Can Hamsters See In The Dark

Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

Hamsters are tiny playful pets that are easy to keep. They are loved by people because of their adorable cuddly bodies and friendly nature.

They have many interesting qualities that fascinate their owners. One of them is how they can play at night in pitch-black darkness.

You will hear them squeak noisily while playing in their cage even late into the night. This can make you wonder if they can see in the dark and if so, how it is possible.

Read along because you are just about to find out what their secret is.

Can hamsters see in the dark?

Hamsters cannot see in the dark. Their eyesight is very poor even when the lights are on making it more difficult for them to see when it’s dark. The reason they can know their surroundings and be active at night is that they rely on other senses they have that are more powerful. Hamsters will use their sense of smell, hearing, and their whiskers to be able to navigate in darkness because their eyesight is poor.

Are hamsters nocturnal?

Nocturnal animals are very active at night and less active during the day. Hamsters have adapted to being nocturnal because they are prey animals and it’s a way of avoiding their predators.

Another reason why hamsters will be active at night is that they mainly originated from deserts where the heat used to be too much during the day. This made them begin hiding in their cooler burrows during the day to escape from the hot weather.

Hamsters are nocturnal and you will notice that your hamster may spend their days sleeping while being active and very playful at night.

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Why are hamsters unable to see in the dark?

Hamsters cannot see in the dark and this is because their eyesight is normally not very good. When hamsters are born, they are quite underdeveloped with one of the things being that their eyes are closed.

Being born blind, baby hamsters start seeing from 14-17days. This is when their eyes open up and they can begin to recognize things.

However, their eyes are not able to see well all through their lives because they can only see things that are a few inches from their nose. Hamsters are identified as both short-sighted and colorblind because they cannot tell colors apart also.

Due to all these, hamsters will only see when the light is not too strong and they will be unable to see when there is no light at all. This will make them unable to see anything in the darkness.

How can hamsters move in the dark

To make up for their very poor eyesight, hamsters have other senses which are more powerful to aid them in their movement even in the dark. They include:

Sense of smell

Hamsters have a very strong sense of smell. They can smell things that are a long distance away.

This helps them to be able to know what is around them and if there are predators nearby. Their noses can also detect where the food is, if they have been somewhere before and if there is another hamster nearby.

Hearing sense

Apart from their noses, hamsters have very good ears that can hear even much better than humans. They can hear from afar.

Even when they cannot see, they can hear something coming and know whether they should run or hide.

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Whiskers are very helpful sensors for animals. From cats to dogs to hamsters, these pets will have whiskers to help them move around with ease.

Whiskers help them balance properly and move in the direction where nothing comes in their way. Even in the darkness, they will be able to tell if something is close by and in which direction they should move to avoid it. This makes whiskers helpful sensors for hamsters.

How to cope with your hamster being active at night

Hamsters are active at night while you are asleep at night. This will give you and your pet contrasting times to interact and you may not see each other much.

However, you can try to make your schedules move in harmony by taking some time to spend with them in the evenings. Because they wake up in the evening, this makes them very active at that time and ready to play too.

You can use this time to:

  • Take them out of the cage to play in their pen or exercise ball.
  • Play a game of tug with them by tying a treat on a string and gently pulling it away from them.
  • Cleaning up their cage by removing soiled bedding and leftover foods.
  • Giving them fresh foods and changing their water.

If they have a wheel in their cage, make sure that you buy the noiseless wheels instead of the loud old fashioned noisy wheels that require constant oiling.

You should also keep the cage away from your bedroom because even if the wheel is silent, it doesn’t mean that your hamster will be too.

Your pet can excitedly squeak noisily throughout the night as they play or even make noise as they dig around their bedding.

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Are all hamsters active at night?

Most hamsters will be active at night but not necessarily all. Just like humans and how different we are with some of us being night owls, you can be lucky to get a hamster that can spare some hours of activity during the day.

Sometimes it will depend on their personalities and nature. If your hamster prefers to sleep all day though, respect that and let them rest.

After a whole night’s activity, they will be exhausted and in need of some good old rest. It’s not abnormal for your hamster to get grumpy and even bite if you insist on waking them up as they try to catch up on much-needed rest.


Hamsters cannot see in the dark and they will rely on other senses more like their hearing, smell, and whiskers to move around at night. Keep the lights off in your hammy’s cage at night so as not to confuse their body clocks.

You should play with your pet, offer them food, and clean up their cage in the evenings when they wake up instead of trying to wake them up during the day as they sleep. They could get irritated and bite you.

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