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Old 11-28-2021, 04:37 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 18
Default Hibernation?

Hello, I had a power cut last night (during snow) and woke up to clean out my hamster. After I couldn’t find her, I thought she had escaped so searched through the bedding. I eventually found her curled up and freezing at the bottom, seemingly asleep. She moved her head and seemed like she was trying to walk so I picked her up and her body seemed stiff and felt cold. I panicked a bit so quickly put her on a hot water bottle and wrapped her in tea towels.
After about half an hour she seems herself again and is no longer cold. I had a situation like this in the past but the hamster sadly died so I have been extra cautious.
She is now in her cage by the radiator and I have made sure she had plenty of food and water.
After some research it seems like she was trying to hibernate? So I was wondering if I did the right thing and also if there are any complications I could expect? Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:30 AM   #2
Ria P
House of Hamsters
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 7,103
Post Re: Hibernation?

I believe it is something called torpor, a temporary state of hibernation a hamster can go into when the temperature suddenly drops.

Not something i've ever come across because its not cold enough where i live but hopefully someone else will be able to advise you.

Sorry i can't be of much help and wishing your hamster well.
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Old 11-28-2021, 05:51 PM   #3
Hamster Pup
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 111
Default Re: Hibernation?

You 100% did the right thing by warming her up! It is called torpor as Ria said and it's not voluntary. If the temperature reaches below around 15c they will go into torpor.

The vast majority of hamsters in the pet trade no longer have the ability to successfully navigate out of this state on their own and need to be warmed up by external means. It's something that usually has to be caught pretty quickly, it seems the longer the hamster is in torpor the less likely they are to come back out.

I live in Canada and even though I'm in one of the southern-most areas our winters still regularly get to -30c and below. I'm in the Ontario Hamster Club group on facebook and every winter we post reminders how to deal with torpor if you happen upon it and how to make sure your hamsters enclosure is as warm as it should be. You did a great job working quickly. Usually we advise people to warm up their pet via body heat as hot water bottles can get pretty hot- but with the tea towels you did great work.

As for complications- she should be okay but it's a good idea to keep an eye on her for the rest of the night and perhaps for the next day or so. She may be a bit groggy. The important thing is to do your best to make sure her enclosure is insulated. Packing in extra bedding can help keep warmth in and its fairly common practice in my area to use more in cooler months. If the enclosure is against a wall you may want to consider placing a thick towel or blanket between the two, or wrapping one around the base. At night when it gets a little cooler I personally like to drape a towel over part of the top so that less heat escapes.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:06 AM   #4
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 18
Default Re: Hibernation?

Thank you so much, I will make sure to get some towels sorted tomorrow.
Bronwynthehamster is offline   Reply With Quote

cautious, cold, extra, hamster, water

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