Why Is My Hamster Shaking So Much?

You noticed your hamster shaking uncontrollably.

He doesn’t look too comfortable.

You tried to calm him down by stroking his pet gently. It doesn’t work. Neither does the usual trick of offering treats. 

At this point, I’m pretty sure you’re feeling worried.

Why do hamsters shake? Is this behavior normal?

Is It Normal For A Hamster to Shake?

Hamsters are known for their lively behavior. It is easy to shrug off a shaking behavior as simply being too energetic.

However, in most cases, a shaking hamster indicates that something may be wrong with the current situation. Shivering or shaking is usually the first sign of discomfort.

What Does It Mean When Your Hamster Is Shaking?

Humans shake for a lot of reasons.

Think about it. When we’re in a cold environment and do not have sufficient clothing, we will shake uncontrollably. We will also shake when we feel scared or nervous.

Heck, we may even shake when we’re overly excited.

Like us, hamsters shake for a lot of reasons – and most of the reasons why they shake are similar.

What Should I Do If My Hamster is Shaking?

Hamsters are not able to verbally communicate with us about their discomfort. 

As hamster owners, we need to learn how to read their body language and learn what causes hamsters to shake.

However, it can be challenging due to their small body. The fact that their tails are short doesn’t help either.

Thankfully, we can identify the potential problems rather easily if we know what to look out for.

#1 Make Sure the Room Temperature Is Not Too Cold

Hamsters tend to be most comfortable at 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

The first thing you can do is to check the room temperature to ensure that it is not too cold for your hammy.

The room should be kept at a consistent temperature at all times. You can consider placing a thermometer beside the cage to monitor the temperature.

Ideally, you also want to place the cage somewhere that doesn’t have too many drafts or isn’t too close to a radiator.

#2 Check For Possible Hibernation Or Torpor

Because hamsters are natural prey, they hibernate to survive the winter when it’s cold and food is scarce. And when it’s too cold, hamsters go into hibernation.

If your room temperature is too cold, there is a high chance that your hamster will go into a deep sleep, known as torpor. 

If your hamster is shaking in his sleep and his body appears stiff, do not attempt to wake him up right away. A good guideline is to slowly adjust the room temperature back to comfortable levels.

Once your hammy wakes up, he may continue to shiver due to the temperature change. Just allow him more time to adapt.

#3 Check For Signs Of Fear Or Anxiety

Our little furry pets startle easily. And I can relate.

Hamsters are really tiny compared to everyday objects. Any changes in the environment can stress your hammy. For example, he may need time to get used to a recently purchased cage or toy. 

Loud noises can also create fear. Noises that are typically not considered loud for us could be loud to them. For example, explosion or gunfire noises coming from your Netflix shows. Even an animal sound from your TV shows could set them off.

In the wild, hamsters are prey to a lot of animals. That’s why they are easily alarmed.

If you have other furry pets such as dogs or cats, their scent could also make your hammy panic.

To help your hammy to feel calm and at ease, identify what frightens him by removing potential factors progressively and gradually. Do not remove it all at once, otherwise, you do not know the root cause.

For example, isolate your hamster if you have other furry pets or reptiles at home. Don’t worry about him being alone. Hamsters are solitary animals.

Continue to monitor him and if he is still shaking due to fear, continue to remove anything new you have purchased recently, such as new bedding or toy.

Lastly, if he is still shaking, and while it hurts to hear this, it’s also possible your hamster is simply scared of you. Especially if you just brought him home recently.

Give your hammy some time to bond with you and he will naturally get used to you.

Also note that after bonding with your hamster, you may be excited to show off your new friend to family and friends. If you wish to do so, do take note of your hamster’s comfort level. They tend to get nervous around new people.

#4 Check If He’s Overly Excited

Although very rare, hamsters can also shake when they feel overly eager or excited.

This tends to happen when they smell their favorite treats or food. They may start getting jittery and restless. They may also stand up and make squeaking noises that sound happy.

They will stop shaking the moment they get the treat.

#5 Monitor For Any Health Problems

To monitor for any health problems, observe your hamster for symptoms such as coughing or sneezing. While their sniffles can be quite adorable, did you know that hamsters can easily die from infections like a cold if not treated promptly?

Appetite loss is also a telltale sign. Check to see if your hammy is refusing to eat, especially if it’s his favorite food.

You will also want to look for diarrhea, weird urine color, or other digestive problems. 

Bring your hamster to the vet immediately if you suspect any health related problems.

Key Takeaways

  • Shaking hamsters are usually a sign of discomfort and not normal behavior.
  • Make sure that your hamster is not in an environment that is too cold, otherwise he may enter hibernation or torpor.
  • Hamsters get scared and nervous easily, try to find the cause and eliminate them.
  • Hamsters may also shake due to health problems. Visit the vet immediately when in doubt.


Why is my hamster sitting still and shaking?

This behavior is commonly known as “freezing”. When hamsters are startled, they freeze. They may also start to shake as they are scared. Due to their poor vision, they need to rely on their hearing to assess the situation. As soon as they feel safe again, they’ll start moving.

Why is my hamster shaking with eyes closed?

If your hamster is shaking and his eyes won’t open, your hamster might be in a deep sleep. The room temperature is too cold. Ideal room temperature should be between 65°F and 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

Why is my hamster shaking and having trouble walking?

If your hamster is in his senior years, he may wobble when walking which is normal. Otherwise, if your hamster appears to be limping and shaking, bring him to the vet for assessment. He may have injured his legs.

Why is my hamster shaking and not moving much?

This may mean that your hamster is not getting enough food and water. Give him sufficient food and water for the energy he needs to be active.

Why is my hamster shaking and falling over?

If your hamster is falling over a lot, he could be suffering from a problem with its vestibular system – which helps maintain balance. Your hamster may also be shaking side to side.

Why is my hamster shaking head?

This may indicate that he is facing problems with his ear. It could be an ear infection or tumor. He should be seen by a vet immediately.

Why is my hamster shaking and weak?

Bring your hamster to the vet immediately. Especially if his eyes appear lifeless. He needs to be assessed by a professional.

Why does my hamster shake when I hold him?

When your hamster shakes when you hold him, it simply means he is nervous around you. It’s common especially if you just recently brought him home. Do not rush or force your hammy to bond with you. With proper care and time, it’ll grow accustomed to you.

Why is my hamster making weird noises and shaking?

Take your hamster to the vet for a check up. Weird noises (especially weird breathing noises) accompanied by shaking are usually caused by health problems.

My hamster is shaking and breathing fast!

Your hamster needs to see a vet immediately if he is breathing fast and heavily. Don’t sit around and wait for him to get better. Like humans, difficulty breathing is always a cause for concern.

Is my shaking hamster dying?

A dying hamster may be shaking from fear of death. However, don’t assume your hamster is dying. As long as he gets medical attention promptly, you can prolong your hammy’s life.

Scroll to Top