Considering that hamsters are such small animals, they create a lot of mess. If they are not digging or shredding the contents of their cage in order to make a comfy bed, then they are foraging for food, or most often not, expelling it out the other end. But have you ever wonder ‘why does my hamster poop so much?’.
There are many reasons why your hamster is pooping a lot, and most of them are not cause for alarm. A hamster’s digestive system cycles rapidly, due to its small size and food intake. Your hamster’s cage might need to be cleaned more often due to poop, but it’s not usually something to worry about.
Keep reading for more information on why your hamster is pooping so much and some facts on why they’re such great pets.
What factors affect hamster poop frequency?
Hamsters have a high fiber diet, which helps to keep their bowels moving regularly. The fact that they eat a lot of vegetables and fresh fruits is something else to consider. If you’re feeding your furry friend lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, or strawberries, you’ll likely see them poop and pee more than usual.
Remember that fresh fruits and veggies are good for them, but they will speed up their digestive system. However, a healthy digestive system is never a bad thing for your pet, as it shows that things are working as they should. On average, you can expect these cute furry friends to poop 12-18 times a day.
The high frequency of bowel movements mostly comes from their high fiber diet. Fibrous foods are essential for overall health but too many fresh fruits create more hamster poop to manage.
What does normal hamster poop look like?
Healthy hamster poop is much like any other rodent in appearance and size. You should see small, dark brown pellets that are oblong. Unlike other species, hamster poop is dry and has no moisture, primarily from its high fiber diet. If you start to notice runny stools then you should consult your veterinarian.
There should be no odors, and it won’t leave any marks where it’s laid. These droppings are often confused with that of a mouse, as they’re very similar.
If your hamster should poop on your hand while you’re holding it, it’s not a serious matter. The risk of them transferring disease to you through their feces is minimal. There have been instances where salmonella or e. coli has been transmitted, but these cases are the exception and not commonplace. Ensure you wash your hands after handling them, whether they poop on you or not.
Why an unbalanced diet can lead to excessive poop
Hamsters are heavy feeders, so even if they’re eating all the right things, they’re still going to poop a lot.
Like birds and many other animals, they eat little bits all day. They don’t consume massive amounts in one setting like humans, as their systems are constantly emptying what they ingest.
Their delicate digestive systems are created to ensure they stay healthy and must eliminate all the excess they intake. Once their bodies absorb the nutrients from their food, it quickly eliminates everything else. Hamsters can easily have weight issues, which will shorten their life span. So, pooping frequently is just a way for their body to eliminate all the waste.
You should worry more if they’re not pooping frequently, has runny stools or makes excessive noise when toileting, as this indicates that something isn’t right in their systems. However, a hamster using the restroom often shows good health.
When should you be concerned?
Frequency doesn’t always dictate a problem, but some indications seen while observing their bowel habits can show something is amiss.
One reason why your hamster may be pooping more than usual is they’re under stress such as a new environment or due to be around other pets. Just like humans, some hamsters can be nervous poopers and this can affect their bathroom cycles and this is easily resolved when the pressure is alleviated.
If you see some strange colors in your hamster’s poop, it can usually be traced back to what they ate. Certain foods can dye excrement, but they should go away quickly.
If you notice colors and nothing out of the ordinary has been consumed, you should monitor it. A greenish-yellow color on occasion shouldn’t be alarming, as it’s probably from the bile in the liver. Seeing some of those colors mixed into their poop is perfectly normal.
If the poop should become runny or have a strange smell, these should be monitored. If it’s an isolated incident, you can notate it. However, if the stools are constantly loose and have a foul odor, they should be brought to a vet’s attention as this can happy for a number of reasons.
While poop doesn’t smell, their urine will have a slight odor that becomes pungent the longer it sits.
How to Clean and Sanitize your hamster’s cage after poop
One of the biggest problems is making sure your hamster’s cage is cleaned in a timely manner. You don’t want to overclean it as it can cause undue stress to your pet. Anytime you smell pee or that strong ammonia smell that goes with it, it indicates it’s time for a good cleaning.
Did you know that some hamsters are litter trained? Having a small litter box inside the cage makes keeping the cage cleaner. Since they have a fast digestion system, it does take time and effort to accomplish this task. Thankfully, hamsters typically gravitate to one area to pee and poop, so this is the area where you need to put the litter box.
There are two types of cleaning, one where you change the bedding and remove debris, and one where you get down and scrub it. Sometimes a simple bedding change around the water dispenser is all your hamster’s cage needs. Other times, you must strip it down and do a complete cleansing.
Using a pet-safe cleaning solution is wise, though you can also use an antibacterial hand or dish soap. Here are some simple steps for effective cage cleaning:
- Remove the hamster from the cage
- Scrub cage with cleaning solution
- Air dry or use a scent-free towel to dry it (no fabric softener on it)
- Place new bedding, water, food, and sawdust if used inside the cage
- Return the animal to the enclosure
For full details on how to clean a hamster cage, check out our step by step guide.
Make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your hamster, especially if you use cleaners. You will notice that your hamster immediately starts cleaning themselves once you’ve held them, as they want to remove your scent from its fur. Hamsters are known for being clean and bathing themselves frequently.
Additionally, you may think it’s a good idea to put the hamster in a rolling exercise ball on the floor while cleaning the cage, but do this with care. While it can be safe, these balls can also be highly dangerous. First, they can create a stressful and confusing situation; second, if the ball is undersized, it can hurt their backs.
Why does my hamster poop so much? There are many reasons for their overactive digestive system, but they’re usually all benign. So if you’re considering adding a hamster to your family, it’s an excellent choice.
Hamster poop is not a big issue, especially considering all the other animals and the size of their feces. Hamsters are small, self-sufficient, and need very little care.
They poop a lot due to their high fiber diet and intake of fresh fruits, but the feces are so small that it’s very manageable. Never let a little thing like frequent pooping keep you from enjoying these amazing pets. Hamsters bring a lot of love and happiness to any home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hamster care when considering adding one to their family.