English woman warns fellow hamster owners to keep pets warm to avoid hibernation-like state

Posted at 1:30 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 13:30:49-05

Did you know hamsters can hibernate if they get too cold? 

Well, it's not technically hibernation, according to the California Hamster Association (yes, that's a thing), but more on that in a moment.

Lisa Goodman was worried at first when Fudge the hamster went cold and still in her home in Oxfordshire, English, so she was simply trying to warn her friends about the effects of cold weather on pet hamsters. However, her Facebook post has now been shared more than 204,000 times.

Goodman explained that Fudge quickly perked up and returned to normal with a little heat and love.

"Please don’t just assume your hamster is dead," Goodman wrote. "Whilst in hibernation mode if you stroke or try to move your hamster, they will show small signs of life."

A day later, after an overwhelming response from the people of the interwebs, Goodman updated her Facebook friends with information after the California Hamster Association contacted her. They said Fudge's temporary state was called "torpor" and is not considered safe, normal or common.

"In order to survive, the animals must slow their heartbeat, lower their body temperature and lie motionless to conserve energy. This is what hamsters do," the California Hamster Association wrote. "It is a state of near-death that many mammals will undergo in the right conditions as an attempt to survive. However, if the animal is not discovered immediately, they will succumb to hypothermia."