Some animals naturally live in cold climates and others live in hot environments. Usually, the temperatures an animal is accustomed to in the wild is the temperature at which they prefer to live in a domestic setting. Therefore, it is always important to check what temperatures are best for the animal you plan to keep as a pet. If you are thinking about keeping a hamster, then it is important to know what temperatures they prefer and whether they are affected by the cold or not.
Do Hamsters Get Cold?
Hamsters are very easily affected by the temperatures in which they live. This means that hamsters do get cold and this has negative effects on the health of your hamster and can also affect their behavior.
What is the Ideal Temperature for Hamsters?
In the wild, hamsters usually live on the edge of deserts. They stay in their burrows during the day to avoid predators and to keep out of heat. They leave their burrows at night when it is cooler, but still warm.
When keeping a hamster as a pet, the ideal temperature is between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. The exception to this is winter white Russian hamsters, also known as Djungarian hamsters, as these live at colder temperatures in the wild. You should keep this breed at a temperature between 65- and 70- degrees Fahrenheit.
When deciding where to keep your hamster’s cage, you should check the temperature at different points around your home. Avoid putting the cage near external doors as drafts come in at these points and can quickly change the temperature. You should also provide ample bedding so that the hamster can keep itself warm.
If you do not keep your hamster at the right temperature, there are serious risks that your hamster will become ill and develop conditions such as pneumonia. Feeling cold can also send them into false hibernation and there is a real risk that your hamster will not survive this.
Symptoms That Indicate Your Hamster Is Cold
When hamsters are living in temperatures that are too low, they can catch a cold. There are some symptoms that you should look out for as these are good indicators that your hamster has a cold. These include:
- Runny eyes
- Labored breathing or wheezing
- Weight loss
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Runny nose
In addition to these physical symptoms, you should also watch out for your hamster burying itself in its bedding to keep warm, curling up in a ball in the corner of the cage, and early hibernation.
Living in cold or draughty conditions are not the only causes of a hamster catching a cold. They can also catch a cold if you have given them a bath and they can catch a cold from a human.
What Should You Do If Your Hamster Catches a Cold?
If you think that your hamster has a cold, it is best to get them checked over by the vet. If the cause is bacterial or the hamster has developed pneumonia, the vet will usually prescribe antibiotics. There is no medication to cure a common cold, but there are steps you can take to help your hamster make a full and quick recovery from the illness.
- Check that they are warm enough and move the cage to a warmer position if necessary.
- Clean out the cage and thoroughly disinfect the cage, toys, feeding bowl, and water bottle with an ammonia-free cleaning product.
- Give your hamster plenty of bedding to keep them warm and comfortable.
A cold is much more serious for a hamster than it is for a human and prevention is better than cure. It is best to keep your hamster at a temperature of between 65- and 75- degrees Fahrenheit, but this depends on the breed. If your hamster does catch a cold, then get them checked by the vet and takes steps to help them recover quickly.