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Questions And Answers

Are Hamsters Scared of Storms? (Thunder + Lightning)

Hamsters are skittish animals. When frightened, they become stressed and anxious. Hamsters’ feeding habits change, so they become socially withdrawn and may self-mutilate.

Depending on where you live, storms can happen regularly or only once or twice yearly.

The most troublesome are loud storms with rolling thunder and bright storms with frequent lightning bolts. Even if a hamster is safe in the home, it can still be startled by the effects.

Due to their sensitive nature, you may be concerned that a hamster will be scared to death by a storm. After all, thunderstorms can scare adult humans and large animals like dogs.

How Sensitive Are Hamsters to Loud Noises?

Hamsters have excellent hearing, relying on this sense to compensate for their poor eyesight.

Their spatial hearing is well above 20 Hz, so they can communicate ultrasonically. In contrast, humans can only pick up sounds of 20 Hz during their peak years.

Hamsters can hear a broader range of sounds than humans, and their ears are sensitive to loud, high-pitched noises. A loud crack of thunder will quickly register with a hamster, and depending on the intensity, it can confuse and disorient the hamster.

Thunder contains many ultrasounds, and since hamsters can hear all of them at once, it can be unsettling. For example, sounds of only 30 dB to us can sound like 60 dB to a hamster.

Are Hamsters Scared of Thunder?

Rolling thunder that begins in smaller waves will sound odd but won’t immediately be frightening.

However, a sudden clap of thunder on a quiet night can send shockwaves through the body. So, the hamster won’t understand the loud and abrupt sound, seeking immediate cover.

Furthermore, the lighting of a room can affect a hamster’s response to thunder. For instance, a hamster in a dark room won’t show as much fear as a hamster in a well-lit room would.

However, hamsters in a brightly lit room will feel more exposed and have a higher stress response. That makes it sensible to dim the lights if there’s a thunderstorm at night.

Can Thunder Kill Hamsters?

Thunder is very unlikely to kill your hamster. Most hamsters can survive even the most shaking claps of thunder, albeit with varying levels of acoustic trauma.

That said, hamsters are susceptible to heart attacks, and sudden bursts of noise are a trigger. According to the National Library of Medicine, more vulnerable hamsters are called cardiomyopathic hamsters.

Syrian hamsters are likelier to be cardiomyopathic, as the disease is widely inherited among the species. Consequently, they’re more likely to experience heart failure when exposed to acoustic trauma.

So, if you have a Syrian hamster, take protective measures whenever you learn of an impending storm.

Can Thunder Hurt My Hamster?

According to Hearing Research, hamsters can develop tinnitus after exposure to several thunderbooms. This condition is characterized by partial or complete hearing loss and a constant ringing in the ears.

It often occurs when the sensitive ears of hamsters are exposed to sounds exceeding 124 dB. However, humans can develop tinnitus when exposed to anything above 85 dB. 

The average thunderclap has a sound pressure level of 120 dB. So, humans have a higher risk of hearing loss or acoustic trauma than hamsters.

An extended period of thunderclaps can have a lasting psychological effect on hamsters. For one, the shock of thunderous explosions can make a hamster feel like its life is in danger.

The Journal of Experimental Animal Science also shows that stress responses in hamsters are more elevated when there’s light, in contrast to dark periods.

The longer it takes to calm the hamster down, the more adverse the effects will be experienced, which may include self-mutilation.

are hamsters scared of lightning?

Are Hamsters Scared of Lightning?

Hamsters don’t fear lightning as much as thunder because they’re used to light flashes from room lighting, cameras, and other sources. So, they’ll only find lightning scary if there’s booming thunder.

At worst, a hamster unaccustomed to abrupt lighting changes will be startled, which shouldn’t trigger a severe reaction. The hamster might go into its burrow or watch curiously.

Lightning emits no discernible scent or sound, especially when you’re indoors, and it passes in a split second. That said, lightning and thunder often go together. If a hamster runs for safety at the sight of lightning, it’s most likely because it fears the accompanying thunder.  

Hamsters are rarely afraid of silent lightning (known as heat lightning). This kind of strike mainly occurs during the summer and will only register as a distant flash of light. Silent lightning doesn’t trigger a hamster’s flight response without the explosive sound of thunder. This is its first line of defense.

If a hamster is scared, it’s likely scared of you flicking on the room’s lamps. This implies it’s skittish, and you should adjust to provide a calmer, safer environment.

Can Lightning Harm My Hamster?

This depends on the location of the hamster when the lightning flash takes place and the electric current of the flash. If the hamster is indoors, the lightning won’t harm it.

If the hamster is outdoors, a powerful jolt of lightning can’t harm it at a distance. The only threat is when the bolt hits the hamster or near the hamster. If so, electricity may pass through it, killing it instantly.

However, according to DW, it’s rare for lightning to kill small animals because the distance between their front and hind legs is too small to allow any current to flow through them.

Are Hamsters Scared of Rain?

Rain won’t negatively affect a hamster unless it’s during a major thunderstorm.

The only real danger is getting caught unprotected in the rain. Within the safety of their indoor cage, hamsters have nothing to fear from a downpour.

Some owners observed that once their pet hamsters realized it was raining, they started burrowing, looking for a place to hide from the rainwater.

It’s an instinct developed from thousands of years spent in the wild, where the only safe shelters against the rain were deep, well-designed burrows.

Other owners observed that their hamsters slept or remained inactive longer on rainy days. Scientific research on this is scant, but it suggests that hamsters get lazier on rainy days.

That said, hamsters can be in danger on rainy days if they’re outside. Rainwater can lead to sudden changes in temperature when a hamster’s fur is saturated.

Hypothermia, not shock or stress, is the leading risk that rain poses to hamsters.

Calming Down Your Hamster During Storm

Here are some ways to dull the effects of a storm so a hamster can remain calm:

Dark, Isolated Room

If the sights and sounds of the storm can’t reach the hamster, it won’t feel nearly as stressed.

Remove the hamster from a room with windows, and place it into a room deep within your home. The more walls between the storm and the hamster, the better, as this will dull the sounds and flashes.

Cover The Cage

A cover reduces the sound that can enter a hamster’s cage. Also, it provides a cloak of darkness that keeps out any sudden flashes of light. This is useful if you don’t have a secluded, dark room.


If the storm continues, get close to the cage and talk to it while offering snacks. Your presence and the treats will make the hamster feel safer.