Why Is My Hamster Rolling On His Back? (Reasons+What To Do)

It can be an alarming situation for any owner when they find their Hamster rolling on their back for the first time. You might be curious to learn what does this behavior indicates? Why is my Hamster rolling on his back? I was amused when this happened the first time with me. So, I asked a few experts and read a bunch of research works the same. Here is what I found out!

Hamsters often roll on their back to seek their owner’s attention. Skin parasites or mites are yet another primary reason for the same. They also display such behavior to mark their scent, to regulate their body temperature, or while just relaxing. Some other reasons include stress, fear, and regular grooming.

If you cannot determine the cause of this behavior in your little one, then it would be wise to consult a veterinarian for the right guidance.

Hamster Essentials
Hamster Essentials

Now, let us learn more about such behavior in Hamster. This article will help you find the cause behind your Hamster rolling on his back and thus find a possible solution for the same.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

What Does It Mean When Your Hamster Rolls On Its Back?

There can be several reasons due to which your Hamster might be rolling on his back. Some of the causes can be normal behavior and nothing to be worried about, while others might need some thorough examination and medical assistance.

Observing your Hamster’s body language and expression can help you understand the reason behind even better.

I have tried listing some of the common signs that many Hamster owners notice and often ask in the community. So, let’s have a closer look at them.

Trying To Seek Your Attention

Hamsters often try to seek attention by rolling on their back. There are high chances that your Hamster will show such behavior when you are around them or when they see you come from a far distance.

Hamsters often get curious seeing their owner around them. They try to find out what you are doing. They often think that it’s time for their meal or that you have brought them their favorite treat.

If you do not provide your Hamster with enough attention, they might keep rolling on their back. Such behavior also indicates that they might be affectionate towards you or that they want to be petted.

Your Hamster Is Scared

Fear is yet another factor due to which Hamsters are often seen rolling on their back. Being prey animals and are territorial, they do not like being around other pets such as dogs, cats, or even birds.

It is important to house your Hamster in a safe and secure place. Keep them out of reach from the other pets of your family.

Your Hamster might also get scared due to loud music, the sound of lightning, etc. Therefore, you must avoid playing loud music or watching movies when your Hamsters are around.

Hamster Rolling In Sand Bath (Part Of Their Grooming Behavior)

Hamsters are naturally clean pets. We often see them Hamster grooming. As Hamsters can not use water to clean themselves, sand baths are the best alternatives. Sand baths make sure that our little ones stay clean without putting their life at risk.

Hamsters often roll on their back to coat their fur sand. This behavior is quite normal in Hamsters, and there is nothing to be worried about.

Rolling in hand helps the Hamsters to equally distribute the natural oil in their skin. Besides this, it also helps to remove all the attached dust particles and debris from their fur.

If your Hamster uses the sand bath regularly, make sure you change the sand every 4-5 days. This is important because the poor quality of the sand can contribute to severe skin-related allergies in our little ones.

Also Read:

Hamster Scratching And Rolling (Possibility Of A Skin Disease)

Certain health problems cause severe discomfort to our Hamsters, due to which they often start to roll on their back. It is important to know the cause at first to cure the pain of our little ones.

If you notice your Hamster continuously rolling on their back with some other signs such as regular itching or loss of fur, then there are high chances that they might be suffering from a skin problem.

Attack by certain parasites or mite infestation causes skin irritation in our Hamsters, due to which they roll on their back to seek comfort.

Most of the skin complications in Hamsters require professional assistance. Therefore, it is advised to avoid trying any home remedies and approach a vet as soon as possible.

Maintain Body Temperature

Hamsters often roll on their back to keep the temperature of their body cool. Rolling on the back gives them instant relief from the excessive heat.

The ideal temperature for Hamsters ranges from 68°F-74°F (22°C- 24°C). Therefore, if you live in some extreme conditions, you need to find some alternative way to maintain the temperature around your Hamster’s cage.

Frequent changes in the temperate can be dangerous for our Hamsters. Keep your Hamster’s enclosure in a proper place so that you do not have to move it now and then.

Also Read:

Marking Their Scent

Hamsters are dominant and prefer to have their own living space. They try to keep all the intruders away from their place by rolling on their back in an attempt to spread their scent all over the place.

Also, Hamsters are primarily known to communicate by the means of scent. They use their scent gland to pass on the messages.

When you find your Hamster rolling at a certain place, there are chances that he is trying to mark his scent over there. By doing this, they tell the intruders that they have been there and have claimed the spot. This behavior is a way to keep any potential predators and threats away.

Stress In Hamsters

Hamsters often roll on their back when they are stressed. Hamsters can get stressed pretty quickly. Being prey animals, they always look out for predators around them.

Your Hamster may start to roll on its back in the presence of your other larger pets. They may even get stressed out on seeing a guest or unknown member in your home.

Stress in Hamsters often indicates that they might be suffering from severe anxiety, either at a physical or mental level. Listed below are some of the common causes of stress in Hamsters:

  • Sudden loud noises
  • An abrupt change in their routine
  • Lack of floor time
  • Presence of larger pets around their cage
  • Small and unmaintained enclosure
  • Boredom
  • Lack of ventilation and unstable temperature
  • Excessive handling
  • Excess traveling

If you feel your Hamster is stressed, do not take it easy. A stressed Hamster can fall sick in no time. Stress also leads to a compromise in our Hamster’s immune system.

It is important to take certain measures to calm down a stressed Hamster. Do not try to pick them up forcefully. Instead, give them time to figure out things on their own. If you feel your Hamster is sick, take him to a vet.

Also Read: How To Calm Down A Stressed Hamster? (You Must Know)

Relaxing Behavior

If your Hamsters are rolling on their back and feeling relaxed and calm, then it indicates that they are happy. It might also mean that your Hamster is feeling safe and secure in his living space.

There are times when your Hamster might want to roll on his back for no reason at all. There is a possibility that he likes the feeling of rolling on a certain object.

You will notice that your Hamster prefers to roll around certain accessories (that have no strong smell) of the cage. There is nothing to be worried about in such cases. It may be a simple back rub.

You might find this rolling behavior of your Hamster scary and dangerous. However, your Hamster would never do it if it was causing him any discomfort or pain.

Have a look at these amazing Hamster seed mix which I got from amazon. My Hamster loves them, yours will love it too!

What To Do When Your Hamster Rolls On His Back?

Hamsters might roll on their back due to several reasons. If your Hamster is rolling on his back out of happiness, excitement, or content, you should not be concerned at all.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

However, if your Hamster is rolling on his due to stress or some other negative reason, it might be an alarming situation for you. If your Hamster is scared or annoyed and you know the reason behind the same, then you must try to eliminate the same.

Also, your Hamsters might get stressed if you have other larger pets around your Hamster’s cage, such as cats or dogs, or even smaller pets like guinea pigs in that case. In such cases, you Hamster might get scared and roll on their back as an act of defense.

Besides this, you must try to understand the reason for which your Hamster might be rolling on his back. Eliminate the reason if it is necessary and possible for you.

Try to calm your Hamster by talking to them or offering them their favorite treat. If you feel your Hamster is sick, take him to the vet. Delay in treatment might worsen the situation.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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