Hibernation is a state of inactivity and reduced metabolic rate in animals, that typically happens during winter time when it’s cold. A lot of animals go through hibernation but you may be surprised to know that hamsters go through the same process.
The Hamster hibernation process is unique and different from that of bigger animals like bears. Hamsters are one of the few species that hibernate during the cold winter months. When they hibernate, their heart rate slows down to about 5-8 beats per minute and their body temperature drops to just above freezing.
For hamster pet owners, hibernation might seem like a scary process at first. Many reports that their hamster friends seem almost lifeless. It can be easy to assume that your hamster is no longer alive. Especially with how cold hamsters can get during hibernation.
But rest assured, this process is completely normal and your hamster will be fine.
We’re going to look into the entire hibernation process of your hamster so that you’re prepared when it’s time for them to take their winter nap.
How long do hamsters hibernate for and the different seasons they awake in?
In the winter, hamsters hibernate for about 2-3 days. This however could end up being longer for various reasons such as a lack of food. Note that the longer your hamster friend hibernates the more dangerous it can become for them.
Is hibernation bad for hamsters?
Although it’s not dangerous for hamsters, hibernation can cause some problems. For example, hamsters have been known to wake up starving because they were unable to find enough food. You should also be careful with water as the hamster may need more than normal during hibernation.
That doesn’t mean hibernation is dangerous for them, however. While most hamsters will hibernate for 2-3 days the hibernation period is different for each species of hamster. They usually emerge from their dens in late February or early March like most other animals who hibernate.
Hamsters are rodents that can hibernate during the winter. They will sleep for long hours and then wake up to eat and drink. Hamsters hibernate in winter, but not all of them do so at the same time. Some hamsters will hibernate in September, while others will hibernate in November or December.
What conditions will make a hamster hibernate?
Hibernating, or torpor is a state of inactivity or reduced activity typically associated with the winter season. It is a strategy employed by many mammals and birds to conserve energy during the winter months. In short, cold weather will make your hamster hibernate.
Should you wake up a hibernating hamster?
Hibernation is a natural state for many animals, including hamsters. It can be very tempting to wake up a hibernating hamster but it’s not recommended.
Hamsters hibernate in the winter when there’s less food available, as well as during other periods of low activity. Hibernation is an energy-saving mechanism that allows them to live off their fat reserves and survive on less food while they’re asleep.
We know that a hibernating hamster will have its heart rate slowed down, its body temperature lowered, and its breathing will be reduced to the point where it’s almost nonexistent. They’ll also need to preserve energy by not urinating or defecating during this time. This means that if you disturb a hibernating hamster it can mess up this entire process.
There are however unique situations where it may be beneficial to wake your little furry friend during hibernation.
- If the hamster has been out of its cage for more than 12 hours and it is not used to being outside its cage then you should wake it up as soon as possible
- If the hamster has been in its cage for more than 12 hours and it is not used to being inside its cage then you should wake it up as soon as possible
These reasons are overall for the safety and well-being of your hamster, any other reason may do more harm than good.
How do you wake up a hibernating hamster?
In the event that you need to wake up your hibernating hamster, the best way is by using body heat, usually from your hands, to warm them back up again. You can alternatively pull them close to your chest which will help warm them up and allow them to wake up.
What does a hamster look like when hibernating?
As mentioned early, the hamster hibernation process is often mistaken for death. It can be hard to tell in this situation because your hamster is doing everything it can to reserve energy which may make them seem almost lifeless.
For your hamster friends, hibernation starts when the temperature drops below a certain point, and they stop eating and drinking. Their heart rate also slows down to between 5-8 beats per minute.
They also have more energy stored in fat cells than usual, so they will be able to survive on limited food and water.
How to know if a hamster is hibernating?
Hamsters have a few ways of making it known if they are hibernating. They can wake up throughout the day, and if they sleep more than 18 hours in a 24-hour period, then it is likely that they are hibernating. Another way to tell is that their body temperature will decrease to just above freezing. Note that hamsters like other hibernating creatures tend to only hibernate during the cold winter months.
Do hamsters get stiff when they hibernate?
Hamsters go cold and slow their breathing when they hibernate. When they are this way, it is hard to tell if they have died or not. This is problematic because a person may think that the animal has died and dispose of them. Hamsters however will not go stiff when they are hibernating, this may sadly be a sign of death.
Do hamsters breathe when they hibernate?
Hamster breathing slows when they hibernate. This is because the animal has a continuous supply of oxygen and glucose. When breathing slows, the hamster will store oxygen in its blood to use during the winter months. It can be hard to tell if they are breathing however because breathing will slow.
Do hamsters hibernate with their eyes open?
It is common for people to believe that hamsters hibernate with their eyes open, but this is not true. Hamsters have closed eyelids that keep their eyes moist and free of infection during hibernation. During the winter, hamsters often curl up into a ball to conserve heat and energy.
What do hamsters do when they hibernate?
Simply, when a hamster is hibernating it is sleeping. Like most other animals, hamsters do this because in the winter months there is little food.
A hamster will hibernate when the temperature drops below a certain point. They will gather together with other hamsters to keep warm and will only wake up when there is enough food for them to eat.
Hibernation is a natural process for hamsters. During this process, the animal’s heart rate slows down and their body temperature drops to conserve energy. They spend this time in a state of dormancy when their metabolism slows down and they don’t need to eat or drink much because their body is able to survive without food for long periods of time.
In short, when your hamster is hibernating, it will look like they are taking a cozy nap.
What are the Hibernating Benefits of Hamsters?
Hibernation for any animal is a natural way for them to stay alive in winter. It is a period of sleep in which the animal’s metabolism slows down and body temperature drops significantly.
It is natural for hamsters to hibernate. They are able to withstand the cold temperatures of winter and can even survive without food or water for some time due to reserves. The benefits are that hamsters can survive the winter months when food is low. Hibernation is a survival mechanism used by animals that are preyed upon in the winter months to conserve energy while food is scarce.
Like humans, smaller animals will do certain things to survive. Hibernation is just a process animals naturally use.
How to help your hamster hibernate?
When it comes to hibernating, hamsters are no different than other mammals. They need a safe and cozy place to sleep through the winter months. A small tub or barrel works well for most hamsters. The barrel should be lined with a towel or soft blanket and filled with hay, but not so much that the hamster can’t move around.
To help your pet hibernate, you will need to create a space that is perfect for them. It should be cool and dark, with plenty of fresh water and food. You’ll need to make sure that the space is not too big or too small for your pet. Hamsters also like to have a lot of bedding material in their spaces as well as nesting materials such as leaves, straw, and as mentioned hay.
Ultimately just make sure your hamster is comfy and has access to food and water.