Hamster Hunched Back – 5 Common Reasons

Occasionally, a hamster’s hunched back is just a normal posture. They may do it for fun. But if their back is constantly in hunched posture, then it’s a serious matter of concern. It’s not just for your pet’s appearance but could also be an indication of something more.

There are various issues for hamster hunched back. It can be an underlying medical condition or any type of injury. Whether is the reason, you should find out it and treat the problem in the best way. With the proper treatment, your hamster will be fine again.

What Are The Reasons For The Hamster Hunched Back?


If your hamster is walking with hunched back, it is a serious matter to consider. So here are some possible reasons behind it:

Feeling Scared

When hamsters get scared, they hunched their back to express their fear. It might seem like they’re trying to mimic a tiny hedgehog, but there’s more to this behavior than meets the eye.

You see, scared hamsters are all about self-preservation. They want to look as small and unnoticeable as possible. So, they’ll curl in on themselves and keep as low to the ground as they can manage, which can result in their back arching.

To figure out if fear is the cause of the curl back, consider these situations.

  • Hamsters have sensitive ears, and a sudden blast of sound can send them into panic mode.
  • If your hamster has a window view, the sight of a prowling cat or other creatures can be quite alarming.
  • Hamsters are creatures of solitary habit, and any new faces (human or furry) in their environment might make them a bit jumpy.
  • Quick, unexpected movements can startle hamsters, causing that hunched posture.
  • Sometimes, a fall or a minor injury can make a hamster fearful and more likely to hunch.
  • If your hamster isn’t used to being held yet, being picked up can be a scary experience.

If your hamster back is hunched over due to fear, it’s usually a temporary state. Once they realize that the coast is clear and the scary stuff is gone, they’ll relax, and that arch in their back will straighten out. So, if your hamster gets scared, check for any recent scary episodes and comfort them to return their regular position. .


Anxiety – it’s not just a human thing. Hamsters can feel it too, and it often expresses it by hunching back. If your hamsters dealing with anxiety, they want to make themselves as small and unnoticeable as possible.

Often environmental factors play a significant role in hamster anxiety. If you put them in a new, strange environment, they feel anxiety. Also, when your hamster is aware of the presence of other pets, especially those who might be perceived as a threat, it can send them into an anxious state. Sometimes, simply too much commotion or unusual activity happening around their cage can trigger anxiety.

So, if you find your hamster constantly hunched over, it’s time to play the role of the caring hamster parent. Provide them with a safe space where they can retreat and feel secure. This might be a cozy hideaway or a familiar piece of their old habitat in their new surroundings.

The key is to reduce their anxiety by making them feel at ease in their environment. Once they start to feel more comfortable, that hunched posture should gradually ease, and your little friend will be back to their perky, happy self.

Old Age

As your hamster gracefully age, you can notice a change in their walk, a subtle hunch that indicates about the passage of time. The average lifespan of a pet hamster is a modest 2 to 2.5 years.

When your hamster become old, they walk with a hunched back which is quite natural and expected. They get slow down. Old age is a natural part of the hamster journey. In this stage, hamsters lose significant muscle mass and bone density.

Wet Tail

Wet tail is a concerning condition known as proliferative ileitis. This digestive issue is relatively common among these adorable hamsters. One of the primary symptoms of wet tail is diarrhea, which is brought about by a bacterial infection. The pain and the need to strain during excretion can lead to that hunched back posture.

So, how can you tell if your hamster is suffering from wet tail? Keep a close eye on their hindquarters. If you spot runny droppings, it could be a sign. Wet tail tends to affect hamsters under 12 weeks old most frequently.

Wet tail can be fatal. Hunched back can be one symptom. But you should also check around its butt for runny droppings, smelly or foul odor, diarrhea, weakness and lethargy.

Wet tail is caused by bacteria, called Lawsonia intracellularis, but it often starts due to stress. Stress can weaken a hamster’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.


Injuries in hamsters can be subtle but impactful. If you notice any of the following signs, your hamster might be dealing with an injury:

  • If your hamster is limping, it’s a visible sign of discomfort. They will walk with one leg or hunched back which is a response to the pain of injury.
  • Severe injuries can lead to hamsters avoiding the use of their hind legs altogether. This behavior is a clear indication that something is wrong and requires immediate attention.
  • Injuries affecting the spine can impact body functions. If your hamster shows signs of struggling with these basic functions, it’s a red flag for a potential spinal injury.
  • If your hamster reacts with signs of pain when you touch its back, it’s a clear signal that there’s an issue. Hamsters typically don’t respond well to physical discomfort, so a noticeable reaction should raise concern.

These injuries often result from falls, getting stuck in hamster balls or interacting with unsafe toys within their environment. If your hamster displays any of these signs, a prompt visit to the vet is crucial.

Which disease causes a hamster to have a hunched posture?


A hunched back in your hamster can indicate several underlying medical conditions. Here are some factors like:

1. Common Illnesses:

  • This is a common culprit, causing a hunched back due to the pain and discomfort associated with diarrhea.
  • A poor diet can lead to a hunched posture, emphasizing the importance of a balanced hamster diet.
  • Any disturbance in their digestive system can manifest as a hunched back.
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdominal region might cause your hamster to arch their back.
  • Breathing difficulties can result in a hunched stance as your hamster tries to alleviate discomfort.

2. Butterfly Vertebrae:

Butterfly vertebrae is a genetic condition that affects the spine, leading to a hunched back. The condition develops during the hamster’s time in the womb but may not become noticeable until maturity. Butterfly vertebrae can cause lower back pain and walking difficulties.

3. Tyzzer’s disease

It is a condition that can affect hamsters and other small rodents. This disease is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium piliforme. It primarily affects the digestive system and can lead to severe health issues in your hamsters.

Hamsters with Tyzzer’s disease can have various symptoms like diarrhea, lethargy, hunched posture, rough fur, and a lack of appetite. In severe cases, it can lead to sudden death.

To prevent Tyzzer’s disease, you need to maintain a clean living environment for your hamster. Regularly clean and disinfect the cage, provide fresh bedding, and practice good hygiene when handling your pet.

What to do if your hamster have hunched back?

If your hamster has a hunched back, you need to take action quickly. It can be a sign of various health issues.

The first and most important step is to schedule a visit to an experienced veterinarian. A vet will be able to conduct a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of the hunched back.

In the meantime, make sure your hamster’s living space is comfortable and stress-free. Ensure they have a clean cage with fresh bedding, access to food and drinking water, and a quiet, calm environment.

Keep a close eye on your hamster’s behavior and overall health. Note any changes in eating, drinking, activity levels, and any other unusual symptoms. This information can be valuable for the vet’s assessment.

If you need to handle your hamster, do so gently and with extra care. Avoid putting pressure on their back or any area that might be causing discomfort. Once you’ve consulted with a vet and received a diagnosis, follow their advice and treatment recommendations closely.


A hunched back can be a symptom of various health issues. So you need to find out the underlying cause. If your hamster get scared or stressed, then hunched back will be temporary.

But if they get injured or other illness, then only a qualified veterinarian can provide an accurate treatment plan for your hamster. Taking good care of your hamster’s health can help them to live a long and happy life.

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