Oh no! Did your hamster have an accident or suffered from a fall? Will this lead to paralysis, permanent injury or death? In this article, we’ll try to alleviate your fears by discussing how far a hamster can fall and what to do about it.
How Far Can A Hamster Fall? Hamsters can usually fall between 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) on hard surfaces before it becomes very serious or fatal. Softer surfaces like carpeting may save your hamster’s limbs, body or head from fractures or permanent injury.
Will My Hamster Die If I Drop It?
It’s unlikely that a hamster will die from a fall. They have adapted well to survival instincts that may cause them to tumble from some distances when fleeing from predators in the wild. It’s common for hamsters in captivity to fall from:
- elevated surfaces in cages
- our hands
They could suffer a fracture or become paralyzed. A head first fall from a distance over 10 inches or 25 centimeters could be serious.
My Hamster Fell. What Should I Do?
If your hamster has fallen, take a deep breath. Your stress or sudden fear may reflect or radiate the room to the point where your little companion may increase its level of shock. Try to follow some of the suggestions:
- Don’t touch your hamster for a moment or two.
- Touching or picking up your hamster could make any fracture worse.
- Watch carefully to see if they get up on their own.
- A frozen hamster is playing dead, but can snap out of it very quickly.
- Observe for limping or paralysis of a leg.
- Look for bleeding.
- Take 48 hours to assess recovery or if normal activities have resumed.
- A visit to the vet for x-rays might be in order.
Should I Go To The Vet If My Hamster Falls?
Once 24-48 hours have elapsed and you notice your hamster is not acting normal, you may have to take a trip to the vet. Look for some of these symptoms that something is wrong:
- a leg or two not being moved
- legs are being dragged
- labored breathing
- lethargy or lack of movement
- turning in circles
- lying on one side
- bone is seen through the skin of feet
- not eating or drinking
Your hamster’s vet will perform x-rays or decide on antibiotics, painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication. Bandages could be applied or bone corrections might be performed.
What Could Happen If I Drop My Hamster?
Always scoop up your hamster carefully and do so for very short periods of time. Hamsters do not prefer to be picked up.
If you are relocating your hamster to a softer surface on a couch or carpet, do it slowly and stay as low to the ground as possible. A fallen hamster from your hands could:
- fracture a leg or two
- fracture a neck and perish
- bruise or break ribs
- suffer from internal bleeding
- play dead and bounce back up shortly
Do not rush to pick up your fallen hamster. Be calm and wait to see what your hamster will do in the next 1-2 minutes under your careful supervision. Picking up your hamster may only worsen the sensitivity of possible fractures.
How Did My Hamster Get Hurt?
You may have been out or away from your hamster’s cage and suddenly returned to find your hamster dragging its hind legs or lying on its side. What could have happened?
Your hamster is robust and should hopefully recover without urgent medical care. There may have been some scenarios at play such as:
- falling off a hamster wheel
- falling of ladder, toys, steps or balls in the cage
- two hamsters fighting
- clumsiness at night when hamsters can’t see very well
How High Can A Hamster Fall From And Survive?
We’ve seen hamsters fall from as high as 3 feet or close to 1 meter and survive. This is only because the surface they fell on was carpeted. Usually the common distance that most people agree is safe falls under 6-10 inches to 15-25 centimeters.
- Try not to pick up or move your hamster out of its cage when you’re crossing hardwood or tiles.
- If your hamster falls on all 4 legs it’s safer than taking the brunt of the fall on one limb or its head.
- A leaner hamster might spring back up faster than a heavy set counterpart.
- Older hamsters are weaker and may suffer more.
- Pregnant hamsters may lose their young in their belly.
Note: The picture below is not real! Please don’t be alarmed. Photoshop is to blame. This hamster is safe.
How Can I Avoid Hamster Falls?
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to teach a hamster to be more careful. They are playful, active and have poor eyesight. Here are some suggestions to help reduce falls:
- Try not to use cages with bars.
- Get an enclosure without bars instead.
- Remove ladders.
- Set up more shredded paper bedding or aspen shavings to break its fall.
- Scoop up your hamster while seated on the floor.
- A stressed or new hamster that hasn’t warmed up to you shouldn’t be picked up yet.
- Teach kids how you do it.
We are all observers, teachers or trainers. We learn from our hamsters and share our experiences with anyone who is willing to learn or interact with our little companions.
We hope that the information provided in this article helps you handle any situation resulting in a sudden accident where a hamster has fallen.
Immediate responses by rushing to pick up your hamster after a fall is not advised. Stay there and see what happens for 1-2 minutes.
If your hamster resumes its activities, you may be in luck and recovery will be seen in less than 1-2 weeks. If you notice abnormal behavior, you might need to visit the vet together.
Thank you for visiting HomePetHelp.com for information regarding hamsters and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time!