Are Hamsters Nocturnal?

It may sound a little odd, but yes - all pet hamsters are nocturnal. In other words, they sleep during the day and come out at night. In evolutionary terms there are some very pragmatic reasons for this. By moving around at night they manage to escape daytime predators, and also escape the extreme desert heat.

This doesn't mean you'll never see your pet hamster, though. Although he will happily sleep away the day and become a livewire at night, you'll get quality time with him in the evening, and first thing in the morning.

are hamsters nocturnal
Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they snooze in the day and get taste of the action at night

It’s not a good idea to wake your hamster once he's asleep. Some of them adapt to cage life and shift their natural rhythms slightly so that they are active in the evening. That still doesn't mean you can wake them at any time of day and demand some interaction (just as you wouldn't take kindly to being woken in the early hours of the morning). However, just a small shift in their sleep cycle will enable you to interact with them more.

It is this nocturnal lifestyle that makes hamsters' popularity as pets - especially with children - a bit of a paradox. It's certainly something you need to consider when deciding whether to buy one of these night-owl critters as a pet.

Indeed, many experts and pet societies recommend that hamsters should not be purchased for younger children (under the age of ten). This is particularly important when you consider that pet hamsters do not get along with each other in cages and runs, so they rely more heavily on interaction with their owners than other pet rodents do.

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