a loud bang, or even a strange noise could be enough to give your pet a bit of a fright.

hamsters stay still
Sometimes hamsters freeze, staying very still

If your hamster stops moving, then this could be in order to enhance their senses so that they can figure out what’s going on around them. Hamsters don’t have great eyesight, so they rely on their other senses more than we humans do, and if they aren’t moving, then they can better hear what’s going on around them. In the wild, freezing when they hear some sort of noise near them allows them to listen carefully to what’s going on, and by stopping their movement they can also reduce the chance they’ll be spotted by a predator.

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Nathan, 22 April 2019

My hamster is pushing on 3 years now and is beginning to get pretty sick or at least it seems that way, we’ve tha Ken him to the vet beffore about a problem with his eye which they could not do anything about and now it has compleatley closed up and he can’t see out of it, but I have another concearn, not only has he got little lumps all over him but also his feet keep on sealing a kind of residue and also whenever I pick him up he doesn’t wake up he just kind of cracks open his eye and stares at me while he has flopped in my hands, then I put him on my knee and it’s like he’s paralysed or something because he just falls over and goes back to sleep, but he can still walk but he will only walk to get food and he has only been eating a tiny amount recently, like I said he is very old but also his hair has started falling out and I don’t know what on earth to do because he’s had a great life with everything that a healthy hamster would need, he hasn’t been kept in a cage, he’s been in a large DIY pen but with loads of safe spots and a good varied diet... please can someone help me because I’m so worried about him

Autumn, 21 March 2019

My hamster keeps on staying in her play tube for a long time I just got it yesterday it's 4 months old I think but I'm worryied

Kemikmorrison, 16 February 2019

My hamster , at night when I check on him, he freezes, and looks curious,when I pick him up he sleeps for abou five to ten minutes on my lap, is this normal, he is four months old, and I have been training him, he responds well. He just seems to sleep an awful lot, normal?he eats, well,and likes his water and treats, Kemikmorrison.

Marissa, 30 December 2018

My hamster is only about 5 months and tonight he made a sound very loud and move then I picked him up and put him on my bed and he frozen and curled up I am still in fear what happened

Jasmine, 22 August 2018

I’m still not sure wether I should go to the vet or not. My hamsters freeze sometimes but they are very reluctant to move they just sit there and I’m worried. It’s not like it’s in the morning so when they would be sleeping it’s normally afternoon or early evening we get them out for some exercise. Lately they just don’t want to run around they just sit and I’m worried about them.

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