do hamsters play dead

How Hamsters Show Fake Death

Hamsters are small, timid creatures, however they are also quite resilient to threats. It may come as a surprise to some, but hamsters have a defence strategy against predators in the wild. This defence strategy is known as ‘playing dead’.

What is Playing Dead?

Playing dead is an evolutionary adaptation first seen in animals. It is also known as feigning death or thanatosis. When in danger, the animal completely relaxes its body and stops moving. Most of the time, the predators will lose interest and the animal will survive.

Do Hamsters Play Dead?

Yes, hamsters do play dead. Hamsters have been known to employ this survival technique when feeling threatened. They will lay still on the ground and may even close their eyes and breathe silently. Hamsters also have other strategies to avoid predators such as hiding, running away, and even fighting back.

Why Do Hamsters Play Dead?

Hamsters play dead as a way to confuse and deceive predators. If the predator loses interest and stops attacking, the hamster can escape unharmed. Additionally, some predators may even neglect animals that appear to be dead, giving the hamster an opportunity to escape. Hamsters may also use this defence strategy to attack when the predator is unsuspecting.

Signs of Hamster Playing Dead

If your hamster is playing dead, here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Complete Relaxation: The hamster will become completely still and relaxed.
  • Stops Moving: The hamster will stop all movement, including motions like twitching.
  • Closes Eyes: The hamster may close its eyes or keep them closed for longer than usual.
  • Change in Breathing: The hamster may slow its breathing or hold its breath.

If you notice these signs in your hamster, it may be trying to play dead. It is important to not disturb your hamster in this state and provide them with a safe and secure environment.

Final Thoughts

Hamsters have evolved with the abilities to adapt to their environment. One of the strategies they have developed is playing dead. This is a survival mechanism used to confuse and deceive predators and one that can help the hamster escape unharmed.

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