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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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Pamela, 7 April 2022

When I pet my hamster it will freeze and stick bum up. Now what's up with that? She just started doing this.

Skyla, 29 March 2020

This recently happened to my hamster. I was having a tough time and picked her up. Then suddenly, she froze. I poked her while I was still in tears. She just pointed her ears to me. I guess she was listening to my sobbing. This used to happen to my former hamster, too. She would also point her ears to me whenever I was sobbing. Then, they would both let me pet and cuddle them. It was very soothing for me.

Ben, 28 March 2020

Too the comment above... if your hamster is 3 years old and acting sick... It’s probably because it is and is literally about to die due to old age because 3 is old AF for a hammy

Opal, 1 March 2020

Well. Can anyone answer this? I have had two other hamsters and have never seen this happen. Basically, me and her will be standing and I'll be petting her. Then, my hamster will freeze and then look at my brother's door. After that, she will jump off me and run under my bed.

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