Why does my hamster wake up late

hammy in bed

Why does my hamster wake up just as I am about to go to bed? He wakes up so late I don't have time to play with him?

Don’t wake a sleeping a hamster up just to play with him; this will just make him irritable, and a grumpy hamster is not very sociable

Some hamster owners become concerned by the sleeping pattern of their pet. It may appear that your hamster spends all it's time sleeping during the day and in the early evening. That is, it seems until you turn off the lights and go to bed. Then you become aware that he is now active as he starts moving around his cage, and you can hear that irritating rattle of him gnawing on the bars, or that squeaky wheel you keep meaning to oil.

It is generally accepted, in the mistaken belief, that hamsters are nocturnal creatures when in fact hamsters' are crepuscular animals.
Crepuscular is derived from the Latin word “Crepusulum” meaning "Twilight" a term used to describe animals that are primarily active during twilight hours, that is at dawn and dusk, just as it is going dark, and early morning just as it is coming light again.
Rats, mice etc: are primarily nocturnal creatures and are most active from dusk to dawn. Many nocturnal and crepuscular animals have eyes that enable them to see well in very poor light, and all rodents have exceptionally good hearing.

 Hamsters are most active in low levels of light; this pattern of activity in the Syrian hamster is thought to be an anti-predator adaptation. An innate behaviour of the Syrian hamster, whereby the animal had become better suited to its natural habitat as many of their nocturnal predators forage most intensely at night, while others may be most active during the day (diurnal) and see better in full sun light, thus the crepuscular habit may reduce predation. Additionally, in the hot areas of the Syrian hamsters’ habitat it is also a way of avoiding thermal stress while capitalizing on the available light at the coolest times of the day.

Hamsters sleep during the day and for long periods at night. If you leave the cage in a brightly lit room in the evening the hamster may think it is daytime, therefore he will stay in his nest until it '”Begins' to go dark” If you want him to awake earlier in the evenings to enable you to interact with him and at a time to fit your routine, then make a point of feeding him or giving him his daily treat at the same time each evening. Your own personal choice can be the deciding factor at whatever time you want him to wake. He will then become accustomed to the same feeding time set on a daily basis. Once he hears you rustling around the cage he will become aware of your presence and arouse from sleeping. At the same time dim the lights down, or shade the cage from the bright light of the room, keeping the cage in the darkest corner of the room will help. It should not be dark, but again not bright, as hamsters don't like bright light at any time. After about 3 or 4 evenings of this he will adjust to this routine and will be up and around at the same time each evening.

Nocturnal: Describes an animal that sleeps during the daytime and becomes active at night.
Diurnal: Describes an animal that is active during the daytime and sleeps at night.
Crepuscular: Describes an animal that is primarily active during twilight hours, at dawn and dusk, or dim / low light.


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