Hamster Hibernation

Perhaps you have a hamster as a pet and have never asked yourself this question. The answer is yes, hamsters hibernate. The point is that not everyone sees the need to do it, hence you may not have seen it in yours. 

Why do hamsters hibernate?

Hibernating is an ability that some animals have to enter a state of torpor during the colder months.

During the hibernation time, the animals keep their strength sleeping , lowering their body temperature and respiratory rate.

In the case of hamsters, all of them have the ability to hibernate , but not all have the need to do so.

We explain ourselves. There are certain factors that lead to hibernation of the hamster in the wild. These are:

  • Room temperature.
  • Lack of food.
  • The drought of the land.

They can be given all or each one independently, but hamsters hibernate for these reasons.

In the case of hamsters that we keep as pets, the main reason is the drop in temperatures.

The dangers of a domestic hamster hibernating

As you can imagine, it is the hamsters that live freely in the wild that are often forced to hibernate.

House hamsters should live in a stable medium temperature environment . It is one of the basic care for this pet!

This temperature must be higher than 15ºC , since below that is when the animal could go into hibernation.

Therefore, hamster owners, by keeping the animal above this temperature, we avoid this trance almost without knowing it , thus also avoiding risks to the animal.

For one thing, home-raised hamsters that have never had this habit and suddenly face a considerable drop in temperature, may not hibernate properly and die of hypothermia.

In addition, the hibernation process can take too long until the temperature rises, which can be dangerous if they are not used to it.

To all this is added a major problem. There are many hamster owners who are unaware of this ability of the animal.

This causes them to mistake hibernation for death and get rid of the animal. As we have said, their body temperature drops and they can go days without eating or drinking, which can lead to this confusion.

Avoid hibernating your Hamster

Hamsters out of necessity hibernate in the wild, to survive the cold winter. However, at home you can avoid it.

  • Make sure that the temperature of the room where your hamster is is constant , without sudden changes in temperature.
  • Add in the cage a shelter where the animal can rest warm, in addition to something like cotton or a small cloth, sock or glove that the hamster can use to snuggle up.
  • Offer the amount of food and water necessary to your pet every day.

If before carrying out all this, your pet has already begun to hibernate, it is better to wake him up.

For it:

  • Caress his body, rubbing it gently with your fingers to warm the little one. Your nerve endings will start to fire.
  • Little by little you will see how his body warms up and his breathing becomes faster.
  • The process until they wake up can take several hours . First the animal will wake up and its body will increase in temperature. Then it may take up to two more hours for you to walk.
  • You can help your pet regain strength by offering him some sugar water  through a syringe.
  • During that time, you should prevent her body temperature from dropping again. When it starts to move, you have to let it walk , so keeping it warm in your hands is not an option. Put the cage in a warm room or where there is a radiator nearby . But be careful with putting it very close to or on top of a high heat source! It could be fatal.

Once awake, make sure the temperature is still correct and that the hamster has access to shelter, shelter, food, and water.

Caring for Hamsters while they Hibernate

If you have decided to allow your hamster to hibernate, you need to continue caring for your pet during that time.

Your hamster will wake up every 5-6 days to eat and drink. That is why your pet’s feeder must be replaced every day, as well as the water.

You should also control that he does not get cold while hibernating so that he does not die of hypothermia.

It may happen that you doubt if your hamster is hibernating or if it has died . There are several issues that you should take into account:

  • The hamster’s body will be cold and stiff, but not as cold as a corpse.
  • Looking closely, you will see that he breathes slowly.
  • The hibernating hamster eats every 5 or 6 days, therefore, if he wakes up at night you can check from time to time that there is no food on his plate.
  • If you touch his whiskers, he will normally react to the rub , although it may not be immediate.
  • You can try to wake him up as we have mentioned above.
  • If you still have doubts, before burying your pet, take it to a veterinary center to have its vital signs checked.

Now you know that hamsters hibernate and that you must, on the one hand, avoid it and, on the other hand, differentiate it from death.

Do hamsters hibernate with eyes open

Hamsters do not hibernate with eyes open. Hamsters hibernate with eyes closed.

Do hamsters hibernate in the winter?

Some Hamsters hibernate in the winter.

Do hamsters hibernate in summer?

No, Hamsters do no hibernate in summer.

Hamsters hibernate at what temperatures?

Hamsters hibernate in cold temperature.

Can hibernation kill a hamster?

Hibernation slows down the metabolism on the hamster. Hibernation can sometimes kill the hamster.

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