Hamsters are incredibly playful animals, they love to mess around and make our lives much better! However, the playfulness and curiosity of a hamster can also be a problem when we are looking after them. This can often lead to your hamster falling now, and possibly hurting themselves. This leads to people asking “what happens if a hamster falls?” A hamster fall doesn’t always hurt the hamster, our hamster always used to jump from our hands when we first got him and he safely landed on the floor. This isn’t always the case though. This article will be looking at what happens if your hamster does fall and what you can do to help them if they are hurt.
Why do hamsters fall?
The fact that the question “what happens if a hamster falls” is being asked show that hamsters fall quite often. It does seem that hamsters fall more often than other animals. This is partly due to their poor eyesight which leads to them often not having much of a depth perception. You may notice this when your hamster does, what I like to call a leap of faith, off your hand. My hamster, Richard, does this all the same and I have to quickly react to stop him from falling onto the floor! Hamsters can be little daredevils who aren’t fully conscious of the risks that they are taking when they jump from objects. So hamsters generally fall due to their poor eyesight and lack of depth perception that comes with it.
Can hamsters die from falling?
Sadly, hamsters can absolutely die from falling. What happens if a hamster falls can depends on the distance of their fall and how quickly you help them. Hamsters are quite resilient due to how their body evolved which gives them some advantages, however a fall can still be dangerous. The danger of a fall depends on certain factors
Distance of fall
The distance of the fall is obviously important. Hamsters can survive quite large falls, if your hamster jumps from your hand there is a good chance that they will emerge unscathed. However a jump from your cage, depending on the height of the cage, could be a bigger problem
Where the hamster lands
By this, we mean what part of their body the hamster lands on. Hamsters will always attempt to land on their feet but it can be a major problem if they can’t. The back of a hamster is quite fragile and landing on their back on injure them. The same is true for their head.
What the hamster lands on
Usually your hamster will jump from your hand and land on the carpet or wooden flooring. However if your hamster lands on a sharp object then they can get cuts and wounds which could hurt them severely.
How do I know if my hamster has hurt themselves
If your hamster falls from a high place, there’s a few telltale symptoms that you need to look out for to see if they are hurt. These can include:
- Unwillingness to eat
- Limping, or one foot dragged along
- Your hamster may find it hard to breathe
If your hamster shows these symptoms then you should take them to your local vet. Explain the situation and your vet will likely look to see if anything is broken. If you take your hamster to the vet early on, you can avoid a lot of pain. Please don’t try any internet remedies, the absolute best thing for your hamster is to take them to a vet ASAP.
How to make sure that your hamster doesn’t fall
As you can see; the answer to the question “what happens if a hamster falls” is varied. But it is clear that hamsters can be hurt from falling, depending on the circumstances. Therefore it is important to ensure that your hamster doesn’t fall! Here’s a few tips on how to prevent that:
Hold them carefully
When you are holding your hamster, ensure that they can’t suddenly jump off your hand. Hamsters who are about to run may start to tense up, if that is the case then place them in a safe place such as their cage. Sitting down on your sofa or in the bathtub (obviously empty) may be another good solution to holding your hamster. If your hamster is new then make sure that you gain their trust before playing with them as this can result in them jumping off your hand. Hamsters will often jump when they feel uncomfortable, so make them as comfortable as possible and put them back if they feel stressed. Consider distracting your hamster with a piece of food.
Ensure that you don’t scare your hamster. This can include having other animals come near your hamster or if you make sudden movements. These kind of things can activate your hamster’s flight or fight reflexes, trust me, they will pick flight. Ensure that your hamster has a good wheel as well, this means that they can use up their energy running instead of jumping!
Put their cage in a safe place
Ensure that your cage is in a safe place in your house. If your cage is high up then your hamster may simply jump to their death if they ever escape the cage. As stated previously, hamsters have no sense of depth perception and therefore will jump happily down a large drop. Considering placing your cage on the floor or on a small table.
Ensure that they cannot escape their cage
Hamsters are incredibly crafty animals and this will lead to various escape attempts, even when you think the cage is secure. Richard once escaped from his cage and I woke up to him on my headboard staring at me! He got out by squeezing through the door bars on the Hamster Heaven cage that I got him. We caught him escaping the day after and it was incredibly seeing the tiny space that he was able to squeeze through.
So make sure that your hamster’s cage is escapeproof. Ensure that the doors are closed when your hamster is inside and check all of your tube connections to make sure that they are secure.
Make sure the cage interior is safe
Your hamster can still fall and hurt themselves inside of your cage, especially when your hamster is getting old. Make sure that everything that they walk on is securely fastened onto the cage and consider placing stairs and other ways for your hamster to avoid having to climb as they get older. If your cage has multiple levels then considering removing them as your hamster gets older, what’s most important is the amount of running space that they have. For our previous hamster, Bashar, we removed his top cage as he got older to keep him safer.
If you want to keep the multiple levels then ensure that your hamster will have a soft landing by placing lots of substrate in the bottom of the cage. This will give them a nice soft landing.
Conclusion – What happens if a hamster falls
I hope this article has been useful to you. Hamsters are wonderful creatures but they are also ever so slightly klutzy which can result in them falling and hurting themselves. There’s plenty of measures that you can take to avoid your hamster hurting yourself though, many of which we have stated above. If your hamster hurts themselves by falling then please take them to a vet. Remember that vets often have payment plans, if you are concerned about the cost.
Have you ever dropped your hamster? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments!