Can I Use a Heat Lamp for My Hamster?

You’ve brought a beloved fluffy little hamster home, and now you want to ensure it has everything it needs. While proper bedding and all is essential, you may wonder if a heat lamp is also needed.

The answer to the question of using a heat lamp for a hamster is – yes. You can use a heat lamp as long as you take a few precautions, placing the heat lamp under either the left or right side of the cage and raising the coop about 2 inches to attach the heat lamp.

How Do Heat Lamps Work?

Particular incandescent bulb varieties are used in heat lamps. They are sometimes referred to as IR bulbs or infrared heaters since they are made to produce as much heat as possible by infrared radiation.

They are helpful in various temperature-critical applications due to their rapid, inexpensive, and effective warming capabilities.

Knowing how heat lamps operate is equivalent to understanding how a standard light bulb works. Under a current, it heats and glows, giving off both light and heat.

Read more: Is Hot Glue Safe For Hamsters

Using a Heat Lamp for a Hamster Cage

Good quality heat lamps for hamster cages are designed keeping safety in mind, but that does not mean you should not do your research into the best types of heat lamps for your hamster.

Heat Lamp Types

The warmth of the lamp, which mimics that of the sun, aids in regulating body temperature or metabolism. Online retailers provide three different types of IR lamps. The wavelength of each determines whether it is a short, medium, or long wave. Each kind has advantages and disadvantages depending on the function.

In comparison to medium wave and long wave IR, short wave IR has a higher level of intensity and is better at covering longer distances. Shortwave IR is more efficient than air at heating surfaces and objects because it directly excites molecules.

Most of the energy that short-wave IR needs is used to project itself over a small, but intense heating zone called its throw.

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Long wave and medium wave IR provide cooler, dimmer light (usually as a red glow). They have a narrower range and are less transmissible, but the heat is better absorbed. They are better at gradually raising the temperature to a pleasant level over an extended length of time.

Longer wavelengths use more of their energy to gradually warm a smaller area over time. It is generally beneficial to select the appropriate IR heater type for the particular application you have in mind.

Read vs Gold vs Clear Heat Lamps

In general, precise models will provide the amount of light their IR wavelength requires without attempting to dim or amplify it. What distinguishes red heat bulbs from clear ones? Not much in terms of fundamental functionality. However, if you do not require an adjusted red or gold version, a clear bulb could be the somewhat less expensive choice.

In order to provide the opposite lighting effect of red heat lamps, highly reflecting gold or yellow-colored filters are used in gold heat lamps. This might make them more comparable to conventional halogen or incandescent lights used in residential and commercial settings.

As they warm up, so-called ruby heat lamps are made to provide less intense light. As a result, they produce warmer heat with a dull glow.

Corded or Cordless

For animal cages, both corded and cordless heating lamps are used. Although wired heat lamps are more popular and easier to install, cordless heat lamps are safer. You must make sure that these wires are kept out of the hamster’s reach for them to be safe.

The lamp should ideally be placed under the cage, far from your furry friend, to avoid any cables. Cover and protect all of the cables. This shields them from the elements outdoors and stops your hamster from chewing them.

Use Anti-Chew Cords

Occasionally, despite your best efforts to keep the cords away from your hamster, you may notice that they have moved or come free from their original positions. This can entice your furry little friend to chew and play with the cord.

The anti-chew line that certain manufacturers of corded heating lamps eliminate any electrical risks that may arise from chewing. Even with these chew-resistant cables, you should keep them covered, especially if your hamster is a voracious chewer.

It would help if you inspected the heat-emitting bulb and its housing when selecting a heat lamp. Most heating lamps often include both of these. 

Keeping Your Hamster Warm

Hamsters are accustomed to being warm and cozy because they are native to arid, dry, temperate regions like Syria and Greece. Your hamster could get sluggish if the temperature goes below 60 degrees Fahrenheit around them.

Additionally, if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster may lose consciousness and enter a state of hibernation.

Moving the cage to draft-free locations, adding extra bedding, and ensuring your hamster is fed correctly are the best ways to keep them warm over the winter. These are the best strategies for ensuring your hamster keeps warm during chilly weather.

During the winter, ensure your hamster is kept indoors and not on a porch or garage. 

Hamsters can easily catch a cold because they lack effective internal insulation against cold winter winds. However, hypothermia and the common cold are frequently avoided by keeping the cage at the proper temperature.

The ideal temperature range for hamsters is 65–75°F. To keep your small friends from feeling too chilly, temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit should be avoided.

If it’s too cold, hamsters may experience shock or go into hibernation. Check for shallow breathing and twitching if you think your hamster could be hibernating, and transport them to a warmer location right away while petting them until they start to stir.

You need to see your veterinarian right soon if you can’t get them to wake up. Several hamster species, including Syrians, are prone to hibernating. They are referred to as permissive hibernators, which indicates that they may elect to hibernate if they are exposed to cold weather or a variable food supply. 

Make the Hamster’s Home Comfortable

Like humans, your hamster’s immune system is weakened if it becomes too cold. This increases their susceptibility to bacterial or viral illnesses, and if you have a young or old hamster, you may increase its chance of developing hypothermia.

A hamster appearing sluggish in the winter is expected because they opt to stay in bed longer to conserve their energy and stay warm, which should not worry you because hamsters only awaken in the wild sometimes to feed and drink.

However, if your hamster experiences excessive hypothermia or goes into hibernation, this might be a potentially fatal situation, so you should seek veterinarian help right once.

There are various ways to make your little friend’s home comfortable all through the year – even during those cold winter months. The following are some ideas to create a comfy, warm environment for your pet hamster.

More Bedding

When the weather turns cold, adding more bedding impacts how comfortable hamsters are. To provide them with enough depth to avoid the cold weather, we advise piling them up to a height of at least 15 inches.

When temperatures drop too low, paper-based bedding yields a better outcome. It is advised to avoid wood shavings and sawdust since they might have the opposite impact. Added blankets are great for two significant reasons: keeping hamsters warm during cold weather.

First, encircling their cages with it might reduce the quantity of chilly air that enters and exits, perhaps ensuring warmth no matter how hard the temperatures drop.

Additionally, blankets may create gloomy cage conditions during the day, which may improve your hamster’s ability to sleep. To avoid excessive heat accumulation, you can wrap the blanket around the cage but leave out some ventilation.


Your hamster expends a lot of energy trying to stay warm. After all, if your pet begins to shiver because it feels chilly, its body will need to break down some of its fat reserves. Thus, giving your hamster more significant food quantities is another way to keep it warm, albeit more indirectly.

Also, larger does not necessarily imply bigger. You’ll need to give your hamster more food than usual. Along with filling them up, it will encourage their cells to create more energy to stay warm.

What About Space Heaters?

During those frigid temperatures, space heaters can offer warmth. These heaters raise the room’s temperature, making the tiny man’s cage more comfortable. Although there are many different types and brands of space heaters, we advise getting one with integrated temperature control.

They can stop the room from being uncomfortable and hot, which would cause the hamsters to become dehydrated and unhappy. Avoid placing their cages immediately beneath a space heater, as this might result in excessive heat buildup.

To ensure your hamster is comfortable, keep an eye on these warmers by checking in on them every few hours. To avoid overheating, raise the cage a few inches above the heater.

Like humans, your hamster’s immune system is weakened if it becomes too cold. This increases their susceptibility to bacterial or viral illnesses, and if you have a young or old hamster, you may be increasing its chance of developing hypothermia.


Your hamster gaining increased sluggishness in the winter is typical because they opt to stay in bed longer to conserve their energy and stay warm. It shouldn’t worry you because hamsters sometimes awaken in the wild to feed and drink.

However, if your hamster experiences excessive hypothermia or goes into hibernation, this might be a potentially fatal situation, so you should seek veterinarian help right once.

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