If you’ve ever watched your hamster sleep, you probably wondered about the frequent movements and twitching.
Just like other mammals, animals do not lie perfectly still.
But does this mean that your hamster is dreaming or are there other reasons?
Can hamsters dream?
Yes, hamsters can dream. Just like humans and other animals, they partially process the events in their lives while they sleep. In doing so, they can imitate walking movements, twitch, freeze or sniff.
However, all these movements can also be attributed to the fact that hamsters, as prey animals, still have to reckon with the need to flee quickly even when they are asleep. As a result, they react more quickly to movements and noises in their environment.
If the animals really dream, the question naturally arises what the dreams are about.
Unfortunately, you will never know exactly…
From other animals and also from humans it can be assumed that they dream about their daily routine. Playing, running, eating and interactions with you can be topics as well as the frightening birds outside the window, noisy children or a conflict with another hamster.
In short, all stimuli and influences can lead to dreams. Since the hamster’s world is usually very limited, there is comparatively little choice in the topics.
However, based on this, another question arises….
Can hamsters have nightmares?
The answer in this case is also yes.
If your hamster has felt frightened, threatened or chased, this can also enter the dream world.
If the hamster is not kept in a species-appropriate manner or if there are many negative influences, the majority of the dreams will even be bad. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on your pet’s well-being and health, as he or she will not be sleeping adequately and sleep will be repeatedly interrupted.
It is not uncommon for your hamster to become more nervous and jumpy during waking hours as a result.
If the hamster perceives everything as a danger, the number of nightmares will increase. So this is a vicious cycle that you should break as soon as possible for the sake of your pet.
Because the prolonged stress can negatively affect the immune system and cardiovascular system, and significantly reduce life expectancy.
What sounds are produced by dreaming?
While sleeping and dreaming, your hamster may make a variety of sounds.
These include, but are not limited to:
rapid or heavy breathing
Tip: Click here for more details about hamster speech!
If you hear rattling breathing sounds or snoring, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible. This is because these signs may indicate that your hamster is sick or that the airway is compromised by a tumor. The sooner the necessary treatment is given, the better the chances of recovery.
Can I help hamsters have good dreams?
Yes, it is definitely possible through the appropriate attitude.
First and foremost, it is important that negative events are not part of everyday life. So keep stress away from your hamster. The following tips will show you how this can work.
Space and security
Choose a location for the hamster home that is not directly in front of or next to a window and out of reach of other pets. This is because, as prey animals, hamsters react jumpily to the presence of larger creatures.
In addition, the cage should offer enough space so that your hamster can run and play extensively in it without any problems.
Regular and sufficient exercise reduces the stress level and is important for the well-being of the small rodent. Since he runs several kilometers per night in nature, the purchase of a running wheel is also appropriate.
A large floor space and several floors are already a good start for exercise. Even on a length of 1.5 to 2 meters, however, continuous running is only possible to a very limited extent. The wheel, on the other hand, can even train endurance. This improves sleep.
In terms of safety, the design of the hamster home also plays a crucial role.
Your nocturnal pet wants to hide in case of (suspected) danger and thus feel safe. A thick floor layer of bedding is an important basis for this. It should be at least 30 centimeters high, so that the hamster can dig in this and even make tunnels.
In a commercial hamster cage, this is usually not possible.
Hamster homes made of wood and Plexiglas are therefore more suitable. A deep bedding is unproblematic here and the environment is kept clean.
In addition, there should be sleeping houses and one or the other shelter. This allows the hamster to quickly get to safety – regardless of which floor he is currently on.
Provide variety and activity
Your hamster’s life may be largely limited to the dimensions of the cage, but he does not have to do without new influences and variety, as well as species-appropriate employment.
This begins with the feeding.
Instead of offering a fixed feeding place, you can always hide the hamster food in other places. Foraging is part of the natural repertoire and makes up a large part of the active phase in nature.
Hard nibble sticks, mealworms covered with foliage and climbing for fruits and vegetables keep the brain and body active and always challenging.
In addition, you can change the furnishings of the hamster home each time you change the bedding to provide new incentives. Suitable furnishings include:
In different arrangements, even a small repertoire is enough to keep the hamster cage looking new.
In addition, you can offer different varieties of bedding and nesting material. Hemp bedding, cotton flowers, herbal hay, shredded paper and wood chips are available as well as straw and a bowl with sand or bark mulch.
Do without other species
With the exception of dwarf hamsters, rodents are solitary animals.
They come together only for mating and then go their separate ways again. Therefore, forcing your hamster to have conspecifics – even if it is well-intentioned – is a stress factor.
Conflicts between the animals or in the group are the rule. It does not have to be directly bloody fights. Mutual chasing, subjugation and domination as well as denial of food take place in the active phase and can therefore go unnoticed by you at first.
However, the conflicts cause stress to the hamsters day and night, so that nightmares can occur frequently. It is therefore better to keep them separately, where each animal has enough space and peace.
Rest during the day
How important undisturbed sleep is, you know at the latest after an all-night sleep.
Therefore, give your hamster quiet days, keep loud noises away as much as possible and, if necessary, cover the cage. This will also muffle noises.
However, the location of the hamster home is crucial.
A passage room or the children’s room are not suitable for the nocturnal rodents.
Restless sleep can also be the result of heat or cold.
Therefore, especially in summer and winter, make sure that the room is well tempered.
There is a risk of heat stroke from as low as 25° Celsius. In the attic during high summer this is not uncommon. For medium hamsters, below 18° Celsius is a trigger for hibernation. Dwarf hamsters can withstand up to 15° Celsius. In both cases, however, your pet will freeze.
The use of fans, shade curtains and heating in winter can help create comfortable temperatures and avoid extremes. This provides safety and promotes relaxed sleep in your pet.
If you follow these tips, nothing will stand in the way of your pet’s pleasant dreams.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!