Hamster Stories – Hibernation

Pauline tells her story:

That reminds me of something that happened to me with a teddy bear hamster I had when I was a kid. My parents had just renovated a garage into a bedroom by knocking a hole into the wall and joining it to the house, and as a result, the poorly insulated bedroom became extremely cold at night. I learned the hard way that hammies can go into hibernation, because I found it in the morning in that bedroom thinking it was dead. I was devastated, and my mom actually just wrapped its body in paper towel and put it in the garbage bin. (I had no idea at the time).

I went to tell my cousin who lived down the street that my hamster had died (he had given it to me and had bred hamsters for a long time), and he asked me a few questions, and then told me that hamsters can hibernate. I ran home, hoping that that was the case, because I was still in a state of disbelief that my hamster could actually be dead. I convinced my mom to look in the garbage pail, and she begrudgingly did. I’ll never forget–we lifted the lid, and there he/she was! Standing on its hind legs, sniffing the air and looking at us, as if to say “Took you long enough to find me!” I was ecstatic…

Jimmy tells his story:

Now, I must add my own story about hibernation, as a child I did the same thing. I kept my hamster in a shed near the garage and we had a freak snowstorm, and the temperature dropped considerably. He was stiff as a board! I buried him before school. Poor hamster! Thawing in the darkness on a bed of tissue and seeds in a cardboard coffin.

It was at school that I remembered they “hibernated” but could not get home in time. When my bus dropped me off at home I raced to my backyard and dug up his box, only to find that he’d left only soft tissues. His food was gone, and he’d managed to chew a hole (imagine how hard it is to get a tooth-hold in a square box!) and burrow his way out. I never found him.