How to Keep Hamsters Warm
Your pet hamster lives an active life in his habitat. From wheels to tunnels, your little buddy has lots of things to keep him busy. But how does he stay cozy? Have you ever thought about your hamster's warmth? Keeping your hamster at a comfortable temperature is as important as his food and water. Here's what you can do to make sure he's comfy and happy.
Your Hamster's History
Your pet hamster's ancestors were wild and tended to live in arid regions. Even today, wild hamsters dig a series of tunnels to live in. The air in these tunnels stays a comfortable 60°F, even when the desert above ground is cold. The hamsters also collect and fill their tunnels with insulating materials to help regulate ambient temperature.
Keeping Your Hamster Warm
Because your hamster is a descendant of these wild hamsters, your pet will probably be most comfortable in an ambient air temperature of about 65°F to 75°F.1 If temperatures drop much below that, it can put your hamster at risk of various health problems. Domesticated Syrian hamsters might attempt to hibernate if exposed to low temperatures, which isn't ideal for a pet hamster. Unlike wild hamsters, your pet depends entirely on you to provide what she needs to stay warm. So when cold weather moves into your region, it's well worth the effort to make sure your hamster stays protected from the chill. Here are a few ways you can do it.
Try a space heater.
If you usually keep your house below 65°F—perhaps during the day when no one's home or at night for sleeping—consider placing a space heater in the room where you keep your hamster's habitat.2 This may help maintain your hamster's environment within the preferred temperature range while still costing less than heating the whole house. If you do use a space heater, don't place the heater too close to the hamster's habitat and don't leave it on when you're not in the room. Also, be sure to use a space heater that is safety tested and certified and look for features like an automatic shut-off, tip-over protection, a shut-off timer, and an adjustable thermostat.
Provide a heated pad.
Use a Small Animal Heated Pad designed especially for small pets. Not only is this a great way to help keep your hamster warm, but it's energy-efficient since it only runs when the animal actually uses it. Be sure it doesn't take up the entire footprint of the habitat; you want your hamster to be able to leave the pad and cool off when needed. For added comfort, use a Deluxe Heated Pad Cover with it.
Try a smaller room.
Although your hamster must have good ventilation, remember it's easier to heat a small room than a large one. You might consider keeping your hamster habitat in a smaller room during cold weather, provided it still has adequate ventilation. Also, make sure the habitat isn't near direct drafts like a return vent.
Supply fluffy bedding.
Who doesn't love warm blankets on a cold day? Even though your pet hamster doesn't have a quilt to bundle up in, he can get much of the same delight from high-quality bedding, which can help keep him warm if it's deep enough.3
Offer nesting material.
Your pet's habitat probably includes a small hutch or hideout area, and she can use this to stay warm too, as your pet will retain her body heat more effectively in a small area. You can help your hamster even more (and satisfy her hoarding/nesting instincts) by providing your pet with some safe nesting material.
Don't let your hamster get too warm.
Even though you want to keep your hamster warm, it can be dangerous for him to be exposed to temperatures that are too warm, especially above 90°F. Keep your pet's habitat warm, but don't place it in direct sunlight or too close to heat sources that could inadvertently raise the air temperature.
Keeping your hamster warm is easy with a few simple tips. Your pet will surely appreciate the warmth, and he'll be happy and ready for more playtime with you.
1. Aspen Commons Animal Hospital. “Hamsters and Cold," 15 February 2016. https://aspencommonsvet.com/2016/02/15/aurora-co-vet-hamsters-cold/
2. Collingswood Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care. “Hamsters and Cold," 15 November 2015. https://www.collingswoodvethospital.com/2015/11/15/cherry-hill-nj-vet-hamsters-cold
3. Jones, Veronica. Vetguru. “8 Things to Keep Hamster Warm in Winter," https://www.vetguru.com/keeping-warm-for-the-winter/