How do you know if a hamster is hibernating? here are some sings to find out that.
If you think your hamster may be hibernating, there are a few signs that can help you decide. If the hamster has not been eating or drinking during the past week, it may be hibernating. Note that this doesn’t mean the hamster is definitely hibernating, but it’s a good idea to check for other signs below.
How do you know if a hamster is hibernating
Lethargy and sleep patterns
If your hamster is in hibernation, you will notice that your little buddy has become quite lethargic and sleepy. Instead of wandering around his cage or running on his wheel like normal, he will most likely prefer to sleep for longer periods of time instead of waking up to run around and play like he usually does.
Decrease in body temperature
If you notice that your hamster’s body temperature is low, this can be a sign of hibernation as well as one of the first signs to look for. Your hamster’s metabolism will slow down as part of the hibernation process and his body temperature will drop accordingly.
Decrease in activity levels and food intake
If your hamster is beginning to hibernate, you will notice that he is going into a state of decreased activity levels and decreasing food intake. This is completely normal as it signals to your hamster’s body that winter is on the way so it needs to prepare for the upcoming cold weather.
A reduced appetite
If you notice that your hamster has lost its appetite for food, this is another surefire sign of hibernation on the way. The body needs more nutrients to prepare itself for hibernation so it slows down your hamster’s metabolism in order to conserve energy and feed off fat reserves if necessary. A lack of appetite is part of the process.
Dry nose and mouth
As little water intake occurs during the colder months it is common for a hamster’s mouth and nose to become dry. If your hamster shows no interest in licking the water off of their paws or is inactive for long periods, chances are that they are getting ready to hibernate soon.
Winter coat growth
Hibernation mode means serious business, with most animals growing thicker coats to help them survive the colder months. Your pet will be losing some of its summer furs as it starts growing new winter hair, with its back looking fluffier than normal too.
Hamsters often have bulging results during the warmer times of year but may appear more contracted as they begin hibernation cycles this is because they require less energy when not moving around much so decrease the amount of blood flow to the eye region.
Sleeping in different areas of the cage
If you notice that your hamster seems to be getting ready for his big nap, you may find him sleeping in different areas of his cage than he normally does when he is awake and active. This can include nests or burrows that are usually hidden away.
Unique sleeping postures and patterns
If you notice your hamster’s unusual posture or resting position, this can be another sign of hibernation that may appear before the other signs do. You might also see him curled up in a ball like he is cold or sick when he is not. These are all signs that your hamster is beginning to prepare for hibernation as they will likely sleep this way before the process begins.
A lack of food pellets
If you notice that there’s a sudden lack of food pellets and additional treats like nuts or dried fruit, your hamster may be in the process of hibernation and is in fact preparing for winter. If you find that your hamster has recently buried away some food stores in his cage, this can also be a sign that he is getting ready for hibernation.
Whiskers and body growing
If you notice that your hamster has acquired a thick layer of winter fur and whiskers have grown to twice their size, this is a surefire sign that he is getting ready for hibernation. This can be a very subtle change in appearance, but if you know what your hamster normally looks like then it will definitely look quite different from normal.
Duller or paler eyesight
If you notice that your hamster’s eyes have grown dull and his pupils look quite tiny, this is another sign of hibernation that may come before the others do if they haven’t already appeared by this point. If your hamster’s eyesight has become blurry or faded, this is also another sign of hibernation but it may be harder to spot if your hamster’s normal eyesight is already poor.
Sleeping for longer periods throughout the day
This can be a hard sign to spot initially as it will come after all of the other signs appear. However, if your hamster is spending longer resting periods at a time instead of frequent naps throughout the day, this can be another sign that he is getting ready for hibernation.
Hibernation usually begins after all of these signs have presented themselves one by one in succession on their own. If you notice all of these signs, your hamster may be getting ready to hibernate. However, if you notice only some of them and not all of them it does not necessarily mean that hibernation isn’t happening as this behavior can vary from hamster to hamster.
Hamsters don’t hibernate all over the world, it’s mainly in colder climates such as Canada or Russia. So if you live somewhere like Australia where there is no proper winter then your hamster will not hibernate. This hamster can be seen moving, grooming himself, and standing on his back legs to be more alert. It’s a sign that the hamster might be waking up from hibernation, so if you think he is ready for food give him some nice fresh salad or fruit.