Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily ? Experts Share the Surprising Answer.

Signs of a hamster dying

There could be animals that would pass away without showing off any signs while there are hamsters who would indicate some signs when they are dying. As such it is critically important that you keep observing the hamsters quite well and see whether you could spot any change in their behavioral pattern.

For example, if your beloved hamsters seem to be lethargic and less active it could be an early sign of a severe illness. Further, if they tend to sleep all the time and tend to lose their appetite it could be an alarming indication of a severe condition they are going through.

In addition to that if you could spot any change in their defecation and urination you need to be watchful of those as well. You need to pay extra attention if you spot your hamsters tend to develop an unkempt coat and keep grooming them all the time too. In fact, those two facts could be two more signs of hamsters dying. Lastly, if you happen to spot any drastic change in their weight loss chances are that it could also be a sign of a hamster dying.

Why do hamsters die so easily?

Why did my hamster die?

Hamsters die so easily mainly due to many reasons. one reason is unethical breeding. Many pet stores brought hamsters from hamsters mills. Due to this, there will be a high probability for them to develop neurological issues which could sometimes turn out to be fatal.

Another reason is, hamsters have a very short lifespan and they would die when they get older just like other living beings would. In addition to that hamsters may die due to disease, fights with fellow hamsters, etc. furthermore if they happen to fall on their head it would also turn out to be fatal to them. In addition to that, factors such as stress, malnutrition, lack of exercise, and poor hygiene would also result in hamsters’ death at times.

Old hamster dying

The average lifespan of hamsters is about 18 months. Having said that, chances are that they might live up to three years. Hamsters don’t live longer in general. So, if you have bred the hamsters for too long and if there is no definite factor for their death, it could be most probably due to old death.

Old age is not a disease. However, if you are uncertain whether the hamsters died due to old age or not, you could get a necropsy done and ascertain whether old age is the definite cause of the death or not. Keep in mind that if you had exposed them to colder conditions for too long, chances are that it could induce your hamster and make them go through hibernation. They may look like the dead when they are not in reality.

If you think it is necessary to ascertain the root cause of the death, it would be a fine idea to conduct a necropsy. That will allow you to decide what exactly happened with your beloved pet.

Can hamsters die of stress?

Stress is a condition that could make the hamsters die. In fact, it can do greater damage to the hamster’s lifespan. Stress can badly impact the immunity of the hamsters and make them sick in the end. For example, once the hamsters suffer from stress it can result in heart disease and strokes of the hamsters. Those two are lethal conditions that would kill the hamsters.

Why are hamsters suicidal?

Hamsters may tend to be suicidal especially if they are anxious and depressed. These are two common conditions where the hamsters may suffer during the winter. It is quite the usual condition for humans to go through and hamsters are no exception to humans. It is noteworthy that older hamsters may tend to be more suicidal than younger ones.

When do hamsters die?

Dead Hamster Lying On Carpet

Hamsters’ life span would last only approximately two years. Having said that hamsters may die before they hit the average lifespan. On the other hand, there could be some hamsters that would live more than their average life span too. Sometimes hamsters may suddenly die when they are doing an activity. For instance, they can die when they are running on their wheels or feasting on their favorite snack, etc. Therefore, you need to be aware of the common signs of dying so that you can act swiftly and prevent that from happening.

How long does it take for a hamster to die?

We cannot specify a definite timeline it would take for the hamster to die. That is simply because every hamster is different from one other. Besides you cannot really specify on a timeline as to when the hamster’s health would deteriorate. There could be some hamsters who will start to suffer from a weakened health condition within a few days and then recover once they get proper medication. On the other hand, there could be some hamsters who will suffer from health deterioration and perish within a short period.

Usually, once a hamster passes the age of two years, it will be considered an old hamster. Once they are above 18 months, you need to make sure that you look after them well with some special care. No matter how well you take care of them, they will pass away at some point in their life and you need to be ready to accept that.

The hamster died after 3 months

Hamsters may die after 3 months if they have a bad fall or if they get involved in a massive fight with a fellow hamster. In addition to that, if they happen to experience any hygiene issues it would be fatal for them.

The hamster died after 2 weeks

If your hamsters died due to 2 weeks it is very likely that they would have experienced a bacterial issue. If they contact with any bacterial issue, it would make them lose nutrients, fluids and electrolytes as well.

The hamster died in sleep

Suppose that your hamster died in sleep. Then it is very likely that they died due to heart failure. This is commonly found among older hamsters. Besides you can also find this among the hamsters who are suffering from genetic predisposition too. If you want to ascertain whether your hamsters died due to heart failure, you could see whether they were showing any respiratory distress, or erratic movement, etc., in addition to that the hamsters who died in sleep due to heart failure would carry blue-colored feet as well.

Hamster dying noises

Usually, hamsters would squeak when they are dying. This is the most heard sound of the hamsters who are dying. They would do that to indicate to you that they are in pain.

Dying hamster making a clicking noise

If the hamsters are having a breathing issue and dying due to that you could hear them making a clicking noise. If you ever come across any situation like this, I suggest you take them to a vet doctor as soon as you can. Generally, they would make the clicking sound when they are happy and content. However, if they make a clicking sound when breathing it is very likely that they are in immense pain.

The hamster died with its eyes open

Hamsters can die with their eyes open. Furthermore, they can die with closed eyes too. If the hamsters’ eyes were open when they died, they would remain open even after the death. That is because their eye muscles become rigid after the hamster dies. Consequently, it will stop the hamster’s eyelid from retracting and remain the eyes open even after its death.

Hamsters died with their mouth open

Sometimes hamsters die with mouths. This happens when they die due to breathing problems. When they can not breathe through their nose they try to breathe through their mouth (just like us). If they die when they try to breathe from their mouth, their mouth will be opened even after death. After death their muscle becomes rigid and you can not close their mouth if it becomes rigid.

What does a dead hamster look like

Usually, you could see it lying on its side. Besides, you will see how their chest remains unchanged without any movement too. If the hamsters have had a very unfortunate death you could see they are curled up on themselves, the heads between their legs. Needless to mention a dead hamster would be more cold and more rigid.

Do hamsters go stiff when they die?

Usually when a hamster dies, its body would get stiff. When a hamster dies, it would go into the rigor mortis stage which is a medical term that you could use to explain the hardening of a body muscle. So, when a hamster’s body gets stiff, it literally means the hamster has passed away. Rigor mortis is an important indication that would be crucial in identifying the time of death.

If the hamster had died before 8 hours, it is very likely that its body would have started to get stiff. However, you should be able to still move them. If you had found the dead body of the hamsters after 8 hours, it is very likely that their muscles would be as stiff as a board.

The hamster is dead but not stiff

It would usually take about one or two hours for the hamster’s body to get stiff completely.

If my hamster is stiff is it dead

Suppose that your hamster is stiff and doesn’t move at all. Then it means they are dead. However, if the hamsters are stiff yet seem to be alive chances are that it has gone into hibernation. Once the hamsters are hibernating, they would become so stiff, but they are not dead. However one might think that they may be dead. You could check the status of the hamsters by simply applying some heat to the hamsters’ habitat. Once the temperature increases, you can see how they start to move lightly. However, they would still be quite weak.

Why do hamsters bleed before they die?

If the hamsters are dying and you spot them bleeding before that, it is very likely that they are dying due to an infection in their bladder. Besides they may tend to bleed due to an infection in the kidneys and due to stones in the bladder too.

The hamster died bleeding from the bottom

If your hamster died due to bleeding from the bottom, it could be mainly due to a few reasons.

First, if the hamsters are suffering from a gastrointestinal infection which has been caused by bacteria they would start to bleed from the bottom. Bacteria and parasites could be what cause gastrointestinal infections. Eventually, they would lead to irritation and inflammation of the intestines. Secondly, hamsters would bleed from the bottom due to tumors. This could be rare. Once the tumor bleeds, it will start to bleed from the bottom.

Apart from that, if you spot your hamsters bleeding from the bottom, it could be due to the presence of polyps and abscesses as well. Not only that, if the hamsters are suffering from any injury or if they have had any accidental cuts you could spot them bleeding from the bottom. Needless to mention that this will be a common occurrence when the hamsters start to give birth too. Whenever the hamsters go through these conditions, they would end up bleeding from the bottom and dying at the end.

The hamster died bleeding from the nose and mouth

If you come across any situation where your hamster died bleeding from the nose and mouth, it is very likely that it died due to trauma. This could be a possible occurrence if your hamsters happen to fall from a height.

Hamster dying process

Usually, the hamsters would start to breathe at a faster rate. In other words, their respiration would be more agitated. As time goes on, the pulse would start to diminish. Further, there could be occasions where the dying hamster’s jaws would be stiff as well. Eventually, they would stop breathing and making any movements at all.

What does a dead hamster smell like?

Unsurprisingly a dead hamster would smell very unpleasant. In fact, it would be an unpleasant whiff smell. The odor of the dead hamsters would vary depending on the way it died too.

How long before the dead hamster smells

Usually, it would take about 24 hours for the dead hamster to smell. However, if there is a high temperature it would even take less than that. Having said that, the bio-degrading of the hamsters would take place at a faster rate, particularly during summer. So, if you don’t preserve the body, it will start to release a quite unpleasant smell.

How to comfort a dying hamster

If you spot your beloved hamster dying, ensure that you take all the necessary steps to comfort them. So, to do that, make sure that you keep them comfortable as much as you can. It is very important that you do this as it will be the last few days of its lifetime. If you have multiple hamsters living in one cage, I suggest isolating them and putting them in one cage so that it would make them more comfortable. Ensure that the isolated place is not disturbing for them. For example, don’t allow any strangers or kids to interrupt them. Ensure there are no bright lights there too.

Once you isolate them, give them some time to relax. When a hamster is dying you need to give them some comfort and rest. Do not disturb them whatsoever. Avoid trying to pick them up. It is vital that you keep their cages clean too. If the cage is unclean it would be more stressful for the hamsters. Besides, it would enhance the anxiety of the hamsters too. I encourage you to clean their cage with soapy water or even with a bleach solution. Ensure that you clean the hamsters food and food bowl as well.

Needless to mention that you should keep the hamsters warm too. If the hamsters are cold, they may probably reject having any meals or drinks. Further chances are that they may even go into hibernation as well. So, to make it warm, try placing some toilet paper and try to create an effect of nesting there. You may also use unscented paper and tear them into strips and place them in the cage.

Most importantly keep providing them with sufficient food and adequate water too. You need to ensure that there is a constant supply of food and water available even though they don’t seem to be interested in eating or in drinking. Keep those food bowls closer to the hamsters as much as you can. Further, I recommend you feed the hamsters high-protein food. It will strengthen the body of the sick hamsters. For example, you could consider feeding them with tofu, scrambled eggs or yogurt, etc. needless to mention that you should keep hydrated as well.

Should I let my hamster die naturally?

If you suspect your hamsters are dying, you need to keep feeding them with proper food and giving them water etc. if the hamsters still seem to be in pain, you could go visit a pet doctor and get some painkillers for the hamsters.

How to preserve a hamster

After your pet dies, you can either bury them or preserve them. If you want to preserve them there are different ways to do that. First, you can keep your hamster in a formalin bath. You need professional help to do this therefore inform your pet mortician about your requirements and they will arrange this. Other than formalin baths you can fill your hamster skin with cotton wool. It is called taxidermy and you can find a taxidermist with the help of your veterinarian. You should not try this at home without proper permission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to bring a hamster back to life

If your hamster is dying due to old age, it is very unlikely that you can bring it back to life. However, if the hamsters are dying due to sickness it would be worth paying a visit to the pet doctor and getting him to do a thorough checkup.

Why do hamsters die so fast?

Heart disease could be one main reason why your hamsters may die so fast. And naturally, they design to live only up to 2 years. Even though it seems fast for us, for them it is a lifetime.

The hamster was very active and then died

If your hamster was very active and died after that, it could be most probably due to heart failure or infectious disease.

Weird ways hamsters have died

I found so many weird ways pet hamsters had died. Here are some of them.

  • Drowned in dog’s water bowl
  • Sudden loud sneeze
  • A sudden loud pop from a balloon
  • Accidentally vacuumed the hamster
  • broke neck by climbing the cage
  • Run straight to the fireplace
  • Someone tries to boo the hamster
  • When trying to take a photo with flash
  • Run fast until it died
  • Hamster jump to the fan
  • Ran into the snow and died
  • Chewed tv wire and electrocuted
  • Book fell on the hamster
  • Ate too many Doritos
  • and many other weird ways

Now you see how much you should be careful around this tiny animal.


It is always best to ensure that the hamsters are healthy so that they can live longer. Having said that, their life span would be very short and there will be one point in time when you will have to say goodbye to your beloved hamster. It would be heartwarming to see your precious hamster die. However, when you make yourself familiar with the signs of a dying hamster it would help to comfort them at least to some extent.

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