Hamster Dead But Not Stiff: What to Do About It?

A hamster is as cute as its softness and bubbling body. As we, the hamster owners love them a lot, we are concerned too. And one of the concerns is about its death but not being stiff.

So, what to do if I see my hamster dead but not stiff?

Hamsters are stiff for a little time after they die. Because rigor mortis doesn’t stay that long after their death. So, they become soft, for a while after their death. However, hamsters hibernate at times which some people mistake as death. In that case, a hamster won’t be stiff.

You just have the brief here. But read along to get the details about it.

So, let’s get started!

Why is My Hamster Dead But Not Stiff?

Why is My Hamster Dead But Not Stiff

You know a hamster isn’t stiff after its death in a few moments. Because what makes a hamster stiff is the rigor mortis.

But after the death of hamsters, rigor mortis does not stay long. So, a hamster becomes soft again after a while.

If you look at the nails of it, you would see it is black. Because the nails get blood clogged when they pass away.

But sometimes, hamsters seem dead but they are not. This happens due to 2 or 3 main reasons. So what are they?

Well, first of all, a hamster may seem dead when they hibernate. Hibernation is a very common process for a hamster in its lifetime.

A hamster can hibernate more than once in its lifetime depending on a few factors. A hamster can hibernate anytime when it has a few things missing.

And the main thing for hibernation is the lack of food and sunlight. Remember that lack of sunlight can decrease the body temperature of your pet.

And this causes your hamster to hibernate when they can not take it any longer.

A hamster may take up to 2 to 3 days while they hibernate. But if your hamster continues to extend, it would be alarming. Because the more the hamster hibernates, the riskier it is.

So, make sure you treat your hamster to come back from hibernation.

Some other factors might stop the movement of your pet. Illness or sickness along with any injuries can do it too.

In that case, you must contact your vet immediately, not deteriorate the issue.

So, these are the reasons for your hamster seeming dead but not stiff.

How Do I Treat My Hamster for This?

How Do I Treat My Hamster for This

The first thing you need to see is if it hibernates. If you see your hamster is not moving, get started with a few tasks. The first thing you do is control the temperature of the place.

You know a hamster can stand the cold temperature just like humans. If you’re in a cold region, you can use a mini heater for your hamster.

Trying to get a mini heater as we suggested? Here are some of the best mini heaters for you to choose from.

Hope this helps.

Coming back to the treatment-

You must ensure that you give your pet enough sunlight and food. Remember that scarcity of food is a primary reason for your pet to hibernate.

Then see if the breathing is normal. Try to keep fresh air and proper airflow in the room. You must also check if the heartbeat of your pet is okay.

A healthy heartbeat for your hamster would be 4 times a minute. Or, you can just measure 1 beat every 15 seconds.

Try to prevent your pet from hibernating again. Although hibernating is normal for a hamster, you must still prevent it.

Remember that a hamster generally lives around 3 years at max. So, frequent hibernation can decrease the lifespan significantly.

You must not anyway try to pressurize with your hands to wake your pet. You can’t do so. If you still do it, your pet might be hurt.

You may take a towel and wrap up your pet to get heat for it. Massaging a hot bottle that might put enough heat for your pet would be helpful.

Giving proper heat to your pet for about 40 minutes is fine. But be careful not to burn the skin or hair of your hamster.

So, this is how you can treat your hamster to cure it as soon as possible.

Can My Hamster Come Back from Hibernation Or Dies?

Can My Hamster Come Back from Hibernation Or Dies

Well, hibernation is generally something normal for a hamster. You already know what are the symptoms and reasons for this. Thus, you can understand when your pet hibernates.

But your concern about it might be whether it can be normal again or not? Well, yes, a hamster becomes normal again after hibernation.

You already know that the hibernation might be up to 3 days long. And this is okay for your pet. But if you notice the duration tends to be longer, it would be alarming.

In that case, you must not be late to contact your vet. Because the more the duration of the hibernation of your hamster, the worse.

If it takes like 5 days, there’d be a high chance of your hamster passing away. And if your pet is relatively older that would be even riskier.

So, try to start treating your hibernating hamster immediately.

What Are The Symptoms of Hibernation?

The most obvious symptom of hibernation of your hamster is its cold body. When you touch it, you would understand how cold it is.

Its ears, nose, face, paws, and whole body would be comparatively cold. Other than these, you would also notice short breaths in your pet.

The hamster might also have irregularity in its sleeping schedule. Its sleeping duration might increase as well.

Stumbling or falling suddenly while walking can be a symptom too. Although the illness is too generic, this can be an indication as well.

So, these are the common symptoms of your hamster before it may hibernate.

And if you can prevent this, you might let your pet not hibernate.


Question: Is it possible for a hamster to be alive after death?

Answer: No, a living thing can’t get back its life after death. But if it is a hamster, there could be something different. Like, a hamster sometimes seems dead but they are not. In that case, a proper treatment at the time can cure the hamster. But it can never be alive once it dies.

Question: How do I understand if my hamster might die soon?

Answer: There are a few sicknesses and illnesses that make it obvious for death. If your hamster is already sick then the vet might have already informed you. Other than that, rigor mortis is an alarming situation for your hamster. This can indicate the death of your pet.

Question: Can I recognize if my hamster has rigor mortis?

Answer: Yes, you can recognize if your hamster gets rigor mortis. The primary symptom could be the inability to move. You would see that it can not move its limbs even if you help it. This is because their muscles get hardened once they have rigor mortis. So, they become rigid.

The Final Words

Now you know what to do if you see a hamster dead but not stiff!

But more importantly, make sure that you understand the situation properly. Because you might mistake a hibernating hamster as dead.

Good Luck!

Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan

Ryan Dugan is a dedicated pet care professional who offers top-notch services for a variety of pet species. He has a soft spot for my own feline companion, Sophie. He is passionate about animals He shares his knowledge and experience on his blog to help other pet owners understand and care for their own beloved companions. Whether you need a pet-sitting service or advice on pet care, He is the go-to expert.

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