Hamsters are one of the most popular pets in the world, especially for children. But when you get your kids a pet, they are going to want to play with them. Unfortunately, hamsters are nocturnal animals meaning that they may not be awake during the day for the family to interact with them. A lot of pet owners will take their hamster out to play anyway, but is it OK to wake up a hamster?
As a general rule, you shouldn’t wake your hamster up just to play, although doing this from time to time won’t be too detrimental. Doing it regularly could cause problems. You should limit the number of times you wake your hamster and this should only be when it is necessary.
But as a pet owner, it is important to understand why it is so important for your pet to have a good rest and what might happen if you keep waking them.
Can I Wake My Hamster?
In the main, it is better to allow your hamster to sleep when they need to. Hamsters are typically awake during the night.
This is because, in the wild, they are prey for a lot of other animals who are awake during daylight hours. Being nocturnal gives the hamster the best chance of survival.
But just because they are kept in captivity, this does not mean that their instinctive habits will be broken and pet hamsters will sleep for the vast majority of the day.
This can be frustrating because you will want to interact with your pet; after all, that is one of the main reasons that so many people adopt these small, furry friends.
But you should be mindful of your hamster’s well-being. Imagine if you were repeatedly woken when you were trying to sleep; you would soon start to feel the effects of fatigue and your mood would probably worsen.
If you get into the habit of waking your hamster every day just to play with them then this may have serious repercussions on their health. The main reason for this is that it can cause stress and stress in hamsters is never a good thing.
Stress can affect hamsters in different ways. Primarily, you will notice that your pet may become more aggressive and could suffer from hair loss, muscle tremors, and other unpleasant symptoms.
At worst, the related health problems from stress could cause death, and of course, nobody wants their hamster to pass prematurely.
However, there may be times when you must wake your hamster during the day, and provided that this is not done all too frequently, it isn’t a problem.
The most common reason that owners will wake their hamster is to clean the cage or perhaps for a visit to the vets.
You should weigh up the necessity before waking your hamster and if there is a chance that you could leave it until your pet wakes naturally, then you should do so.
If you do decide to wake your hamster, you should be aware that doing so will carry a risk of being bitten. This isn’t because your hamster has suddenly fallen out of love with you (and yes, they do form a bond when they are properly cared for), but because they may be frightened.
It is recognized that hamsters do not have the best eyesight and if they are suddenly woken by your fingers prodding them, this will alarm them. Their natural defense may be to attack with a sharp nip.
But When Can I Play With My Hamster?
As we have mentioned, a lot of people get a hamster because they want a pet that they can play with and this is fine. Hamsters love interacting with humans but it is important to remember that they are living creatures and should be respected.
While hamsters are nocturnal, you will notice that they usually emerge from their nests at dusk. For the most part, humans will still be awake when this happens so you will still have plenty of time to play with your fuzzy pal.
Alternatively, hamsters may still be awake at dawn so if you are awake early enough, this could be a prime opportunity to play with your pet and allow them out of the enclosure for some essential exercise.
How To Wake A Hamster
If you absolutely must wake your hamster for whatever reason, it is vital that you do this in the right way; a way that will cause as little stress as possible.
We mentioned that prodding your hamster or trying to pull them out of their nest could frighten them and cause them to bite. However, a lot of pet owners have seen success by gently talking to the hamster to rouse them from their sleep in a more pleasant manner.
Once you have gotten their attention, you might try offering a treat as a way of encouraging them out of the nest. You should remember to hold the treat close enough so that they can smell it but make sure that they don’t grab it and scurry back into the nest.
Even once your pet has woken up, you should keep in mind that they may feel a little disoriented; think about how you feel when you are woken. For this reason, it is important to give them time and make slow movements so as not to scare them.
Alternatively, you could darken the room so that the hamster thinks that it is night time and may wake naturally.
It is Ok to leave a hamster in the dark?
Hamsters are nocturnal animals and this means that when the lights go down and the moon comes out, they will be much more active. Their pattern may be different from ours but it is essentially the same way that we function in the day, merely in reverse.
However, if you leave the lights on at night, this may throw your hamster’s routine out so be sure to keep the lights dimmed when you go to bed. Your pet will be much happier this way.
Can you bring a hamster back to life?
One of the saddest things is that many hamster owners will find their hamster hibernating and assume that it has died. Now, let’s be honest, if your hamster has passed, there is very little chance that you or any vet will be able to miraculously bring them back to life.
However, if you find your hamster cold and still, it could be that they are hibernating, and in this case, you can ‘revive’ them. Gently stroking them or warming them up will likely do the trick.