How Long Does It Take For A Hamster To Decompose?

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 06:43 am

Hamsters are cute and interesting animals, but they have short lifespans, and we must be prepared for the moment when we need to say goodbye to our pets.

How Long Does it Take for a Hamster to Decompose?

The time it takes for a hamster’s body to decompose is 15 days but can depend on several factors. It depends on the type of death, the humidity of the air in the environment, the temperature, and whether his body was touched after his death.

Therefore, in today’s article, you will learn a little more about how long it takes for a hamster’s body to decompose and the factors that affect the speed of its decomposition.

At the end of the article we will share several ways of what to do with a dead hamster, so let’s get started right away.

How Long Does it Take for a Hamster to Decompose?

Hamsters need about 15 days to completely decompose their dead body.

The body of hamsters decomposes faster than in other animals, but the conditions also affect the time interval.

If the dead hamster is in a warm and humid environment then the decomposition will be faster.

If the hamster is touched after its death, the decomposition will be faster.

The type of death, temperature, and humidity along with the handling of the hamster after death will directly affect the time required for its body to decompose.

As we said, the time for his body to decompose is about two weeks, but it can be more or about 3-4 weeks, especially if the weather is colder at the time of the hamster’s death.

When a hamster dies its body will begin to decompose

When a hamster dies its body will begin to decompose within 24 hours.

In the first 8 hours, their body will start to stiffen but it still can be movable.

After 12 hours hamsters’ muscles will be stiff as a block of wood. After 24 hours hamster’s body will begin to decompose.

An unpleasant smell will begin to spread, and bacteria will begin to decompose his internal organs.

In 7 days, the hamster’s body will be skeletonized, and only the teeth, fur, and claws will remain.

When it is very hot, in 15 days his body will completely decompose, and if it is colder, he will need another 10 days.

What are the factors that affect the speed of decomposition of a hamster’s body?

The hamster will decompose faster or at a slower rate depending on several factors:

  • the temperature
  • the humidity of the air in the environment
  • the type of death
  • hamster size
  • the diet
  • burying the hamster

Let’s read in detail about all these factors on the rate of decomposition of a hamster’s body.

Temperature and humidity

Whenever the temperature is higher or warmer, it accelerates the decomposition process of the hamster’s body.

If the weather is cooler then their body will decompose more slowly.

When the air humidity is higher, it is easier for the bacteria to decompose the body of the hamsters.

Hamster size

The size of the hamster is also important in knowing how long it will take for the hamster’s body to decompose.

In general, the body of a smaller hamster will decompose faster than a larger hamster.

Nutrition before death

Diet before death affects the time it takes for hamsters to decompose.

If the hamster eats more food with a lot of sugar before its death, then its body will decompose much faster.

The sugar helps the bacteria break down the hamster’s tissue more easily.

If the hamster eats more food with protein before death, then the decomposition process will be slower, because the proteins slow down the bacteria in their work.

The type of death

The type of death affects the time it takes for a hamster’s dead body to decompose.

If the hamster dies of natural causes, then it will decompose for a longer period.

Whereas if the hamster died a violent death, i.e. was killed by a predator, then it will decompose faster.

The reason is that the hamster that was killed must have been under stress and its stress hormones help to speed up its decomposition.

Method of burial

If the hamster was buried in moist soil after death, then its body would decompose faster because the humidity helps the bacteria to break down its body more easily.

If the hamster is above the ground, then it will slow down its body decomposition process, because bacteria will have a harder time breaking down the dead long does it take for a hamster to decompose

How to speed up or slow down the decomposition of the hamster’s body?

If your hamster is living its last days, there are things you can do that can speed up or slow down its body when it dies.

For the hamster’s body to decompose more slowly, you will need to leave it above ground.

A diet rich in protein will slow down the decomposition process of his body.

If you want your pet to decompose faster then your pet needs to eat food with more sugar in the last days of its life or after death, you should bury your pet in moist soil.

Read more: Can Hamsters Die From Fear? (Stress, Wet Tail & More)

How long is needed for a hamster to decompose in soil?

When a hamster’s body is buried in the soil it needs 8-12 years to completely decompose its body.

In that time hamster’s body will become an entire skeleton.

But this duration is proximate and depends on environmental conditions.

How long does it take for a dead hamster to start smelling?

When hamsters die they start to smell right away, but they don’t start to smell bad right away.

Hamsters smell very unpleasant after about three days of their death.

The unpleasant smell from the dead hamster can start to be felt sooner or later depending on the temperature in the room.

What to do with the body of a dead hamster?

When a hamster dies, it is a sad moment for every owner of these beautiful pets, but you must be ready for that moment as well.

There are several things you can do when your pet dies.

One way is to bury the hamster in your yard, especially if you live in a house, you can dig a hole and bury it.

Before burying it in your yard, first check to see if you can legally bury the hamster in your yard, as in some states it is not allowed.

Another option is to take your hamster to a pet crematorium, but this is a slightly more expensive option for burying your hamster especially if you want a private cremation.

If you cannot decide what to do with a hamster’s body you can freeze them in plastic bags to avoid contamination, this is a temporary solution to prevent decomposition if you need time to decide what to do with the dead hamster.

Read more: Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily? (How To Decrease)

How to remove your hamster yourself?

You can also remove the body of a dead hamster yourself, you will only need a few things:

  • plastic bag
  • paper towel
  • gloves

After putting on the gloves, you should put the body of the dead hamster in a plastic bag.

After the hamster dies, you don’t have to wait long before you start removing its body because the process of its decomposition will begin.

Before placing the hamster in a plastic bag, it is best to cover it with a paper towel to absorb the fluids from its body.

In the end, you should throw the hamster together with the plastic bag in a trash can.

Then when you are done with the whole procedure, remove the gloves and wash your hands well.

What to do with a dead hamster in winter?

In winter, it is a little more difficult to get rid of the body of a dead hamster, especially when there is snow outside and the ground is frozen.

There are several solutions, and one of them is to put the hamster in a bag and freeze it in the refrigerator.

Another solution is to take the hamster to a vet who places the dead hamsters in a freezer until they can be picked up by the cremation service.

A third solution is to bury the hamster in a pot with a plant in your yard if the soil in the pot is not long does it take for a hamster to decompose

Can I bury my hamster in a park?

You are not allowed to bury the body of a dead hamster in a park.

You must not bury the hamster in your friends’ yard either, you can only bury it in your yard.

Always be sure to bury a dead hamster’s body away from water sources.

What happens if you bury a hibernating hamster?

If you bury your hibernating hamster, it will die after you bury it. Therefore, always check carefully whether your pet is dead or just hibernating.

Especially older hamsters often hibernate, and many owners mistakenly think that their pet has died.

The best way to be sure if the hamster is dead is to put it in front of a mirror, because if it is breathing, regardless of whether the breathing is slow, a fog will appear on the mirror itself and you will know that it is alive.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for a hamster to go stiff after death?

When a hamster is dead in about two hours its body will be stiff. When the hamster’s body is still limp then the hamster is still alive.

How deep should you bury a hamster?

If you are burying your hamster in your yard it is best to bury it about 2-3 meters deep. It needs to have this depth to prevent predators from getting to its dead body.

Is it illegal to bury a hamster?

It depends on where you live, in some countries it is allowed, and somewhere it is banned to bury a hamster, so check the laws where you live. Where it is allowed, graves are required to be 2-3 meters deep to prevent the spread of diseases from dead animals.

How long should you wait to bury a hamster?

After the hamster dies, you should bury it within 24 hours at the most, because it will start to smell and there is no need to keep it in your home anymore.

Do hamsters like to bury themselves?

When hamsters are alive, they like to play and burrow, because it allows them to feel comfortable and safe. They especially like to burrow when they want to rest or sleep.


It takes about 15 days for a hamster’s body to decompose, although this process can take longer or shorter depending on the conditions at the time of its death.

If the hamsters eat more food with sugar, it will decompose faster, while if they eat protein, it will decompose more slowly.

When the temperature is hot, their body decomposes faster, when it is colder, this process needs more time.

The death of hamsters is difficult for every hamster owner, but unfortunately, their life span is very short and we must be ready for such a moment.

Read more: Why Did My Hamster Die With Eyes Open? 11 Reasons