Why do hamsters run on that exercise wheel and other hamster questions

We recently bought a hamster, and watching this hamster has raised a number of questions.

  1. Why does the hamster run on that exercise wheel? It does it for hours on end. It can’t be THAT fun, and it should have figured out by now that it’s not going anywhere.

  2. Why has the hamster moved all the pine shavings out of one corner of it’s tank and uses that corner to crap in? My hypothesis is that it’s because that corner hangs off the edge of the chair her tank is on and it maybe thinks it’s turds will drop through the glass bottom and out of her cage, but then I think it understands the non-permeable qualities of glass - see next question.

  3. Why does my hamster sleep with it’s head and sometimes part of it’s torso wedged upright in the corner?

  4. Why does my hamster make it’s nest directly under it’s water bottle? It never goes inside the little plastic igloo that is in there for that purpose. My wife thinks it’s for convenience, because sometimes the hamster will roll over onto it’s back and get a drink from it’s bottle while still ‘in bed’, then roll back over, wedge it’s chin in the corner, and go back to sleep - but I don’t think the hamster is that lazy, see question 1.

You should read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

From this, you will realise that your hamster is actually the visible portion of a superhuman being. It is performing scientific experiments on you, testing what your reaction will be if it does items 1 to 4 listed above.

I suggest you ignore it, which will skew its data completely.


my theory on the wheel is that the hamster is just stupid, + it can’t move sideways. So it gets on the wheel, tries to get off but can only go forwards. So it is actually trapped. Occassionally it falls off by accident.

  1. From the RSPCA booklet on Hamsters:

If I took your computer, TV and books away and locked you in a room full of weights machines, you’d use them (probably to make a weapon to attack me with, but you get my point).

  1. Because the hamster wants to sleep and play in those shavings. Having said that, our hamster decided she was going to piss in the sand bath. Nothing we did would persuade her otherwise.

  2. Not sure. Possibly because the glass is cooler?

  3. Wierd. Still, they all do different things (or so I’m told). Be careful that the bedding material doesn’t touch the drinking tube (happened to me once).

Where exactly are hamsters native to?

They think Richard Gere is “behind” them. How’s that for irony?

Per the RSPCA booklet, the main species are:

  1. Syrian (not exclusive to Syria, but it doesn’t specify where else).
  2. Russian (occurs throughout Russia, Mongolia and China).
  3. Chinese (common throughout much of Eurasia from Siberia to Tibet, and westwards into Eastern Europe).

Per a dwarf hamster booklet:

  1. Campbell - s. Siberia, n. China, c. Asia, Mongolia.
  2. Roborovski - China, Mongolia, Russia.
  3. Sungorus - Siberia, Khazakhstan, Manchuria, Mongoloia.
  4. Griseus - China.

I thought that was mice.

  1. Hamsters live in burrows, and in the burrow, they designate one special part for “crap”. Your lil buddy is just doing the same thing with one corner of his tank. Every hamster I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a LOT of hamsters :smiley: ) does this. It doesn’t have anything to do with what’s underneath it. I’ve never been able to figure out why they pick the corners they do. For all I know, they line them up with the signs of the zodiac…

  2. This is not a normal sleeping posture for a hamster. He ought to be sleeping curled up, totally hidden, amongst an enormous pile of shredded bedding. Pine shavings alone are not sufficient for true Hamster Happiness. Give him more paper goods to shred, so he can hide himself. Toilet paper rolls (tubes) and wax paper and paper towel tubes are perfect, as are the paper towels themselves. Kleenex tend to be too soft and smooshy, however. You want to avoid cardboard products, like boxes and shoeboxes, that might have potentially sick-making glues and ink on them.

  3. It’s not that he’s made the nest under the water bottle–it’s that you’ve got the water bottle just above where he has decided is the best spot for his nest. Move the bottle so his bedding doesn’t get all wet.

The Hamster Igloo is invisible to him, which is why he’s not using it for a house. It’s simply “that large plastic object that for some reason is in my territory”, which he has realized he may safely ignore. In the wild, he’d be sleeping inside a huge pile of shredded bedding, not inside something with hard walls.

Give it to a neighbor kid for a Barbie accessory–it’s the ideal size for Barbie’s Doghouse.

I want to know who invented this wheel that pet rodents run on, and how /why they thought it would work. I also wonder why no one has invented an odometer to attach to one, to find out how many miles they run a night. I think it would be interesting to look at over time. But that might just be me.

My cousin’s mouse died in his exercise wheel. Apparently he was a clumsy mouse - he missed his footing, slipped forward and the next bar smacked into his neck, breaking it and killing him instantly. Poor little mousie.

I think it was a freak accident. We had dozens of pet mice over a number of years, and none of them ever had an accident like that in their exercise wheel.

Wow. I aways thought that the pros for getting a solid wheel were all for the tail :P.

Arrgh, that was the idea I wanted to patent in my relatively recent thread on patents.

Our hamster has some problems with her wheel. She looks out the side as she runs, which causes the spoke to hit her in the head on almost every revolution.

A hamster I once had managed to get himself caught up in his wheel once - he got his long, silky bum fur somehow wrapped around one of the metal bars of the wheel. THe momentum caused him to be spun around a couple of times, stuck to the wheel, then thrown off the side in a manner violent enough to knock the wheel itself over (it was one of those stand-alone affairs, not the kind you attach to the cage). When I got out of bed to see what the noise was about, I saw him lying on the floor of the cage with the wheel sort of on top of him. I had to cut his little bum hairs to get him free. He seemed to be fine afterwards though.

This same hamster also went down the stairs in his ball once, so maybe he was just a little kamikazee.

As for your OP, Badtz Maru - animals are weird. Hamsters are very weird. Thier weirdness as a species is overshadowed only by their weirdness as individuals. Most of this stuff sounds like nothing to worry about. Heck, one of my hamsters slept in an upturned jam jar! Duck Duck Goose is right though - if he’s not using his igloo now, you may as well take it out (unless its one of those super cages with oodles of room, in which case it doesn’t matter) - in my experience they will start using something like that right away, or not at all.

It should be easy to attach a bicycle speedometer (aka cycle computer) to the hamster wheel. They’re cheap.

I don’t know who invented it, or exactly how old it is. But in one of the historic houses in Salem, Massachusetts (The House of the Seven Gables, I think) there’s a mousetrap with an attached wheel. It’s a cage-type trap, not one of those cartoon spring-loaded traps, so it humanely traps the mouse in the cage. The wheel gives the trapped mouse something to do. The tour guide said it was an “educational” mouse trap, providing entertainment and edification for the kids. At a guess, I’d say it was mid-19th century.

They run on the wheel to keep thier girlish high school figures. Duh.


With a little bit of lego engineering, you too can create your very own Hamster Odometer

In the Hitchhikers Guide, they thought it was mice too. Do not be fooled, yours is the clearest case of superhuman infestation that I ever saw.

Face the facts - would any sane person keep a hamster unless they were under the influence of superhuman scientists? I rest my case.