Do Hamsters Dream?

By Dawn | Hamster Behavior
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Many hamster owners will have noticed their beloved pets twitching or moving around in their sleep. When we see this behavior in humans, we often associate it with dreaming. Of course, we know that other, more intelligent animals dream, dogs, for example, but do hamsters dream?

There is evidence that hamsters, along with all other mammals do dream. So, when hamsters twitch in their sleep, it could be that they are dreaming of running and playing. However, hamsters may also move about in their sleep due to a natural reaction to avoid becoming prey to another animal in the wild. 

This subject got me excited because I’ve always had an interest in dreams and sleep. So, I did some more research on hamster dreaming and will share what I found in this article.

Do Hamsters Dream?

It isn’t all that often that we get to observe our hamsters when they are asleep. Since they are usually nested up in their hideouts, however, you may be surprised at how they behave when you do see them sleeping. 

Your pet may make a series of movements. Some people have noticed that it looks as though their hammy is running; perhaps they are dreaming about this? 

Other pet owners have noticed twitching, which is very common in these animals when they are asleep.

The reason for this is related to how they protect themselves in the wild. Hamsters are quite low down in the food chain, so when they are asleep, it is vital that they are still able to remain alert in case a predator tries to attack them. 

There is some suggestion that hamsters do retain a degree of awareness when they are sleeping as a way of being on their guard. 

Of course, in the wild, when they are sleeping, a hamster will burrow under the ground to keep safe. It is for this reason that you must supply your pet with suitable bedding in their enclosure so that they can mimic this natural behavior in captivity. 

But in addition to a lot of moving around, many pet owners have noticed that their hamster will make noises in their sleep. 

This could be squeaking, screaming, or breathing heavily. It is likely that you would notice this more than you would notice the movement. So it is worth understanding why your pet might be doing this. 

In most cases, it is likely that your hamster is merely making noises as they dream. This behavior is not exclusive to hamsters. If you have ever slept next to another human being, you will have noticed how we also make a selection of snoozing sounds, and in this way, hamsters aren’t all that different from us. 

If you are concerned about your hamster or think that the noises sound as though they are having a nightmare, there is the option to wake them up gently. 

The hamster will come out of the dream and will quickly drop back off to sleep and get the rest that they need. 

With all of this in mind, it is important to note that hamsters may also make noises in their sleep as a result of something other than dreaming. 

In these cases, it is vital that you address the issue for the sake of the health of your pet. 

When Should I Be Concerned About Sleep Noises?

It may surprise you to learn that hamsters who are kept in enclosures together may make more noises in their sleep than those who live alone. 

This may not make a lot of sense at first thought because it is not uncommon to see several baby hamsters kept together at a pet store, and it is possible to house some hamster together. But that doesn’t mean that it is always for the best. 

There are many stories of hammies having nightmares about being attacked by other hamsters. If there is any aggression in the setup, it may be best to consider housing your pets in separate cages. 

However, the more likely problem is that your hamster has some sort of health condition. If you have noticed that these noises are accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, this could indicate that there is a respiratory problem. 

In this case, you would need to have your pet seen by a vet as soon as possible. 

Furthermore, this wheezing could be caused by some sort of lump that is obstructing the breathing. In many instances, this could be a tumor; this may be benign or something more serious, so again, it is crucial to have your hamster seen.

Some hamsters will make noises when they are sleeping because they are too cold, or indeed, too warm. 

It is a good idea to take a look at the sleeping conditions to make sure that your pet is always comfortable when bedding down.

Ideal Sleeping Conditions For A Hamster

Choosing the right bedding is the most important thing when looking at creating a comfortable and safe space for your hammy to get some Zzz’s.

Most hamster owners would agree that wood shavings such as Aspen are the best option, but there are plenty of choices, including shredded paper, hamster bedding pellets, and the soft bedding that can be purchased from your local pet store. 

The important thing is to provide your hamster with enough bedding so that they can burrow down like they would in the wild. 

However, the temperature of the room is also important. If the room that the cage is in is particularly cold, it may be worth covering the cage over with a blanket during the day. 

It is known that if a hamster is too cold, they will start showing signs of lethargy.

Related Questions

Do hamsters miss their owners?

It isn’t uncommon for pet owners to become concerned that their hamster will miss them if they are not around for large chunks of time. However, the good news is that hamsters are naturally solitary and will thrive just fine when they are left alone. That being said, it is still important to spend time bonding with your pet. 

Do hamsters like to be petted?

While hamsters don’t need continual attention from their owners, there is no denying that they love a bit of fuss. When you spend time with your pet and gently stroke them, they will adore having your attention and affection.