Why Is My Hamster Running In Circles?

Sometimes it becomes difficult to understand our Hamster’s body language. It can be alarming as well as amusing for some Hamster owners if they find their little one running in circles. What does this behavior indicate? Is my Hamster trying to convey something? Is he sick? I was curious to learn when it happened the first time with me. So, I went ahead and consulted one of my veterinarian friends. Here is what I found out!

In general, circling behavior in Hamsters is caused due to neurological brain disorders such as ‘Hamster Circling Disorder’ or vestibular disease (ear infection). Some Hamsters also run in a circle when they are happy, excited, or want attention. It is best to consult a vet to avoid any health issues.

You need to understand your Hamster’s body language if you want to identify the reason for such behavior in your little ones.

There is a lot more to learn about this circling behavior of our Hamsters and what we should be doing about it. So, I would encourage you to read this article till the end so you can understand it in detail.

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

What Does It Mean When Your Hamster Runs In Circles?

Running in a circle is usually a part of a Hamster’s normal behavior. This scene is quite common for most Hamster owners. Sometimes, the runs are accompanied by squeaking noise as well.

It is a healthy habit in Hamsters. Therefore, you must not worry about it. Also, it is observed that this circling behavior is more frequent in your Hamsters than in adults.

With increasing age, adult Hamsters become slow and lazy. On the other hand, baby and young Hamsters love to circle. This behavior also acts as a kind of exercise for our little ones.

Circling behavior in Hamsters signifies a variety of things. As Hamster owners, you must be curious to learn it all. Listed below are a few reasons due to which your Hamster might be showing such behavior:

  • Asking For Your Attention: Sometimes Hamsters circle to draw your attention towards them. They may start circling when they get a glimpse of their owners or when they see their owners coming from a far distance.
  • Asking For Food: It is very important to provide our Hamsters with the appropriate quantity of food. If your Hamsters do not get enough fresh food daily, they might start circling. Also, if your Hamsters know that they are going to get a treat from you, then in such cases, they might start circling out of excitement.
  • They Are Bored: Hamsters are quite curious and cheerful, they cannot sit quietly in one place for a very long time. Therefore, it is important to provide them with varieties of toys so that they never get bored. When bored, they might probably start circling or biting the cage.
  • Display Of Dominant Behavior: Hamsters are territorial. If they feel some possible threat nearby, they might start circling to mark their territory.
  • Heat: Female Hamsters go into heat every four days. When they do, they can become a little skittish. They might start running frantically in such cases.
  • Your Hamster Might Be Sick: If your Hamster is suffering from a neurological disorder called hamster circling disorder, then he might show the behavior of circling. Also, the vestibular disease in Hamsters shows similar symptoms. Head tilts are another reason. The best idea would be to visit a vet.

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Health Concerns

Some health complications often encourage circling behavior in Hamsters. Observe your little one intently if they have been circling for a while. Do they look sick? Are they in pain? Are they happy? Are they stressed out?

Neurological disorder or vestibular disease in Hamsters are the main reasons for such behavior in Hamsters. You must look out for all the symptoms and gather the necessary details to let the vet understand the situation quickly.

Neurological Disorder

‘Hamster Circling Disorder’ is a neurological brain disorder in Hamsters. It is quite common in Roborovski Hamsters. It id genetically passed to Hamsters.

Most Hamsters start showing symptoms at the age of 3 months if they have this disorder. It is best to take your Hamster to the vet in such cases. Delay in treatment may worsen the situation.

Besides this, if your Hamster has recently injured himself or had a fight with one of your other Hamsters, then he may start showing such behavior. Suffering from head trauma is another reason.

Vestibular Disease In Hamsters

Head tilts due to ear infection in one of the most common reasons behind circling behavior in Hamsters. In such conditions, Hamsters continue to circle throughout without even taking breaks for food and water.

The infection causes the pressure to build-up inside the ear canal, resulting in severe pain and disbalance in Hamsters. This often results in circling behavior in Hamsters. Due to this, the Hamsters may even trip or fall over.

In such cases, the best choice is to consult the vet. The vet will prescribe some antibiotics for the ear infection. Delay in treatment could result in permanent damage to your Hamster’s ear. Sometimes, the infection can turn serious and be life-threatening.

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My Hamster Keeps Running Around The Cage

If your Hamsters does not get enough floor time outside their cage, then they may start to move and circle their cage.

This action of your little ones will give you immense joy. However, not providing our Hamsters with enough playtime encourages escaping behavior in them, which could be a bad sign.

Also, if our Hamsters live a small cage with limited space to eat, play, and exercise, then they might start to circle.

Providing our Hamsters with 1-2 hours of playtime is essential. It will also help you to bond with your Hamster.

Hamsters Running In Circles And Falling Over

Sometime our Hamsters start to behave weirdly which often surprises us. It could even make us worry a little about our pets.

If the Hamster is spinning continuously without stopping then it might be a problem. Continuously spinning in circles can make Hamsters dizzy. Due to the dizziness, Hamsters may even trip down or fall over.

Such behavior sometimes also indicates stress in our Hamsters. Hamsters get stressed pretty quickly therefore we must do our best to provide them with the stress-free environment they deserve.

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Hamster Circling Around My Feet

It is quite amusing and exciting to see your little one run around your feet. This behavior of our Hamsters tells us that they are trying to communicate with us.

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

Although it not common in all Hamsters, some of them do so. Hamsters are just curious and might be trying to find out what you are doing or looking for food in your Hamsters.

If you do not pay attention to your Hamster, they might keep circling you. Also, by doing so they might be showing affection towards you. Hamsters also show such behavior when they want to be petted.

Is It Safe To Let My Hamster Run Around?

It is important to give our Hamsters enough space to run around for at least an hour each day. However, you must make sure that you have ‘Hamster-proofed’ your house before doing so. Only then, we would be sure that our Hamster is safe and secure while running free.

Hamster-proofing the house is of utmost importance. If not, we might need to face the consequences.

Hamsters are escape artists. They have the ability to squash through the tiny holes they find. Also, they might end up chewing electric cables of your house leading to fire break-out.

Besides this, if you have other pets at your home, your Hamster’s life could be at risk.

Therefore, it is important to Hamster-proof your house before letting your Hamster free.


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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