In these cold winter months it’s not uncommon for hamsters to go into torpor, a forced and often deadly hibernation-like state, when they get too cold. Today we’re going to be discussing how warm your hamster should be, ways to keep your hamster warm, and touching on how to help your hamster if they do go into torpor.
The Best Temperature For Hamsters
A hamster’s environment should be kept between 21C to 22.2C (69F to 72F). This is the most comfortable temperature for the average hamster.
Keeping Your Hamster Warm
Substrate plays a big part in your hamster’s warmth. Paper based substrates are much warmer than wood shaving substrates. If your hamster is pretty cold, giving them a thick layer of paper based substrate is helpful.
Space heaters are also good for warming up your hamster’s habitat, however this is a less commonly used method since they suck electricity and pose the risk of your hamster getting too hot very quickly. If you choose to use a space heater make sure to use it for short periods of time and check the room temperature often.
Move your hamster away from windows. Windows are always eeking in the cold, and by moving your hamster’s cage away from windows they’ll be a bit warmer.
Use a warmer nesting material. The warmest, safest nesting material is paper towel. It’s thicker and warmer than hay and tissue, and switching to paper towel during the winter can definitely help keep your hamster warm.
Heating pads/hot water bottles can be placed beside your hamster’s cage to help warm your hamster. If you use a heat pad don’t keep it on 24/7. Heating pads and bottles should be used on one side of the cage so your hamster can move away from it if they’re too hot.
If your hamster gets too cold they can go into a hibernation-like state called torpor. This typically happens if your house is under 18C (65F). Torpor kills most hamsters, however, if caught early enough your hamster could be saved.
If you discover your hamster balled up and shivering/unresponsive you need to slowly warm them up and call an exotic veterinarian.
To warm them up, get a hot water bottle and blanket. Shield your hamster with your hands, lay them on the blanket-covered bottle, and breath onto your hamster. The combination of the bottle, your body heat, and your warm breath should start to warm them. Don’t heat them up too quickly!
If a hamster can be revived, they will slowly wake up and most likely be back to normal within a matter of hours. But some hamsters are not so lucky.
All the tips I give in this post are based off of my research on the Hamster Hideout Forum. I have no personal experience with the topics spoken about. Feel free to check out the original sources linked below!
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