Why is my hamster sleeping in the corner of their cage?

hamster sleeping in the corner of their cage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is your hamster sleeping in the corner of their cage? It’s a question that many proud parents of pocket pets can find themselves pondering.

Good news is this is fairly natural behavior amongst our furry friends. Even if you’ve provided your hammy with one of the best hamster cages with plenty of room to spread out in, you may find that they still prefer sleeping huddled into a corner. 

If your hamster is spending a lot of time hanging out in the corners of their cage, there are several possible explanations. Fear and illness are two common reasons for this behavior, but it could also be worth double checking how to set up a hamster cage, as hammies will often sleep in the corner when the rest of their environment isn’t quite to their liking. 

Sleeping in the corner isn’t always a cause for concern though. Hamsters love nothing more than setting up a cozy nest for themselves and corners are a great place to do this. The corners of the cage offer a lot of warmth, comfort and security, so it could be that this is simply your pocket pets preferred sleep spot. 

When considering why your hamster is sleeping in the corner of their cage, it’s worth noting whether this behavior is new or whether they’ve always been this way. Abrupt changes in your pocket pets routine or behavior are important to investigate, so if this is a new occurrence, be sure to speak with your vet. 

To help you figure out whether your hamster's behavior is normal or a reason to be worried, we do a deeper dive below into the most common causes that drive hamsters to sleep in the corner of their cage. Plus, what to do if you’re worried about your precious pet. Let’s take a look…

Why is my hamster sleeping in corner of cage? 

There are a range of contributing factors that can cause your hammy to choose the corner of their cage to sleep in. Some are completely benign, while others have the potential to be more of a concern. 

1. Fear

If you’ve only just welcomed your little pocket pet into your family, it could be that your hamster is scared of you and this is causing them to want to spend all of their time sleeping in the corner of their cage. Hamsters tend to be highly suspicious creatures and it can take some time for them to trust both you and their new environment.

But for those of you that have had your hamster for a while, it’s likely that other things are driving their fear-based behavior. Loud noises, sudden movements, and changes to their environment are all things that can freak a hammy out and when a hamster is scared, they tend to hide.

Normal hamster behavior will see your pocket pet sleeping a lot during the day but being fairly active at night. If you notice that your hammy seems to be sleeping in the corner of their cage for much of the day and night, it could be that their threat system has been activated and they’re feeling scared. 

2. Illness

Hamsters don’t tend to show signs of illness until they are really sick, so if you notice your hammy is sleeping a lot and that they’re huddled into the corner of their cage, this is worth paying attention to. Excessive sleeping and uncharacteristic hiding behaviors are a good sign your pocket pet isn’t feeling well.

You also want to be on the lookout for other signs and symptoms as well, such as:

  • Cloudy, sunken, or swollen eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Heavy breathing
  • Tumors

If you notice any of the above or you’re simply concerned about the amount of time your hammy is sleeping or where they’re choosing to do it, we recommend you make an appointment with your vet who will be able to give your pocket pet a good check up. 

Hamster sleeping in corner of cage

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Issues with their environment

Hamsters are not ones for putting up with things they don’t like and they’ll tend to distance themselves from anything that displeases them. When it comes to their sleep spot they’re very particular - it has to be cozy, warm, secure and above all else, clean. 

Learning how to clean a hamster cage is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a pet parent. Your hammy may be more inclined to sleep in another spot if their cage is regularly freshened up. This means changing soiled bedding daily, cleaning their water and food bowls, and doing a deep clean once a month. 

Aside from hygiene reasons, your hammy may also be sleeping in the corner because there are things going on in the surrounding home environment that are unsettling them. Lots of loud noises, from people or other pets, as well as having family members trying to touch or handle them, can cause hamsters to want to burrow into a corner where they feel safe.

4. It’s their favorite sleep spot

Why is your hamster sleeping in the corner of their cage? Well, it could be that it’s simply their favorite place to get their beauty sleep. Hamsters love creating a little nest for themselves and what’s most important for them is that it’s warm, cozy, secure and somewhere that they can really burrow into. 

The corners of their cage are one of the most natural spots to create their nest as they’re nicely tucked away, which creates a feeling of safety and comfort. If you find food or other items from around their cage tucked away in the corner, this is a good sign that your hammy is choosing to make the corner of their cage their home.

Hamster hiding under straw

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What to do if your hamster is sleeping in corner of cage

Because hamsters are prey animals that are easy targets in the wild, it’s natural for them to want to sleep in a place where they feel safe and secure. If your hammy is engaging in normal sleeping practices (dozing during the day but being fairly active at night) it’s unlikely that their choice of sleep spot is any cause for concern.

Likewise, if your hamster is continuing to eat well, plays with the best hamster toys you’ve bought them when they are awake, and is engaging in normal hamster behaviors, such as chewing, digging, and burrowing, then it’s safe to say that they’re sleeping in the corner of their cage because that’s the place they’ve chosen to set up camp so to speak.

There’s absolutely nothing you need to do if your hamster is sleeping in the corner of their cage because that’s the place they feel the most comfortable and secure, but it is worth paying attention if you see this being accompanied by any out of the ordinary behaviors, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • A refusal to eat or drink
  • Not chewing
  • Uncharacteristic hiding during normal waking hours (that’s night time for your furry friend)
  • Any of the signs of illness mentioned earlier in this piece

If you’re in any way concerned about the health and wellbeing of your furry friend, we recommend you speak with your vet who will be able to offer advice and guidance. 

You might also find it helpful to check out our guides on how to help a stressed hamster and ways to keep your hamster happy, both of which are helpful if you’re worried your pocket pet is feeling fearful or anxious. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.