Can you scare a hamster to death? 

can you scare a hamster to death

I was looking at my hammy Biscuit hiding in her towel tube and wondered why she wouldn’t come out after I accidentally woke her up when I knocked over my glass of lemonade. She’d been in there, hardly moving, for an hour and a half and I started thinking, can you scare a hamster to death? I decided to investigate… 

Can you scare a hamster to death? YES, you can! You can most definitely scare your hamster to death. Hamsters can become stressed and anxious by being exposed to loud and sudden noises and movements and can unexpectedly die of a heart attack or stroke.  

How can you scare a hamster to death? 

This is really not something you want to try at home as it can be quite traumatic for the pet owner. After all who wants to lose their beloved pet, especially suddenly and unexpected. 

Loud noises are certainly something that can literally scare your hammy to death. However, its normally prolonged periods of loud noise and stress your pet endures.  

So don’t worry if you accidentally drop something with a bang, or kids run around the house noisily while playing. 

It’s issues like a loud bark next to the cage, dropping the cage, dropping your hammy, something chasing it that can be detrimental.  

So, like I said, don’t try any of these things on purpose obviously. No creature deserves that. 

Other reasons why you don’t want to scare your hamster 

Prolonged stress can make your hamster ill and that is of course something you want to avoid as illness can reduce your hamsters lifespan. 

And as this is too short as it is, it’s better to avoid this altogether. 

However, a stressed or scared hamster is also more likely to bite or scratch. This might make you like your pet a bit less, but it can also scare children if they handle a scared hamster.  

There is also a small chance that your hamster bite gives you an allergic reaction if you are prone to this. Bites also need to be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water to avoid infection. While infection due to hamster bites are small, it’s very important to seek medical attention when bitten and the cut becomes red, swells or looks infected, or if you develop a high temperature or have swollen lymph nodes. 

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How to handle your hamster so it’s not scared of you 

There is a lot you can do to settle your hamster and to make sure your hammy feels safe in your presence. 

Settle your hamster in when you first bring it home. This will help in the long run as your pet knows that there are no imminent dangers lurking.  

Always handle your hamster with care. Don’t squeeze it or hold it longer than wanted. If your hamster starts to wriggle, let it go. 

Let your hamster smell your hand before you pick it up. This can help your hamster feel secure knowing it’s a familiar smell rather than a threat. 

Don’t keep waking your hammy. While it can be annoying to have a pet who’s mainly asleep while you’re awake, hamsters are by nature nocturnal and should be kept asleep during the day. Your hamster will be cranky and annoyed, just how you would be if woken up several times at night. Your hammy will be its happy self when being left to sleep when sleepy.  

When your hammy walks around the cage, sniffing the air, that’s a good time to pick your hammy up as it’s awake, alert and curious. 

Feed your hamster a treat while stroking it. This will keep your hamster happy while you get to hold it. Not all animals like cuddles and this is a sure way to keep both of you happy. 

What to do when you think your hamster is scared and is hiding 

The most important thing to do, is make sure that your hammy has somewhere to hide in the first place. They love tubes to crawl through and will be happy to sit around in them at times too.  

Little nests and hamster houses work a treat too. 

If you are nervous about your hamsters health after a scare, it’s best to keep an eye out for a while. Chances are your pet is just ‘sitting it out’. As long as there is still movement on the body, showing that your hammy is breathing, chances are that all is just as it should be. It might have just got scared and went into hiding.  

This is very common behavior of hamsters and nothing to worry about. If my hamster wouldn’t come out after hours and hours while she would normally be up at that time, then I would definitely want to investigate. But when it’s normal sleep time, she might have dosed off while hiding and I would leave her be. After all she is not very happy when I wake her up at any time, but after a scare, it’s even more reason to leave her!  

How to reduce stress for your hamster 

Hamsters do feel stress and it’s important to acknowledge this. Things which are ok to you might be scaring your hamster. 

Do you have more pets in the house? Another hamster nearby? Are there children running around or near the cage? Is the cage placed near the tv? Do shadows move over the cage, from a curtain for example? 

While you don’t have to wrap your hammy in cotton wool, a quiet spot in your home will really make your hamster calmer. 

Something else to think about is the cage itself. Does your hammy have a hamster friendly living space? The cage needs to be well ventilated, and toys need to be placed inside to keep your pet entertained. But just as important, does your hammy have enough places to hide? Hamsters love to hide, and even though this is less exciting for you, as your hammy might disappear at times, it’s important for your hammy to have a place to feel completely safe.  

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 Can your hamster be scared of you? 

Yes, your hamster will be scared of you when you first bring your hammy home. He or she will need to get used to the new surroundings and noises. Hiding from you is very normal at this stage, and it’s important to keep your hamster in a quiet space for a while. So, in the kitchen might not be the best place for example. During this introduction time you can talk to your hammy softly and often, so they get used to your voice. This will help with bonding and trust.  

But even when you have introduced your pet hamster to your home in this soft and non-intrusive way, your hamster might still be scared of you at times. 

This is because hamsters overall are just quite skittish. They fear everything, which is really quite logical when you think of it.  

Imagine a little hamster in the wild. Now imagine how many predators could come out of nowhere, ready to have a little snack? I think I’d be skittish too! 

Hiding is a default position for a hamster, so even when it seems your hammy is afraid of you, it could just fear a sound it heard, unbeknown to you. Or a shadow which went over the cage. In nature that’s how a hamster stays alive. Don’t take it personal! 

And lastly, your hammy might just have a bad hair day. Did you wake up your hammy for example? Maybe your pet is not scared. Maybe it’s just annoyed.  

My overall thoughts on the question, can you scare a hamster to death? 

Even though you can scare your hamster literally to death, chances of this actually happening are very small. Which is a great relief! 

Your hamster will enjoy a calm surrounding and will be happy for you to pick it up when it’s awake and alert and when handled carefully and calmly. 

Always keep in mind that hamsters are low on the food chain and have many natural predators. This will forever keep them skittish, which you will just have to accept. 

So, if your hammy disappears into its little hamster bed or hides in the tubes, just give it space to come out when ready.  

This way you will enjoy your hammy pet and your hamster will feel more secure with you too. 

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What to do with a hamster when it dies? 

When your hamster pet dies you can cremate or bury it. Many people bury their hamster in their garden and create a memorial in honor of their beloved hamster. Others choose to cremate their dead hamster. This can be done at home but is normally organized via your vet. A small percentage of people dispose of their hamster in the trash, but as hamsters are seen as pets, this is the least popular choice. 

Can hamsters die from stress? 

Yes, your hamster can die from stress both instantly and over time. When your hamster is chased by another pet for example, your hamster could die of a heart attack. However, most stress related diseases in hamsters are due to prolonged stress. This can be caused by moving their cage often, excited pets and children around the cage, loud noises or predators within range. 

Can hamsters die and come back to life? 

No hamsters can’t die and come back to life, however hamsters can seem to be dead because they are in hibernation and can be woken up by increasing the temperature in your home to over 20°C. This will give the feeling of bringing your hamster back to life, but in reality, you have woken it up from deep sleep. 

Why would a hamster die suddenly? 

Most ‘sudden’ hamster deaths are old age related. Especially if there are no signs of illness or injury. But it could also be a high stress environment for your hamster or internal injuries not visible to the eye. 

How do hamsters usually die? 

Many hamsters die of old age. They seem fine one day and are dead the next. Their dead often seems to be early and unexpected, but in reality, the hamster is old and at the end of its lifespan. Hamsters also die of accidents, like falling from great height and disease. 

What do you do when your hamster dies? 

It can be very upsetting when your hamster dies and it’s OK to be sad. You will need to think if you want to cremate or bury your dead hamster and if you need help doing so. While some people cremate their hamster at home, a vet can help you organise for your hamster to be cremated as well. You will also need to clean your hamsters cage thoroughly. While this can be a difficult task, as it makes your hamsters passing final, many hamster owners will want a new hamster friend at some point. And it’s important to keep bacteria at bay so your new hamster can have a happy healthy life with you. 

How do you bring back a dead hamster? 

Sometimes hamsters look like they’ve died, but in reality, they’re hibernating. This is the only time you can bring back a ‘dead’ hamster. You can do so by raising the temperature in your home. It needs to be over 20°C at all times, otherwise your hamster might go into hibernation.  

How do you wake up a hibernating hamster? 

Hamsters can go into hibernation when the air temperature falls under 20 °C so it’s important where you position your hamster’s cage in your home. Air conditioners are often the culprit if the cool air directly blows towards your hamster. So, position your hamster somewhere where the temperature does not fall under 20°C. Should your hamster have gone into hibernation, warm up the room your hamster is in so your hamster is fooled that warm weather is upon it and that it can come out of hibernation again. 

Can hamsters die from hibernation? 

Yes, pet hamsters can die when they hibernate, though it’s not the hibernation itself but dehydration which can kill them. This is because pet hamsters don’t actually know how to go into hibernation, but cold temperature has triggered them to do so. Therefore, it’s important to keep the temperature warm near your hamster  

Does a dead hamster stay stiff? 

If your hamsters body is stiff, then this is a clear sign that he’s dead and that rigor mortis has set in. Your hamsters body will stay stiff. Rigor mortis will start soon after death, and your hamster’s body will be stiff after one or two hours. If your hamster seems dead but his body is limp, not stiff, he’s likely in deep sleep (hibernation). In that case DO NOT BURY YOUR HAMSTER! Instead, put the heating on and warm up your home so your hamster can come out of hibernation. 

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