Do Hamsters Run on Wheels When Stressed?

Do you know hamsters can run or walk almost 5 miles or 10 kilometers at a stretch every night? Yes, they really do that. This seems they are born for running or walking! But do hamsters run on wheels when stressed? Because while they are our pets, they keep running and running a lot! What’s the reason behind this fact? All the questions will be answered today in this post. 

Do Hamsters Run on Wheels When Stressed?

No, hamsters don’t run on wheels when stressed. It’s their basic instinct to run on a wheel. But there are many things behind their running and behind their stress. As a responsible owner, you must know them all.

However, here are three questions arising. One is- do hamsters feel stressed? And the other is- why do they run? And the third and final one is- do hamsters run on wheels when stressed?

So, let’s go for the first one first.

Do Hamsters Feel Stressed?

This is not the same for all hamsters. Environment, physical condition, and many other things work behind this. But an overall result is- yes, hamsters can feel stressed. Though they don’t show their stress as rabbits and guinea pigs do, they feel the same way.

So, how do you understand that your hamster is feeling stressed? It’s not rocket science. If you see your hamster is doing any of the following, then understand the hamster is feeling stressed.

Sitting Toward the Wall

A stressed hamster may lose interest in everything. It may just sit towards the wall and not eat or don’t play. If you see him in this state, then it is stressful.

The Hamster is Hyperactive

Well, the opposite thing can happen too. The hamster might become hyperactive. If it runs faster than usual, makes a lot of noise, or eats more than usual, then consider it stressful.

The Hamster is Angry

The stressed hamster should seem more aggressive than usual. It may grunt or tend to bite when you are close. It may kick its toys indiscriminately, and you may hear some harsh sounds from it.

Saliva on Mouth

Generally, hamsters don’t keep saliva for too long. But if you discover that your hamster has saliva in its mouth, you must act wisely. Because either the hamster is sick or it’s feeling stressed. Or it can be BOTH!

Trying to Escape the Cage

Hamsters don’t like to play outside a lot. In short, they are not sociable at all. They like to enjoy their own company and try to stay inside the cage. But when they feel stressed, they might want to get out and escape the cage again and again.

Biting the Cage

Though it’s a natural behavior, but a stressed hamster might bite the cage aggressively. You might understand the fact by watching his face while it’s biting the cage.

But if you find out the reasons behind their stress. You can indeed work on that. So, why do they feel stressed?- See the following.

Reasons Behind A Stressed Hamster

There could be a lot of reasons behind a stressed hamster. As they are susceptible animals, they need much care too. So, here are some of the possible reasons behind a stressed hamster:


Hamsters need a playful environment. Otherwise, they will start feeling stressed. As hamsters don’t like to play outside, they try to entertain themselves by staying inside the cage or house. So, you must allow them some toys and some tidbits so that they can enjoy their own place. Also, their cage should be clean and calm. Sudden noise or bad smell makes them stressed.

Poor and Boring Diet

If you give your hamster the same food daily. It might be stressful for him. Who likes the same food daily anyway? No one, right? This also goes with the hamster too. So, no poor and same diet for the hamster. Try to give them some occasional treats and their favorite foods often.


Hamsters are sensitive and get sickness easily. Any sickness can make them feel down. And then they start to feel stressed too. So, a regular check on your hamster should be a good practice. If you notice anything unusual then you might find out what’s the disease too. A quick step can help your hamster instantly.

Harsh Sound and Light

If you keep the hamster beside any noisy place then it hampers the hamster’s relaxation. Same goes with the light too. So, you need a calm and quiet place that is away from noises and harsh light to keep your hamsters.

Why Do Hamsters Love Running on Wheels?

Now, the second question is here regarding do hamsters run on wheels when stressed? We must know why hamsters love running on wheels first.

In the wild, hamsters run a lot. So, when they are in captivity, they don’t get the chance to run freely. And the wheel completes that lacking.

That’s the main reason they love to run on wheels. Another reason is their nature of not liking to play outside often. They like to stay inside and enjoy their own company, and though that sounds crazy, they do this. At this stage, a wheel for running can be a great toy for them.

So, they run and run. They are nocturnal animals, so they are awake at night and do their fun. You may see them running almost the whole night! But please don’t allow it. Hamster doesn’t understand the limit. So, it might kill itself without knowing what the mistake was.

Benefits of Running on a Wheel

Running on a wheel is not just a game for hamsters. They get benefits from it. Both physical and mental. Let’s see what benefits they can get from running on a wheel:

Removes Boredom

As hamsters stay inside the cage for quite a long time, they get bored when they are inactive. But a wheel can cheer them up. They can run when they are in a play mood. There are many kinds of interesting wheels available in the market. Those wheels can attract the hamster more.

Block Fattiness

For hamsters, obesity is like a curse. They must never get much fat. Their tiny bodies can’t bear fattiness, and they start getting sick. So, running on wheels is a quick solution. If they run, they get their physical exercise done. 

Strengthen Muscle

Wheel running can strengthen their muscles and other body parts. Physical exercises are always great for any living being, and hamsters are no different. So, while they run on wheels, they keep many diseases away.

How to Choose A Good Wheel for Hamsters?

You already know why and when a hamster will run on a wheel. So, what do you think? The hamster is pretty energetic to run a lot, right? And for that, it needs a good and strong wheel for sure.

Yes, the wheel for your hamster should be a bit larger and more expansive. For Syrian hamsters, the wheel should be 9’’-10’’ and if you have a Dwarf or other hamsters, the wheel should be at least 7’’. This size is needed to ensure that when your hamster runs on the wheel, it doesn’t get pain in the back.

The wheel should be rigid enough to bear the running of the hamster. There are many cheap wheels out there; never allow them into your hamster cage. The plastic or rubber material should be of good quality so that when a hamster runs, it doesn’t break. Also, try to buy a solid wheel otherwise, your hamster’s legs can get stuck in it while running.

And most important- the wheel should be less noisy. As the hamsters are nocturnal, they are active at night. So, they will run on the wheel mostly at night. If the wheel is noisy, then it’s a big problem. We don’t want to waste our night time.

Do Hamsters Need to be Trained Running on a Wheel?

Not actually. You don’t need to teach them to use the wheel to run. Hamsters are curious about new toys. When you put a wheel inside the cage, they will start learning to use the wheel on their own. 

You can just put some nuts or berries on the wheel. While attempting to eat the treats, they will learn to run on the wheel soon. There is no need for teaching or training.

How Long Do Hamsters Run on Wheels?

Well, this question is hard to answer. It depends on their mood. Usually, the hamsters run on wheels at night as they start being active at night. So, there is a chance that a hamster can run all night long on wheels.

But you should always keep an eye on them. They don’t understand the limit, and if they overrun the wheel, they might have serious health issues. If you find anything unusual, just bring them out and let them run outside the cage.

Final Words

Running on wheels can be great exercise for hamsters. Allow your hamster a good wheel and they will enjoy it. They don’t run when they are stressed. Still, if they are feeling down, you can find it out if you have already gone through the article. Thanks for reading.

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