why do hamsters freeze

Why Do Hamsters Freeze?

Hamsters, as with other small animals, like to stay warm and cozy during the colder months. But some hamsters, when faced with danger or impending doom, will do something very odd – they will freeze. So why do hamsters freeze and how can you tell if your hamster is freezing?

When Do Hamsters Freeze

Hamsters naturally freeze when they sense danger. This type of freezing is known as emotional freezing, or freezing in anticipation. If your hamster is frightened, overwhelmed, or just incredibly surprised, they may freeze and remain very still.

The most recognizable form of freezing a hamster engages in is their sleep. Most hamsters engage in a behavior known as torpor, where they enter a deep sleep from which they can barely be aroused. During this time, the hamster stops moving, appears frozen in place, and does not respond to outer stimulus.

Signs of Freezing

The most obvious sign that your hamster is freezing is that it is completely still. The only movement your hamster will make is a slight eye and sometimes ear movement, but this depends on the degree of torpor the hamster is in.

Other signs of hamsters freezing while awake include:

  • Huddling in a corner
  • Crouching in the middle of the cage
  • Shivering
  • Being easily startled
    • If your hamster seems still, it is best to check on them and make sure they are okay.

      Avoiding A Stressful Environment

      The best way to prevent your hamster from freezing up is to provide an environment that is not too overwhelming. Make sure there is plenty of room for the hamster to move around and the cage is not too crowded. Try to avoid loud noises and sudden movements near your hamster as these may startle it.

      If your hamster is in a safe and comfortable environment, then it will be less likely to freeze out of fear or anticipation.


      Hamsters freeze in order to stay safe and hidden from any potential danger. They may do this by entering deep sleep-like states, where they appear frozen in place, or by huddling up in the corner of their cage. To prevent your hamster from freezing, it is important to make sure it is in a secure, stress-free environment.

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