If you didn't know that hamsters can hibernate you'd be right along with most hamster owners. If they get cold enough they shut down to conserve their bodily resources. This can happen for a few days to a week. A mother in Oxfordshire, U.K. has gone on Facebook to warn hamster owners around the world that their hamster that appears dead may actually still be alive.
Lisa Goodman was floored when her daughter's dead hamster, Fudge, came back to life again as they were morning the little rodent's death. Goodman was extra shocked when she realized how many hamster owners may have tragically and unknowingly buried their beloved pet alive. She wanted to get out there and prevent more needless hamster deaths. Her post quickly went viral as a shock wave followed.
Hamsters originally come from a warm climate and in colder climates they need to be kept warm. If they get cold enough they go into a hibernation-like state. When the temperature warms up around them they wake up.
There was some panic that followed Goodman's post as people began wondering if they had inadvertently buried their diminutive friends alive. Goodman explained that she didn't intend to freak people out, but wanted to forewarn them. "I don't claim to be an expert I'm just speaking as an animal lover from my own personal experiences."
"I can't even bare to think about all the hamsters that may have been buried six inches under in a shoe box that were still alive," said Goodman. "Some people may think it's just a hamster and it doesn't really matter but it's still a living creature."
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained that hamsters in the wild do hibernate but pet hamsters living in homes with controlled temperatures and artificial light are unlikely to hibernate. However, if the hamster is kept in a colder part of the home it could happen. They should be allowed to sleep through it. The hamster will wake periodically for food and water so a fresh supply of both should always be at the ready. Plenty of nesting material is also important. Make sure to check on a hibernating hamster often. To avoid this possibility altogether, keep your hamster in a nice warm spot away from drafts.
If you aren't sure about whether your hamster is hibernating or just unwell, check with your vet's office.
Images via Daily Mail