f001ab512444aa6989f5ba5f37d85824 Hamsters and hibernation - what you need to know

Hamsters and hibernation – what you need to know

In nature, hamsters hibernate. However, kept as pets, this case should not occur, because the condition can be dangerous.

Strictly speaking, it is not a “hibernation”, but a state of emergency. Therefore, it should always be a warning sign in your pet.

We’ll explain what to look for and when it occurs.

In this article you will learn why hibernation in hamsters is a dangerous condition and how you can avoid it. You will also learn everything you need to know about this emergency state and why it exists in nature.

What is hibernation in hamsters?

Hibernation sounds like animals are gathering strength and resting during this time. However, it is actually a state of emergency.

The body is forced to conserve energy. Therefore, metabolic processes are shut down and the body temperature drops.

This is a necessity when the outside temperature drops to less than 10 °C.

Normally, less food is then found, but at the same time more energy is used just to maintain the body temperature.

To prevent the animal from starving to death, the organism shuts down the processes.

In the case of hamsters that are already weakened, in the case of illnesses or particularly long and cold winters, this “sleep” can end fatally.

It also makes hamsters easier prey for predators, because they cannot escape in this state.

So even in nature, many hamsters do not survive going into hibernation. Not least for this reason, it is important that you prevent this condition in your pet.
When do hamsters hibernate?

The decisive factor is the temperature. At less than 10°C, hibernation begins. Body functions shut down, potentially putting your hamster’s life in danger.

How can hibernation be prevented?

It is best not to keep your hamster outside. This does not allow the body to adjust to the different seasons and therefore does not prepare for hibernation.

Also, make sure that the temperature does not drop too low.

Keep your hamster in a heated room with similar light conditions all year round.

Because these also play a decisive role. They affect the biorhythm of the animal.

Therefore, it makes a difference if there are only a few hours of darkness, as in summer, or if there is hardly any light in winter.

Select the location for the cage so that the daily routine is as uniform as possible. For many people, this is best given in the living room.

How do I recognize hibernation in a hamster?

If you prevent hibernation in a hamster by appropriate temperatures and an adapted food supply, he should show himself every day and take his food.

If this is not the case, these are clear warning signs.

In these cases, see your hamster and if concerned by a sudden change in behavior, see a veterinarian.

Because if your pet seems to go into hibernation despite normal room temperature, there is another problem behind it.

It may be a sign that he is sick or dying.

Is the hamster hibernating or dead?

If you have kept your hamster outdoors or the temperature in a room has dropped too much, the question may arise whether he is hibernating or dead.

At first glance, the conditions are hard to distinguish.

Decreased heart and respiratory rates make it difficult to determine signs of life.

Therefore, observe the hamster carefully and for a long time to see respiratory movements. However, you should not take the animal in your hand or feel it.

This could also cause stress in this condition. It is better to raise the temperature slowly. We will show you how to do this in the next section.

How can you wake up a hamster from hibernation?

You should gradually increase the room temperature. So try to recreate spring.

Heating the room a little more each day, creating a gradual increase, will slowly wake up the hamster.

The organism can get ready for more activity again by speeding up the heartbeat and breathing. The metabolism has to ramp up again to do this.

This is exhausting and can lead to rapid weight loss at first. Therefore, make sure that your hamster has enough food in the immediate vicinity of the sleeping house.

This is because the movements are also slowed down at first. After all, the animal was in a kind of coma.

The musculature has regressed and must first be rebuilt. So your hamster is very weak at first.
Does the hamster need more care after a hibernation?

You should first allow your animal to rest and offer larger amounts of food so that it can recover.

Also, watch to see if activity picks up significantly when the temperature rises and is consistently high.

If this is not the case, you must consult a veterinarian.

You should avoid in any case that your hamster falls into a “hibernation”. Keep in mind that this is also a state of emergency in nature, which is supposed to prevent death by starvation – but can also lead to death.

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