Sleepy Hamsters Fall Over

It seems unbelievable, but hamsters can also be so tired that they doze off and fall over.

It seems unbelievable, but hamsters can also be so tired that they doze off and fall over.

hamster falling asleep
Via Jeffery Spencer/YouTube
It didn’t look like a bad spot for a snooze, but there must’ve been a slight tilt.

Falling asleep is completely natural. What’s not natural is falling asleep when you probably shouldn’t. I think we’ve all suffered through heavy eyelid syndrome at some point (boring class, long meeting, the day after an all-nighter, etc.), but it turns out that some animals share this problem. 


Hamster Nose-Dives Into Tunnel After Falling Asleep
See more cute videos about small animal pets


Take the case of the humble hamster. These little balls of fluff can fight it all they want, but the Sandman makes them doze off despite their best efforts. Is it because they’re nocturnal and are being disturbed in the middle of their night (our day)? Is it because they zoom around their cage or exercise wheel and just need to sleep NOW? 

In these YouTube videos, the hamsters are not only failing in their fight to stay awake, they also chose a bad spot for a snooze. All end up taking a bit of a tumble. 

This made me wonder: Why don’t hamsters get hurt when they take these falls? When I was young, I managed to chip an elbow and end up in a cast for weeks after falling a mere 18 inches. Comparing the size of the hamster to the size of some of these falls, it seems incredible that hamsters aren’t injured more often. Well, it turns out that size matters when you fall. In a 2010 Christmas Lecture from The Royal Institution titled “Size Matters” by Mark Miodownik, he explained that smaller animals hit the ground with a force proportionally lower than their weight. Given how much smaller and lighter hamsters are compared to people, I can understand why they can fall from heights that would be comparatively far for us, but still be unharmed. This is NOT to say that hamsters don’t get hurt if they fall, but it does explain why smaller falls have negligible effects.

1. I think we all know where this is going… 

2. It takes awhile, but this hamster does end up just where you think.
 

3. Notice the second hamster? Zero reaction to the fall.
 

4. That little shelf is this hamster’s favorite tipping spot, as shown in several videos of him on YouTube.
 

5. Trying to wake up a sleeping hamster is not recommended. Let them get up on their own schedule.
 

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