Your Pet Might not Be Dead

By Anupum Pant

Ok, so you have a hamster as a pet, a Syrian Hamster maybe. One fine winter morning you wake up and find your pet frozen to death. Is it really dead? That shouldn’t have happened, it wasn’t even a month old, right? Right.

If you stumble upon a hamster, especially a Syrian hamster that looks like it has died, it probably hasn’t. Before starting its funeral process, please check well.

Hamsters have a nice furry coat but they feel the cold too. And come on people, Syrian ones are from a warm part of the world. They haven’t already evolved to adjust to the seasonal changes in your part of the world. When it’s too cold, it can be dangerous for them and their bodies can react in a very odd manner.

When it gets cold hamsters, like many other animals are hard-wired to go into a power saving mode where their metabolism slows down. This is called hibernation. Most of you already know what hibernation is, but it’s important to connect the extremely slow heart beat and breathing rate and dead-body-like features of your pet to this phenomenon. Or you’d be all sad on that unfortunate winter morning when you find your pet is “dead”.

Even lack of food can trigger hibernation. And hamsters can move into this state in a matter of few hours. What you could do if you have a hamster is to keep it in a heated room during winters, or invest in cage heating, or use a heating pad at least. If it still falls into hibernation, just warm it up a bit. Get it rehydrated and wait for it to wake up.

Remember, it will not be in full working mode the instant it wakes up. It will slowly start moving and then limp around for a while. That’s normal. Hamsterific says…

As his body temperature rises closer to normal, the muscle tissue begins to twitch or spasm awake. It may take as much as an hour to get to this point, but as long as some progress is being made, and you continue with the constant warming, rubbing, and feeding, he should continue to improve. It may take three hours or more before he is able to walk around again, but rest assured, he will be himself again very soon, as if nothing had happened.

For the next few days, just make sure it gets a lot of water and food. And keep checking it every hour or so…


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