A hamster is a very sensitive creature, and temperatures can affect his as well as us humans. Let’s see if a hamster can get too cold, and if he can even get the sniffles too.
So do hamsters get cold ?
Yes, hamsters can and do get cold. This happens when the room you keep the hamster in falls far below 20 C/68 F, for a long period of time. Even a few hours is too much for the hamster.
This is because the ideal temperature to keep your hammy is between 20-23 C/68-75 F, with no drafts or direct sunlight.
If your hamster lives in a room that consistently falls below the those temperatures, he might just get cold. A hamster left in a cold room for too long can develop several health problems.
But let’s see some signs that our hamster is too cold.
How to tell if your hamster’s too cold
One way to tell if your hammy is cold is if he draws lots of his bedding towards his hideout. Hamsters will do this naturally, even if they have lots of nesting material in their hideout.
But a hamster that feels his habitat is too cold will pile up the bedding like it’s nobody’s business.
When this happens with my Teddy he scrapes and moves all of the bedding to the side where his hideout is. Regardless of how many squares of toilet paper, cardboard, or paper towels I give him.
Another sign is if you friend becomes lethargic, and even loses his appetite. He might be trying to conserve body heat and energy by sleeping much more, and so you might see him less often.
In extreme cases of cold, your hamster might actually shiver and shake ! If this happens take your hamster to a warm room immediately.
Dangers of keeping your hamster in a room that’s too cold
One of the main dangers is what people call hibernation. Hamster can hibernate, yes, but they only need to do so on the wild. Wild hamsters get many warnings from the weather that the cold season is coming, and have time to prepare and survive.
A pet hamster put in a very cold room has no time or warnings. He will have to act quick, and fall into a sort of slumber that not only can’t keep him alive for long, but will dehydrate him as well.
In extreme cases, that slumber is actually hypothermic shock, and can be fatal. You need to check this article on how to save your hamster from such a situation, and how to make sure it does not happen.
Another problem that can come up is that the hamster can in fact catch a cold. Like us humans, and most mammals, hamsters can catch colds. They will sneeze and have runny noses and feel like they need to sleep for much longer.
How to tell if your hammy has a cold
Does your buddy have a cold ? There’s a few ways you can tell. You should look for:
- Runny or wet nose. Hamster noses run, like ours do, but they do no have the luxury of tissues
- Possibly sticky eyes, or discharge from the eyes
- Matted, ruffled fur
- Low energy, loss of appetite
- Sleeping for much longer
- Thirstier than usual
- Hot to the touch when you pick him up
If a few or all of these are checked you can be pretty sure your hamster’s got a cold. You will need to get your little friend to a veterinarian, who will prescribe a treatment.
It could be a round of antibiotics, or something else. Depending on how severe the cold is, and what your vet thinks is best for the hamster.
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Treating and caring for a hammy with a cold
If your hamster friend’s got a cold, do not worry, Hamsters usually survive a cold, but they need help.
The treatment you will get from the vet will work. But do remember that colds go away on their own in about a week, whether treated or not. You can only alleviate the symptoms.
To help your hamster go through this cold easier, you can change his bedding once, and then leave him alone to build a new, warm nest.
Give the hammy a lot of nesting material. More than you think he needs. He will use all of it and build himself a big, tangly mess to keep himself warm and hide away in for a few days.
Keep the hamster’s room in the temp range mentioned above. That’s 20-23 C/68-75 F. Do no go over that range, since a room too warm will make the hamster too warm and make it difficult for him to breathe.
Make sure the room is well ventilated, but not drafty. In that respect, you can also make sure that his cage is not near a window or door, or on an external wall.
Finally, make sure to separate the sick hamster from his mates if you’ve got several hamsters. You might even have to take the sick hammy to another room.
If all goes well your friend should be fine in about a week, and able to return to normal.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies look so cute and fluffy, but we can get cold too. And if we catch a cold it’s not easy on our noses either. At least you have nose drops.
If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy.