While smaller than their counterpart furry friends, hamsters share lots of similarities with cats and dogs. For instance, they are all mammals and make lovely beings. But how about when it comes to weather? Do hamsters find the summer sun to be as much of a bother as cats and dogs do?
Well, in this article, we will be providing an answer to that and more of these questions. We will look at what temperatures hamsters can tolerate, how to help your rodent friend in case of heatstroke, and hot-weather tips that will keep them safe. Let’s get started!
Do Hamsters Feel Heat?
Yes, hamsters feel heat, and they can possibly die from it. That makes them mammals that are in the same boat as cats and dogs.
However, there’s a difference: hamsters don’t have sweat glands to help cool themselves down in hot weather. Cats and dogs both have sweat glands located at their paws.
So while your cat or dog sweats to get rid of excess heat and cool itself down, your hamster does not have it so easy. This is one reason why you should do more for your pet’s health than just provide a water bowl and food dish (which we will look at later in the article).
The fact that hamsters don’t have sweat glands means they have to rely on other methods to cool off when the weather gets hot. They can do this by lying down on cool surfaces such as ceramic tile. They can also rely on the cold water you place on their cages for their cooling.
What Can You Do To Keep Your Hamster Cool In Hot Weather?
There are several things you can do to keep your hamster cool in hot weather. They include;
Keep The Water Bowl Replenished
Keep in mind that hamsters don’t have sweat glands or ways of cooling themselves off. As a result, they need help staying hydrated and cool – especially if it’s hot outside.
Placing cool, fresh water in front of your hamster at all times is crucial. Be sure to provide enough so that he doesn’t run out before the day is over! Again, the water you provide to your hamster should always be clean.
A great way to keep a constant eye on the water dish is by placing it inside a transparent bottle or jar so that you can tell when the water level is getting low.
Get The Cage Positioning Right
The positioning of the cage is crucial in keeping your hamster cool. Keep in mind that a cold habitat is the first thing to keeping your hamster cool in summer weather. An ideal position for a cage during hot weather is against an exterior wall with windows on one side and slightly away from any appliances giving off heat.
The closer they are to windows, the better since they can benefit from natural sunlight as well! Bt again, don’t put the cage in sunlight as it may cause deadly temperatures in hamsters.
Avoid placing them in front of direct heat sources such as a radiator. In addition, be sure to give your hamster some shade from direct sunlight with a tree branch or any suitable hideout.
Decrease Activity During Hot Weather
Since exercise makes mammals breathe harder and hotter, it is best to reduce their activity during hot weather. This will keep them from losing more water!
You should also avoid handling them for at least half an hour after feeding or drinking to give their body time to adjust to the increase in temperature. This is because their blood flow tends to go to their extremities when they are active which leaves the stomach with less blood flow.
Make Sure Your Hamster Has An Airy Hamster House
Fresh air helps keep your hamster cool by allowing him to release excess heat through his lungs. However, this also means that they are more exposed to harmful toxins!
So be sure to have plenty of ventilation in your hamster’s cage, but not at the expense of safety. A wire cage will be a great option, as these types of cages allow for easy airflow while providing protection against drafts and other possible dangers.
Make Use Of Fans
When considering making use of fans, it is good to know that they do not actually cool down the air.
What happens is that since the fan blades create a wind chill (cold breeze), your pet’s body and actual environment will feel cooler even if the temperature doesn’t change.
However, that doesn’t mean that fans are not useful at all! They still help to circulate air in the hamster cage which helps to make your hamster feel much cooler when inside their habitat.
If you are not keen on getting an electric fan, then an alternative option would be to get a battery-operated or manual fan.
If you cannot get hold of a fan, consider investing in a clip-on desk/tabletop fan instead which you can use to provide your hamster with some cool air without having to worry about safety.
You can also consider creating something like a freeze bath sand, DIY cooling pad, or mini “ice-cubes” for your hamster.
For bath sand, you just need a cup of sand and keep it in a zip lock bag. Take the bag and put it in a freezer for some time, remove it, and put the cup of frozen sand in your hamster’s cage. Hamsters love sand bathing, so the wet sand will give them fun when also keeping them cool.
This could consist of a few ice cubes wrapped in a small towel and held together with a rubber band to prevent them from slipping out. The ice absorbs heat through the frozen towel as they melt and will stay cold for a long time which can help keep your hamster cool.
If you don’t want to use ice, consider using frozen veggies instead. This works similarly to how you can give your hamster ice cubes except that it doesn’t melt as fast so they have a chance to keep cool for longer! In addition, you can also consider switching to frozen treats such as pumpkin seeds when summer rolls around. You can as well chill your hamster’s favorite treat and that will keep your hamster safe from the extra heat.
Can Hamsters Survive Hot Weather?
Yes, hamsters can survive hot weather if they are given the proper care. They live in warmer climates naturally, so they should be able to adjust well. Their small size only adds to their ability to stay cool.
However, it is important you take certain steps to make sure your pet feels safe and comfortable during the summer months. This way, you can avoid the summer health issues that hamsters can get.
What Temperatures Can Hamsters Handle?
To put it frankly, when the thermometer rises above 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 °Celsius), hamsters are not built for it. Sure, you can try to get them accustomed to the heat, but it is not really worth the effort.
It is often more comfortable for hamsters if you keep their environment with lower temperatures. Temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (18-22 °Celsius) should be fine in most cases.
What’s interesting though is that while they may prefer slightly colder temperatures, their metabolism actually speeds up in warmer weather. As a result, they are more active and eat faster.
What Are The Adverse Effects Of Hot Weather On Hamsters?
There are several adverse effects warm weather has on hamsters.
Heatstroke is a serious condition caused by exposure to high temperatures for long periods of time. It occurs when the body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 °Celsius), and it can cause serious damage if untreated.
Symptoms in hamsters include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Reddened mucous membranes (e.g., gums)
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of coordination
- Muscle tremors
- Loss of consciousness when standing up.
All these and others not covered are symptoms of heatstroke. If your hamster pet is suffering from heatstroke, you need to take them to a vet as soon as possible. If left untreated, your hamster will die within hours – even if he doesn’t show initial symptoms!
Dehydration is also another side effect of hot weather. It occurs when the body loses too much fluid and salts as a result of rise in temperature and loss of fluids by sweating (Although they don’t have sweat glands, hamsters still sweat).
This happens when the body loses more water than it takes in.
Symptoms in hamsters include:
- Dry skin
- Lowered body weight (due to loss of fluids)
- Decreased urination
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst
The way to prevent dehydration is by making sure your hamster has access to clean water at all times. If your hamster consistently drinks from the dish, you know they are okay in this regard.
This happens when the body temperature rises very quickly or severely. It causes all sorts of symptoms, but they are also easily treatable if you notice them in time – before your hamster suffers any permanent damage!
Heat exhaustion is somewhat like heatstroke except that it’s a much less severe condition. However, it’s important that you take it seriously – if left untreated, your overheated hamster faces the risk of heatstroke.
Symptoms in hamsters include:
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure
If your hamster shows any of these symptoms, you need to take him to a hospital as soon as possible. Like with heatstroke, it is very important that the problem isn’t allowed to progress and cause even more severe consequences.
So yes, hamsters feel the heat in summer just as much as we do. In fact, they can suffer or even die from exposure to dangerous temperatures for too long!
Fortunately, it’s possible to keep your hamster fresh, healthy, and cool even during the hot moments. Just be sure to put in place everything we’ve talked about here to ensure that your pet enjoys ideal temperature even when summer comes.