Small Mammal Circling

Circling is a common behavior observed in small mammals such as hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs. It’s often associated with anxiety, compulsive behavior disorders or neurological diseases. It’s important to recognize the signs of circling behavior in small mammals and take steps to address and prevent it. 

Circling can be caused by many different things, including stress, fear, boredom, and medical issues. If the circling behavior is severe or persists for a long time, it’s important to take your pet to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Your veterinarian may recommend dietary changes, medications, or other treatments depending on the underlying cause of the circling behavior.

Symptoms of Small Mammal Circling

It’s important to recognize the symptoms associated with circling in order to identify and address the underlying cause. Common signs of circling behavior include:

  • Rapid or aimless running in circles
  • Repetitively moving around furniture or walls instead of exploring new areas
  • Becoming stuck or unable to move forward for an extended period of time
  • Making noises or chirping while circling
  • Unusual head movements or jerking motions while running
  • Excessive grooming or licking of their fur while running in circles

Diagnosing Small Mammal Circling

Diagnosing circling can be difficult, because the underlying cause might not be immediately apparent. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and could recommend additional tests such as blood work or X-rays to rule out medical conditions that could be causing the behavior. If no medical cause is found, your veterinarian could recommend further behavioral observation or a referral to an animal behaviorist for further evaluation.

Stages of Small Mammal Circling

It’s important to recognize the stages of circling so that you can intervene if necessary.

Stage 1

The first stage is associated with aimless running in circles, which can be accompanied by squeaking or chirping noises.

Stage 2

In the second stage, your pet will become stuck or unable to move forward for an extended period of time.

Stage 3

The third stage is associated with excessive grooming or licking their fur while running in circles.

Stage 4

The fourth stage is associated with increasing head movements or jerking motions while running in circles.

Treating Small Mammal Circling

The most important aspect of treating circling is to identify and address the underlying cause. If the circling behavior is stress or fear-related, it may be necessary to modify your pet’s environment to reduce stressors. This can include giving them more hiding places, adding enrichment activities such as toys or puzzles, and increasing interaction and playtime with your pet.

If a medical condition is identified as the underlying cause, your veterinarian will recommend appropriate treatments or medications. It’s also important to consider a change in their diet. Certain foods could trigger their circling behavior. Talk to your veterinarian about dietary recommendations for your pet.

It’s also important to give your pet lots of love and attention if they have started circling. Consistency and patience are key when dealing with circling, and it may take some time for their behavior to improve. With patience and dedication, you can help your pet live a happier and healthier life.

Preventing Small Mammal Circling

The best way to prevent small mammal circling is to give your pet a safe and enriching environment with things to stimulate their mind. It’s important to make sure that your pet has access to plenty of exercise, entertainment, and socialization. Giving them toys and puzzles can help keep your pet occupied and reduce their stress. It’s important to feed them a balanced diet with the correct ratio of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins.