Hamsters are rodents and many of the rodent family go hibernating when it comes to the winter season. Hibernation is a process through which the creatures take a long rest for some weeks or even months as they do not spend their energy on fighting adverse weather conditions.
When we adopt hamsters it becomes our duty to follow all the behaviors and habits of the creature. Most first-time hamster owners get confused when they see their pets sleeping through days in the advent of the cold season, thus we would hereby discuss the method and duration of hibernating of hamsters.
How can you tell that your hamster is hibernating?
As we have earlier mentioned, it gives panic attacks to the new hamster owners when they find their hamsters lying on the cage floor for long hours without eating or drinking. Then they should check if the creature is having short but irregular breath. Also if you try to lift it with your hand then it will fall limp.
You can feel cold when you will touch the nose or the ears and even the paws. The body temperature will decrease from the normal range. These happen when the creature has gone to hibernation. The hamster will not even drink or eat during these days. You can tell that it has gone to hibernation.
Can you wake up a hibernating hamster?
If you wish to get the hamster out of the hibernation phase, then try to hold it against your body for half an hour. The coldness of its body will be gone as it will get the warmth from your body. During hibernation, the body temperature of the creature drops to a certain extent and the regular life cycle does not take place.
When the creature comes out of the hibernation phase then it gets the normal temperature back. But when you try to break the cycle of hibernation you have to make the body of the hamster warm again so it comes back to its normal condition.
Do hibernating hamsters go stiff?
Yes, during the time of hibernation the hamsters become stiff. Their muscles retract and there is no sign of life in their body except for a few breathing sounds. So you can not feel that the creature is alive by touching it. Usually, hamsters are quite soft to touch and they look and feel like a fur-ball in regular times. But their soft body becomes stiff during the time of hibernation as they do not move or show any sign of life at this time.
Do hibernating hamsters smell?
No, when the hamster is alive and hibernating, its body will not smell odd. If you find that the creature is not moving for a long time and also an odd smell is coming out of its cage or when you go near it then it is not right. It may be that the creature has passed away a day or two and it is showing the sign of rigor mortis.
When do the hamsters go into hibernation?
Hibernation is common for hamsters when the season is becoming cold. This is a survival trick for these creatures as they are unable to protect themselves in the cold winter season. Their body temperature will decrease after a certain point and thus, hibernation will allow them to survive through the winter only.
How can you tell that the hamster is going to hibernate?
Hamsters understand the change of season from the rising or decreasing temperature and they start their preparation for the hibernation period in advance. There are some understandable signs that will help you to understand that your cutie fur ball will be going to hibernate within a few days. For first-time owners, these will not be common, so here we are giving some directions.
Too much eating is one of the habits that grow among hamsters when they are about to go into hibernation. This sign is obvious among all the hamsters when they are going to hibernate. This is the process of getting the extra energy stored in form of fat inside the body of the hamsters as that makes them survive through the hibernating days.
When you find that the hamster is eating all its portions and is craving for more, or eating the food whenever you are giving it, then it can be that the winter month is ahead and it is preparing itself for that. The stored energy from the extra food will help it to stay alive at the time of hibernation.
The hamster also often shivers due to the low temperature. This is a tell-tale sign as this indicates both to you and the hamster that the weather is getting colder. The decreasing temperature makes them shiver and it makes them uncomfortable too. At this time you should be cautious of keeping their cage enough warm so they do not fall sick.
Lethargy or getting sloth is another symptom that is seen among the hamsters when they get ready to hibernate. Their energy level decreases and they move or run lesser than usual times. This is quite perceptible as hamsters are quite an active creatures. They do not stay calm for a long time and always act curious about things around them. But as winter approaches, their energy level decreases. They start getting slower in their movement, which finally leads to hibernation.
But there are times when the hamster is not actually ready for hibernation and yet it is showing lethargic movement. This may be due to some sickness or malnutrition of the creature. When you will find the hamster getting lethargic and you know that it is not winter that is coming forth, then take the creature to a vet. This one is suffering from some serious health issue and not going to hibernate.
At which temperature do the hamsters go to hibernation?
Hamsters have the tenacity to tolerate temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius. If the mercury dips below that and stays in such a condition for a few days or weeks, then the creature at your home will surely be ready for hibernation. They need a warm home to stay healthy and energetic. But the outside temperature is sure to affect them and thus, they will gradually get ready for hibernation.
If you find that your hamster is already hibernating when it is around 20 degrees for some days then you can increase the room temperature to some extent to see any change in it. If the creature wakes up after getting heat from room temperature then it was surely hibernating. But if the situation does not become normal even after a few hours, a vet’s suggestion must be taken.
Does the hamster breathe during hibernation?
This is a tricky part for the hamster owners. It is a bit difficult to understand if the little creature is breathing during the time of hibernation or not. The breathing process is not much perceptible during this phase. Some owners in fact get confused and worried that their pets are getting dead or sick at this stage.
But hamsters do breathe at the hibernation period. Their breathing becomes irregular and slow but it can be felt if checked with time. Looking closely at the creature and placing a finer loosely on the chest of the hamster will make you understand that the hamster is actually alive.
Is it necessary to keep the hamster in check while hibernating?
Keeping a check on the hamster is necessary, even when it is hibernating. People may think that there is no reason why should we check the hamster once or twice a day when it is sleeping peacefully. But the issue is, sometimes the heartbeat of the creature lessens. This is a serious issue and you may never know when there will be a medical emergency during hibernation.
You need to check if the heartbeat is going on. If the heartbeat does not continue then you need to try to get the hamster out of its hibernation. Placing your finger at the chest of the hamster you must check that it is continuing to have a heartbeat. If the motion is not felt, then put light pressure on that spot with the forefinger and thumb. But do not put too much pressure.
If it is not moving then you can increase the temperature of the cage or hold the creature in a quilt so it gets rejuvenated within an hour.
Why the body of the hamster becomes stiff during hibernation?
The body as well as the limbs of the hibernating hamster gets stiff during this period. This is quite unusual for the owners who do not have the experience of hibernation. This stiffening of the limb is common as the creature does not move for a long time and also it does not have the sensation in its muscles. But after certain period when the hamster gets heated, the regular soft feeling comes back to its body and limbs.
In lower temperature, the hamsters usually do not move much and their body actions get slower. Thus hibernation is the ultimate process of not moving their muscles due to coldness.