Why Do Hamsters Run In Circles? All You Need To Know

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:47 pm

Hamsters are very active by nature and they move and run around all the time, they cover 5-6 miles a day.

Being nocturnal, hamsters do most of their activity at night, digging tunnels, exploring the cage, and running in the wheel.

Hamsters can sometimes run in circles, which is completely normal for them, but sometimes it can also mean that they have a problem.

Why do hamsters run in circles?

Hamsters love to run in circles, it’s normal and healthy for their body and overall health.

It can be observed that the younger hamsters run more in circles than the older hamsters, as the older ones become slower and lazier.

But it can also mean that something is not right, that is, they may have a problem with their health.

So let’s see why our furry friends are running around, and then the possible problems from this activity.

They want to attract attention

Hamsters know how to run in circles when they want more attention to them.

For example, if they see that the owners are near them they will start running in circles.

It means that the hamster is happy and wants you to play with it a little and take it into your hands.

Energy consumption

Hamsters run in circles to use up the energy in their body.

If they have nowhere to run, especially when they are in the cage they have to run in circles they have no other choice.

If the hamsters were out of the cage then there would be no need for them to run in circles to waste energy.

When they are looking for food

If hamsters are hungry they will run in circles looking for food.

We leave them enough food, but sometimes we may forget, and the hamsters will show us that they are hungry and need more food.

If you notice that your hamster is running in circles and there is not enough food, immediately give him something to eat and he will stop running around.why do hamsters run in circles

When they have nothing to do

Hamsters know how to run in circles when they are bored.

They are very curious and constantly want to discover new things, so if they don’t have enough to do, they will run in circles out of boredom.

That’s why it’s important for them to have more toys and objects to play with every day so they won’t get bored of the time spent in their cage.

A small cage

Hamsters need as large a cage as possible to be comfortable and happy, or somewhere around 450 quadrant inches, while Syrian hamsters need an even larger cage of around 650 quadrant inches.

When hamsters have a small cage, they get nervous and cannot be active enough, which causes them to run in circles.

A small cage is not good for hamsters because apart from running in circles, they can also start to lose their appetite, which causes them to take in fewer nutrients and develop diseases.

Temperature differences

The ideal temperature for hamsters is between 65-75 F, anything more or less than these parameters they will not like and they will start running in circles.

Therefore, we should pay attention to the temperature in their cage, and in the room where the hamsters are, and always maintain it within their needs.

Mating time

This refers to female hamsters who know how to jump and run in circles when it’s mating time.

When you notice them doing something like that, you will know that it is breeding time for the female hamster, and this happens often because they are in heat every 4 days.

A hamster can be sick

Hamsters can also run in circles when they are sick.

By running in circles, they show that something is wrong with their health and then we will have to take them to the vet for an examination.

It may not be something serious like a cold, but we must not leave it to chance because it could be a more serious illness that could be fatal to their health.


Hamsters run in circles when they are stressed by different situations.

If you change their bedding, it may cause the hamster to run around in circles for a moment, but this will pass after a certain time.

If they are in danger of predators or other pets near them, they will get angry and start running in circles.

That’s why when you change the bedding, it’s best to take him out of the cage for 20 minutes so that his stress goes away and he can relax a little and of course play.

Noise can cause hamsters to run in circles

If the hamster is in an environment where there is a lot of noise, it can cause stress in them and as a consequence, they start running in circles.

A hamster gets scared when there is a lot of noise and it is not good for its health at all.

It is best to place the hamster’s cage somewhere where there is not so much noise, because it needs more silence and a peaceful environment.why do hamsters run in circles

What diseases can hamsters get if they run in circles?

When hamsters run in circles, it can mean health problems and danger to their lives. Here are some diseases that can cause our furry pet to run around.

Hamster ear infection

Hamsters often get an ear infection which can cause a lot of pain and cause them to start running in circles.

When hamsters have an ear infection they also have a balance problem because they start to tilt their head to one side.

A hamster’s ear infection occurs when bacteria enter the ear canal and cause problems with the middle or inner ear.

An ear infection is usually caused by dirt or sand.

When hamsters have an ear infection, other symptoms appear that will let you know that this is an infection, they are:

  • ear scratching
  • shaking of the head
  • pains
  • head tilt

In case of such infections, it is necessary to take the hamster to a veterinarian to examine it and give it appropriate antibiotic therapy.

If left untreated, an ear infection can cause damage to the brain and can be life-threatening.

To prevent an ear infection, it is necessary to freeze the bedding and sand before using it for the hamsters, which will destroy all the bacteria and bugs in it.

Disorders in the neurological system of hamsters

When hamsters run in circles, it can mean that they have problems with their neurological system, so let’s see what are the possible problems that can be the reason for their behavior.

Genetic disorders

If the hamster has an inherited neurological disorder of the brain it will run in circles, especially Roborovski hamsters who have these disorders more.

This is an inherited disorder from their parents and can become noticeable when the hamster is about 3 months old.

It is also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and then the hamsters run in circles uncontrollably.

Seeing stars

A neurological disorder when hamsters see stars is observed after they run in circles or walk back and forth in their cage.

Seeing stars is also noticed by the following signs:

  • stare up
  • they stand on their hind legs and look up
  • they roll over and fall on their backs

Hamsters can have a stroke

As a result of a stroke, hamsters may start running in circles, followed by loss of their balance and mental retardation.

Strokes in hamsters occur when they have blockages or leaks in blood vessels in their brains. A stroke occurs when the normal blood supply to the brain is blocked and prevented.

When hamsters have a stroke they may start to tilt their head to one side, but unfortunately, these effects are permanent.

Strokes in hamsters are very dangerous and can cause immediate and permanent paralysis.

If the paralysis is temporary, the hamster will recover in a few weeks, but permanent paralysis is unfortunately the worst option.

When hamsters have strokes, they usually die, because the strokes are repeated until they completely kill the hamster, because they gradually destroy their organs.

When hamsters have too many problems after strokes, euthanasia is sometimes done as a last alternative when there are no other options, all in order to reduce the pain and suffering from the consequences of multiple strokes.

Attacks from various diseases

Hamsters can run in circles as a result of various ailments such as:

  • brain injury
  • diabetes
  • ear infection
  • poisoning

All of these diseases can cause hamsters to run in circles and start tilting their heads to one side, falling on their backs, and other movement problems.

Why do hamsters run in circles even when they are outside the cage?

Hamsters can not only run in the cage, they can run in a circle and outside, i.e. around the cage itself.

This behavior means that we should let them out to play more often.

This kind of running around the cage is a sign of their joy and we don’t need to worry that something is wrong.

It is best to let the hamsters out of the cage for at least 1 hour to play and run around.

Read more: Why Do Hamsters Always Try To Escape? Let’s Discover

Why hamsters running around my feet?

If the hamster runs in circles around your feet, you don’t need to worry, it’s because he loves you and wants to play with you.

They are just trying to establish communication with you and you need to reciprocate. Hamsters are very curious and may run around you to see what you are doing.

If you don’t pay attention to them they will keep running in circles until you pick them up to play with them.

Read more: Why Your Hamster Moving Slowly? Find Out Now