Why Did My Hamster Die With Eyes Open? Let’s Discover

Last updated on September 18th, 2023 at 11:17 am

When hamsters die they close their eyes and that is a sign that they are dead, but sometimes they die with their eyes open.

When you find the dead body of your hamster with its eyes open, you will surely be a little confused, and you will wonder why this phenomenon is happening.

Why do hamsters die with their eyes open?

When hamsters die with their eyes open it is usually due to sudden death. Sudden death can be a stroke, heart failure, stress, or something else when without warning hamsters die with their eyes open.

In today’s article, you will learn what are the reasons that cause hamsters to die with their eyes open and what to do if such a thing happens.

Why did my hamster die with eyes open?

Hamsters can die of sudden death and it happens very often with our furry friends.

Sudden death in hamsters happens suddenly even though before it happened the hamster was in excellent condition without any signs that it might die.

When hamsters die of sudden death, they may die with their eyes open, which is a reality for our pets.

We are all used to our hamsters dying after certain signs of illness, but obviously, this is not always the case, they can die instantly and surprise us.

What are the signs of sudden death in hamsters?

Although we think that the hamsters were fine and suddenly just died, all is not as it seems.

Sudden death in open-eyed hamsters, however, has signs that we may not have noticed enough.

Here are some signs of sudden death syndrome in hamsters:

  • dirty fur
  • loss of appetite
  • too much sleep
  • weight loss
  • change in color of urine
  • urinating too much
  • breathing problems
  • drinking too much water
  • change in the shape of the stool

All of these signs are signs that something is wrong with the hamsters and could mean that the hamsters have diseases that then cause them to die suddenly with their eyes open.

What are the reasons why hamsters die with their eyes open?

When hamsters die with their eyes open, or rather due to sudden death, it happens because of certain diseases and problems that caused this syndrome, so let’s read them together and find out.


When hamsters have cancer they can die very quickly and suddenly with their eyes open.

Cancer is a common occurrence in hamsters, but luckily only 4% are malignant or fatal tumors that spread rapidly throughout their body.

Skin lymphoma cancer is particularly characteristic in hamsters because it can lead to sudden death.

Research has been done that shows winter white hamsters are 5 times more likely to develop this type of cancer compared to Syrian hamsters.

Skin lymphoma cancer can be very difficult to spot, so hamsters should be taken in for check-ups often, especially if you notice lumps on the skin.

Timely treatment can save the hamster, so we need to take care of our furry friends.why did my hamster die with eyes open


Diabetes is dangerous for hamsters and can lead to sudden death with open eyes.

Dwarf hamsters in particular are prone to diabetes and die from this disease much more often than other hamster breeds.

When hamsters have diabetes the following signs may appear:

  • weight loss
  • lethargy
  • the strong smell of urine
  • increased thirst

That is why it is important to avoid giving hamsters food rich in sugar or give them very rarely as a treat, but never as a regular food.


The lifespan of hamsters is very short, they live for about 2-3 years, which means that they age quickly and can die suddenly with their eyes open.

When hamsters are two years old, and sometimes even less, they already begin to lose the ability of their organs and it can easily happen that someone dies without notice and warning.

During this period if the hamsters get sick it can easily happen that they die a sudden death with their eyes open.


Amyloidosis is a very rare disease that causes the accumulation of abnormal amyloid deposits in the body of hamsters.

These deposits can appear in the kidneys, brain, heart, and other parts of the body.

It can appear at once on several organs and cause sudden death with open eyes in our furry friends.

Symptoms of amyloidosis are:

  • lethargy
  • weight loss
  • body swelling
  • stiffness
  • shortness of breath

To diagnose and treat this disease, an examination by a veterinarian is required.

Heart disease

Hamsters can die suddenly of heart failure with their eyes open.

Heart attacks in particular are very common in hamsters and can happen very quickly even though the hamster appears to be in good health.

Older hamsters are particularly affected by developing congestive heart failure and can die quickly.

When hamsters have heart failure, symptoms such as rapid breathing and retention of abdominal fluid appear.

These are signs that we should pay attention to in order not to have a quick death in hamsters.

When hamsters have heart problems they can die when they are only one year old.

Eating toxic substances

If hamsters eat something toxic they can die quickly with their eyes open.

When hamsters eat something toxic like toys, colored objects, and similar things they can die from intoxication or even just from blockage.

That’s why we have to be careful when we fix something on their cage not to leave glue or other substances that are toxic and dangerous for their life.

Kidney problems

Hamsters can die suddenly from kidney problems.

If hamsters eat food with too much protein, or more precisely more than 20 percent, they can die, because the average hamster does not need more than 12% protein.

That’s why we must pay attention not only to a moderate amount of food, but also to know the nutritional composition or if it contains too much protein, which can obviously be fatal for our pet.

Wet tail

Wet tail is one of the most dangerous diseases that can cause the quick death of hamsters and they die with their eyes open.

When hamsters have a wet tail, they can die in 2 days if we don’t notice it in time and take them to the vet.

Symptoms of a wet tail are:

  • heavy breathing
  • lethargy
  • wet and soft stools
  • loss of appetite


Stress can cause rapid death in hamsters in a very short time.

Hamsters are very timid and quickly get stressed due to various reasons such as noise and danger from predators.

When hamsters are under stress their immunity weakens and they can die overnight and the next day we find them dead with their eyes open.

Respiratory infections of the respiratory organs

Hamsters are small and have small respiratory organs that are very delicate and prone to pneumonia.

Respiratory infections can result in quick death with eyes open in our furry friends.

If hamsters do not have enough oxygen due to infections they quickly lose the ability to breathe normally and therefore can die suddenly.why did my hamster die with eyes open


The cysts cause liver failure in hamsters and rapid death that sometimes manifests with open eyes.

The polycystic disease causes the appearance of cysts that can appear in several places:

  • pancreas
  • ovaries
  • liver
  • adrenal glands

Prompt and appropriate veterinary treatment is required to save the hamster’s life.

Do hamsters bury themselves before they die?

No, hamsters never bury themselves before they die.

They can die suddenly in various situations such as:

  • digging tunnels
  • playing
  • running the wheel
  • resting in the cage

All these situations show that the hamster can suddenly stop and die for no reason at all.

What are the signs that a hamster has died?

When hamsters die, they can surprise us unpleasantly and it can happen when we least expect it.

They should live for about 3 years, but sometimes they die much earlier due to diseases and other reasons.

Signs of a dead hamster are the following:

  • no pulse
  • bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • eyes closed or open
  • they don’t breathe
  • cold body
  • fetal position

What do hamsters do before they die?

Before they die, the hamsters ignore everything around them, lose their appetite, stop squirming, and sit in the corner of the cage.

When the last minutes of the hamster’s life come, it will stop curling its legs, they will become cold and stiff, and it will turn into a fetal position, i.e. the head will be placed between the front legs, the back will be bent more and the back legs will put to their chest.

Then its breathing and heartbeat will stop and the hamster will go completely numb and cold.

Read more: Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily? (How To Decrease)

What to do when hamsters die suddenly?

Unfortunately, when that moment comes when our pet dies, we have to take care of what to do with it.

It is best if you can bury your pet in the garden, but you should still check what the laws are in the location where you live so that you don’t have any problems with the law.

You can also cremate the body of the hamster where it is allowed and of course, you should find out the cost as it can be a more expensive option than the burial of the hamsters.

Read more: Can Hamsters Die From Fear? (Stress, Wet Tail & More)

How do hamsters die with their eyes closed?

Hamsters very often die with their eyes closed, they close their eyes when they are in the last moments of their life.

Hamsters before they die with their eyes closed begin to be less active and quieter.

In the last moments before they close their eyes, they will eat less and less, sleep much more than usual and have no interest in what is happening around them.

This moment is the saddest for all hamster owners, but unfortunately they live a very short life and we must be ready for this difficult moment as well.


Do hamsters turn hard when they die?

When hamsters die their body will be completely stiff after an hour or two. When a hamster’s body is limp then it is most likely still alive.

Why does my hamster look dead but still breathing?

When the hamster seems to be dead and still breathing, then it is in hibernation. To know if it is surely in hibernation, start slowly warming its body, move it a little and it will slowly start to wake up.

Can you touch a dead hamster?

When the hamster is dead it is best to be safe and wear gloves when you have to handle it. Also, be careful not to touch your clothes with the hamster’s body. When you bury the hamster you need to bury it somewhere where it will not be easy to dig up, avoiding the flower garden.

Can a hamster die from a dirty cage?

Hamsters can also die when their cage is dirty, because then there are high chances of a wet tail, which, if not treated immediately, will kill your pet in a short time.


Hamsters die with their eyes open when they have a sudden death.

It can happen due to various reasons such as old age, cancer, wet tail, diabetes, and other problems and diseases that can affect the hamster.

Sometimes we will manage to notice some of the signs that indicate that something is wrong with them, but unfortunately, we cannot always see them and help the hamsters.

Hamsters can be happy and cheerful, and the next hour we find them dead, so we should take care of them as best we can.

Read more: Can Hamsters Die from Loud Noises? Let’s Discover