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Is hamster hibernating or dead?

Species: Other
Breed: Hamster
Age: 1-2 years
My hamster is limp cold and her eyes are slightly open and she is lying on her stomach. Is she dead or hibernating. We have put her in some bedding near a hot water bottele and are keeping her in our hands to keep her warm. Is she hibernating or dying?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Snuggie may be having problems.

Hamsters can hibernate if their living area is becoming too cold. They will be more likely to do so if they have been deprived of food.

Do you know what type of hamster you have? Some hamsters are better at hibernating than others. Syrian hamsters rarely hibernate, and dwarf hamsters almost never hibernate.

When a hamster is hibernating, you usually can still see them breathing, but it is very shallow. Usually if they are hibernating they will be limp, but if they are dead it does not take long for them to go stiff.

If you think that she is not dead, but possibly hibernating then you can move her to a warm room, put a space heater near her cage and a small blanket or towel over her. She should eventually start to twitch and slowly wake up. Make sure she has food and water available right away.

I hope she is ok!

Dr. Marie.



---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.