What Does It Mean When A Hamster Stands Up?

hamster standing up

Have you noticed that every now and then your hamster will stand up on their two back legs? Is this something you need to worry about? What Does It Mean When A Hamster Stands Up?

Hamsters will stand up on their back legs to have a good look and listen to things around them.  They will also stand up when they are grooming themselves. If your hamster stands up as you approach them this is a sign of defensive behaviour.

Why Does My Hamster Stand On Its Hind Legs?

A hamster will stand on its hind legs to help them explorer their surroundings.  By standing they can get a better view around them and have a good sniff as the air is most likely more free moving.

A hamster standing on its hind legs is also known as meerkating because they exhibit the same posture as a meerkat.

It is very important when a hamster is standing that you do not approach them and try to pick them up as they might show some aggression towards you.  At this stage your hamster is in a exploring mode and they do not want to be distracted.  If this is the case do not worry because it is normal for them to act this way.

They are in this hunting mode usually because they can smell or see something that is interesting, usually food related.  Below is a video showing a hamster standing on its hind legs.

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Why Is My Hamster Standing Perfectly Still?

A hamster will stand perfectly still if they have smelt or heard something interesting or threatening and they are not sure where it is.  This behaviour is witnessed commonly in wild hamsters, but also domestic hamsters.

It is also common for them to stand perfectly still for minutes at a time.  This is a natural for them to do, it has most likely been inherited from wild hamsters because they are seen as prey in the wild and they stay perfectly still to avoid predators.

If your hamster is standing perfectly still you can approach them slowly and gently pick them up, make sure not to scare them and they should start to move around again.

Hamster Falling Asleep Standing Up

If your hamster is falling asleep while standing up it is usually because they have fainted or have not had enough quality sleep recently.

It is not common for hamsters to fall asleep standing up, if they do it once or twice it is nothing to be worried about.

If they are frequently falling sleep standing up then there is most likely an issue that needs to be looked in to.  You will need to look at the following two items.

Monitor Sleep Pattern

A healthy hamster requires between six to eight hours of sleep a day.  Hamsters also sleep during the day so it should be easy to monitor how much sleep they are having.

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During the day keep a record of how much sleep they are getting.  It is usual for them to get up a few times during their sleep to go toilet and have a drink.

If they are frequently having less then six hours a day you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.


Typically when a hamster faints they will fall or jump because they are not sure what is happening to them and they are scared.

It should be pretty obvious if your hamster is fainting, take a look at this video for the signs to look out for

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The main causes of hamsters fainting include

  • Not eating enough food
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Suffering from an illness

If they are constantly fainting for longer than one day then you will need to take them to a vet to be looked at as soon as possible.