The winter months are cold for many of us in the United States, and sometimes that is also true for our pet hamsters. Although they are fluffy and cute, they also react to the cold weather—but at least they react to the cold better than we do. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned if you notice your hamster is cold.
Your hamster is cold when in a cold environment, somewhere below 65°F (18.33°C). Check the rooms in your home to ensure the cold breeze from outside doesn’t get inside your home through opened windows or doors nearby. Your hamster may hibernate if its environment continues to become cold.
Keep reading to learn more about why hamsters get cold at times and how they react to it. I will also discuss how you can help your hamster during their hibernation period.
We put on a sweater or cover ourselves with a blanket to warm up when we feel cold. Hamsters, on the other hand, have fur to keep themselves warm. That said, you may get worried if your hamster feels cold.
Hamsters can drop in temperature to regulate their overall body temperature when it is cold. It’s especially common during hibernation. This process does not impact their overall health or influence them negatively unless other symptoms are present.
When hamsters are in a cold environment, they will usually automatically enter hibernation mode. Typically, their body temperatures will match the temperature of their cage, and they will fall asleep for a few hours, even for a few days.
If the temperatures are warm or it is summertime in Florida, your hamster won’t jump into hibernation. There’s no reason for your hamster to shiver when it’s warm.
It’s normal for owners to check up on their hamsters while this happens. Sometimes, hamsters may have other health issues going on besides hibernation if they fall asleep in a cold environment. This is uncommon, but it can happen.
Nevertheless, there should be no need to worry if your hamster enters hibernation because it is normal for this animal.
Hamsters regulate their bodies with their environment’s temperature, just as other animals do. It’s entirely normal since hamsters are initially from the wild. Their environment plays an important role in their overall health, and the temperature matters.
You should not adjust the temperature of the room for your hamster unless your hamster has certain health issues. Hamsters regulate their body temperatures for hibernation regularly, and changing the temperature may interfere with that process.
Huge jumps in temperature changes can impact your hamster. If it is warm and the temperature suddenly drops, your hamster will react to that. The same applies the other way around.
If you find that your hamster is not hibernating and appears cold, you can move your hamster to a warmer area rather than adjusting the temperature. Before doing so, do look for the following signs:
- A window is open, and your hamster is cold in its cage.
- Your hamster’s body temperature is cold, and it’s not in hibernation.
- Your hamster is shivering.
If you have more than one hamster, compare them to see if either feels colder or more uncomfortable than the other.
No one likes to be cold, not even a hamster. If you notice that your hamster is cold and it’s not in hibernation, you may adjust your hamster’s overall environment.
Remove your hamster from its cage, clean it, and move it into a warmer area within the house. You can also close the windows. Consider giving your hamster warm liquid or milk to keep them warm so they don’t catch a cold.
The ideal temperature for your pet hamster is between 65 and 75°F (18.33 and 23.89°C). Wind and even sunlight should be avoided as well. If your hamster is cold, it’s likely because the temperatures have dropped far below what it’s used to.
Having huge and rapid changes in temperature is not the best idea for hamsters because it can impact their overall health. Natural changes, however, can be helpful.
As mentioned earlier, if the temperature is too cold, your hamster may enter hibernation. However, if the temperatures are extreme, do close the windows or move your hamster to a place within your house that’s a little bit warmer. What matters most is that your hamster is safe, secure, and comfortable.
Cold weather impacts everyone, and it isn’t always fun. Hamsters are especially sensitive, and being in cold weather for too long can affect their overall wellness in ways that are not positive.
It is always recommended to confirm that your hamster is comfortable. Owners can often check the temperature and look for signs in their hamsters to make sure they’re doing alright. You can place a thermometer in your hamster’s cage for monitoring if desired.
Unfortunately, cold weather can impact a hamster in a negative way beyond just shivering. Hamsters, as mentioned prior, are sensitive creatures and can catch a cold very easily. Additionally, the temperature can be hazardous if your pet hamster enters hibernation when it is too cold.
The following health hazards can occur from cold weather:
- Your hamster can catch a cold from exposure to cold weather for long periods.
- Your pet falls into hyperthermic shock during hibernation, which can be fatal.
- Your pet may not eat, drink, or sleep properly. They won’t receive the nutrition they need.
- Your hamster’s chest becomes tight, and it may have breathing issues.
These health concerns are also symptoms to look for, so it is best always to keep a watch on your pet. If your hamster’s environment doesn’t change, its symptoms can worsen, and its health may deteriorate quickly.
As you check up on your hamster during the winter season, check for the following signs:
- Your pet hoards its bedding into a certain place where it’ll sleep or stay. This can occur if you add extra supplies, too. It may look similar to nesting, but it will be noticeable.
- Your hamster is not eating properly and is avoiding drinking water.
- Your pet is sleeping more than normal and appears lethargic but is not in hibernation.
- Your hamster’s body is cold to the touch when you hold it while it’s in its cage.
- Your hamster is shivering and shaking in the cage.
Suppose you suspect your hamster is cold but are unaware of any specific signs; it’s best to watch over it and confirm that the temperature in the room is around 68°F (20°C) on average.
Hamsters are loved all over the world and many hope that their pet hamster lives for a long time. Whether you live in California or Utah, maintaining your hamster’s health is important, especially when it’s in hibernation mode during the cold winter months.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your hamster is hibernating in the cold weather. It is unsafe for hamsters to hibernate in the cold weather, and they also might not be in hibernation even though it looks as if they are.
Unfortunately, hamsters, as well as other types of animals, aren’t very skilled at hibernation. Hamsters naturally tend to fall into hibernation without proper preparation, and this is especially common when they’re suddenly feeling cold.
Hibernation is a way for hamsters to regulate their body temperature naturally. However, health concerns often come along with it, like dehydration. If it is cold out, your hamster’s health could deteriorate to the point that it can be fatal.
If you suspect that your hamster has entered hibernation in cold temperatures, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Sometimes, your hamster might look like it’s hibernating when it actually isn’t. If you would like to take certain steps before contacting your veterinarian, you can try the following:
- Check to make sure your hamster’s heart is beating and that it’s still alive.
- Feel your hamster’s overall body to see if it’s limp or stiff.
- Make sure your hamster is breathing, and double-check the temperature of its cage.
- Check if any windows or doors have been opened, and evaluate the environment.
- Record how long your hamster has been in its suspected hibernation. You’ll need to provide this information to your veterinarian.
You can take additional steps to help wake your hamster up from hibernation. However, you may need some assistance from your local veterinarian. It would be best if you could contact your vet for specific instructions to help you with the situation. Do the following:
- Gather warm water for your hamster.
- Approach your hamster while it’s in hibernation.
- Massage your hamster gently with warm water.
Only do the above steps when you know for sure that your hamster is in hibernation.
Most hamster owners appear to be most concerned with their hamster’s overall health during the wintertime. Cold weather acts like an unknown hazard, especially because hamsters don’t display the signs of being chilly right away.
Fortunately, hamsters will usually not have to tackle major health concerns like death during the cold months. However, they can easily catch a common cold. The common cold is easy to heal in hamsters, but it can also lead to dangerous health problems if not treated.
Here are some symptoms of the common cold in a hamster:
- Its nose is wet, or it appears to have sniffles.
- The hamster keeps sneezing.
- There’s a discharge in the hamster’s eyes upon waking up.
- The hamster’s fur looks untidy.
- It’s often sleeping and appears lethargic and tired.
- The hamster loses interest in eating.
- It’s always very thirsty and possibly dehydrated.
- The hamster’s body is warmer than usual.
Owners need to know that the cold can be dangerous for a hamster, especially if it’s in an environment that’s below 65°F. Catching a cold is very common among hamsters—it happens all the time, even when it isn’t chilly.
However, the common cold can lead to larger health concerns if not handled properly. It’s especially normal in older hamsters and those that have already had a few pregnancies.
If you sense that your hamster has a common cold, do the following:
- Remove your hamster from its cage and empty all of its belongings. Disinfect and clean everything, including its bed.
- Provide your hamster with fresh nesting material to make a new bed, clean water, and new food. It is best to give it more than normal so that it can feel comfortable.
- Place your hamster’s cage in a spot where the temperature is in the right range, and make sure the room has no draft. Having ventilation can help, too.
- Isolate your hamster until it feels better. Only do this if your hamster is in a cage with another hamster.
- Contact your veterinarian for proper treatment and/or antibiotics.
- Consider giving your hamster warm milk and honey to help it with its cold.
Just like people, hamsters will recover from the common cold. With the right treatment and at-home care, it is an easy fix.
As long as you watch over your pet and keep it away from an open window or door while providing it with needed supplies, it should recover in a few days or a week.
Hamsters are wonderful pets to have. They’re playful, and friendly, and make great companions. Unfortunately, hamsters have short lifespans, and it’s important for owners to ensure their furry friends have a healthy and happy life.
If your home is located in a place like Washington or Colorado, where cold weather is common, it is best to take proper precautions to ensure your hamster is comfortable and cozy.
If your hamster ever gets into hibernation, you must monitor its condition. Check your home and ensure no windows or doors are open. Consult your veterinarian if you worry about your hamster hibernating.
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- How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Sick?
- Why Is My Hamster Scared of Me?
- How To Bond With Your Hamster
- Why Is My Hamster Losing Weight?
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more