To a hamster owner, you may often see your pet active during the darker hours of the day. You may wonder then, whether it is a nocturnal or crepuscular animal?
In this blog post, we will clear things out concerning hamster sleeping habits and explain the differences.
While many think that hamsters are nocturnal, they are actually crepuscular.
Why are Hamsters Crepuscular?
The term crepuscular means that they are active during twilight hours – early morning and late evening. This means that hamsters are active and awake during dawn and sleeps during the day.
Hamsters are considered as such because of the following:
Restoration of Needed Energy
Hamsters are crepuscular because restoration is the primary factor why they exhibit this sleeping habit. They need a lot of energy to store up to survive through their food-scarce environment, resulting in them being active during the night and daytime where they are less threatened by predators.
Less Exposure to Sun Light
Additionally, during the night, they are less exposed to the heat of the sun that may cause them to dehydrate.
It is easier for crepuscular animals like hamsters to hunt their prey during those times because most prey is also active only at dusk and dawn. Thus, they will have a higher chance of success in hunting than if they were active other times.
However, crepuscular animals also wake up with the sun. So if you still want to play with your pet hamster during the day, it is not going to be sleeping in so it will always be ready for a bit of attention and exercise.
Is It Possible to Change the Sleeping Patterns of Hamsters?
While it is impossible to change the sleeping habits of a crepuscular animal, you can work around their schedule.
Since they are most active during dawn and dusk, try waking up early in the morning and going home earlier at night so that your hamster will be more exposed to your presence while also not being too tired come nighttime.
However, this is not saying that you should not play with your pet hamster in the nighttime. If you want to spend more time with them during the day, wake up early and go home earlier. By understanding their sleeping patterns, you will be able to interact better with your hamsters.
If you are taking a hamster in as a pet and it seems to be active during the day, do not worry. This only means that it is more comfortable being around humans who provide heat and food, so they will be much more likely to move around during the day.
What are the Risks of Disturbed Sleeping Patterns among Hamsters?
Vulnerability in the Wild
Hamsters are crepuscular in the wild. They wake at dawn and dusk since they are hunted by predators during those times of day, so disrupting their sleeping patterns can be dangerous as they will not have time to hide from them.
Inappropriate Sleep Duration
Studies show that hamsters should sleep for about 12 hours a day to maintain healthy growth and development. If their sleeping patterns are constantly disrupted, they will sleep less.
Disrupted Circadian Rhythm
Hamsters also have circadian rhythms that can be disrupted with constantly changing schedules. The disruption may then cause a lack of energy or motivation to do anything and is linked to depression in humans.
In a nutshell, hamsters are crepuscular animals. This means that they are naturally active during dawn and dusk, but this does not mean that you cannot interact with them during other hours of the day.
You can also work around their schedule to spend time with your hamster during the day without disrupting its sleeping patterns too much.