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Gerbils & Hamsters/stumbling ang rocking back and forth


Hi my name is zack i have a syrian hamster witch is 1 year old aand right now it is stubling and his eyes are closed partially but he is eating fine help

Hi Zack

Thanks for your question.

It is hard to know for sure what is happening to your hamster.

firstly, his eyes - these need to be opened daily otherwise he will develop an infection.  Therefore if he can't open them, you need to help him and you can do this by gently wiping his eyelids with a damp cloth and this should clear away any crustiness.

Hamsters produce a fluid that lubricates the eye and sometimes they can develop sticky eyes.  However, if they are unwell they can produce more fluid than usual.

The rocking back and forth - i'm  not sure if this is anything to worry about.  A number of my hamsters often look as though they are in a trance, and gently rock, and this is normal for them.  However, if the rocking is very obvious then he could well be ill.  The fact that you say that he is stumbling makes me feel that something has happened - perhaps a fit of some sort, or a fall that has caused some neurological reaction.

It is good that he is still eating - as whatever is making  him behave this way - it obviously isn't making him feel too ill.

If this situation continues, or gets worse then I would definitely advise that you get him checked out - phone a few vets to see if they have anyone there who specialises in hamsters, also check what their fees are as they can vary a lot - a number of vets will offer a reduced fee for a hamster, but it is worth establishing this before you go.

Hopefully whatever is causing this rocking will sort itself out but if you are concerned at all please get someone to have a look at him just in case there is an obvious physical reason why he is doing this.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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