How To Tell When a Hamster Is Dead? Let’s Discover

The most difficult moment for all hamster owners is when they see that their little pet has died.

Hamsters have a short life and very soon the moment comes when they will die, however, sometimes it is difficult to know if the hamster really died or not.

That’s why in today’s article you will learn several ways to find out if your hamster really died.

How to tell when a hamster is dead?

The hamster is dead when it does not move at all, does not breathe, does not react to any sounds in the environment, and begins to stiffen.

In today’s article, you will learn how to know for sure when the hamster is dead because sometimes mistakes are made in the assessment, that is, the hamster is still alive.

How to tell when a hamster is dead?

When the hamster is dead, it begins to stiffen and not react to anything in its environment. If the hamster is dead it will stop breathing and you will not be able to feel its pulse.

In the following text, you will find out how to know for sure if the hamster is really dead or not.

When hamsters die they are cold

If the hamster dies, it begins to become cold, its body temperature begins to gradually decrease. When hamsters are alive their body temperature is warm.

Many people think that the hamster is dead even when it hibernates, but the temperature of the body will show whether it is alive or dead.

When hamsters hibernate their body temperature does not drop to the same level as when the hamster is dead.

When hamsters die they are in the fetal position

One of the main ways you can tell a hamster has died is by its fetal position.

When the hamsters die, they assume a fetal position, namely their paws are close together and the head will be close to the paws.

Unless their bodies are in a fetal position they will be laid on their side and usually, when they die they choose to be laid in the corner of the cage.

If you notice that the hamster remains in the fetal position for a long time then it is not alive and it is probably dead.

Especially if the hamster is lying in this position when it should be most active, this is another indication that it is dead.

The fetal position is one of the surest signs that your hamster is unfortunately to tell when a hamster is dead

When hamsters die, they do not poop and urinate

A simple sign that a hamster is dead is through their pooping and peeing.

If you notice that the hamster has no new poop and pee residue in the cage then it is dead.

Hamsters poop and urinate very often and that’s why you will know that something is wrong, that is, the hamster is dead.

Rigor mortis means the hamster has died

Rigor mortis is a condition where the hamster becomes stiff, has no movement and it is very difficult to move their limbs.

When a hamster is in rigor mortis, all of its body muscles will be stiff.

When a hamster is alive its muscles are soft to the touch, so stiff muscles are another sign that the hamster has unfortunately died.

It is enough to try to move any part of his body and you will notice that something is wrong.

When hamsters are dead they are not breathing and this can be noticed

If the hamster is dead it will stop breathing and this can be seen on its body. When hamsters breathe it is observed that their body moves up and down.

When a hamster is dead it will not move at all, its chest will not move up and down.

However, you must be careful because they can sometimes hibernate and breathe very slowly, ie for several minutes, especially when they are hibernating.

There is a way to tell for sure if the hamster is breathing or not if you put it in front of a mirror because when it breathes a fog will appear on the mirror.

If there is no fog on the mirror even after a few minutes, then unfortunately you can conclude that the hamster has died.

When the hamster is dead it will not react

When the hamster is dead it will not react at all when you want to touch its body. If you try to take the hamster in your hands, it will not move at all and will be rigor mortis.

Anything you try to do such as poking his body again the hamster will not respond when he is dead. Hamsters will not open or close their eyes when you touch them, they will not react to your touch at all.

If you play loud music or other pets in the hamster’s environment, the dead hamster will not react, which of course will not be the case if it is alive.

When hamsters are alive, they immediately react to other pets, as they are usually prey in nature, and their instinct to run and hide is immediately used by any threat.

Try giving him some food and see if he reacts at all because when hamsters are alive they come to the food.

For example, if a hamster is sick or injured and cannot move, it will still come to eat, while a dead hamster will not approach the food.

When hamsters are dead, their natural reactions and instincts that they use when they are alive are missing.

Read more: Can Hamsters Sneeze to Death? Let’s Discover

When a hamster is dead its heart will not work

When the hamster is dead then its heart will not work and the beating and pulse will not be felt. Just put two fingers on their chest and wait a few minutes to see if you feel any heartbeat of your pet.

If the hamster shows the slightest heartbeat then it is alive, while if there is no pulse the hamster is dead.

In this way, as with the previous ones that you have read, you will know for sure if your hamster is dead or to tell when a hamster is dead

Why is it important to know if a hamster is dead?

It is very important to know if the hamster is really dead because you would not want to make the mistake of thinking it is dead, but it is actually alive.

All ways that we have shown you today will help you to know if your hamster is definitely dead or not.

When you find out for sure that the hamster is unfortunately dead, then you can start to feel sorry for him and prepare to give him a decent burial, because he deserves it.

Read more: Can Bathing Kill My Hamster? Let’s Discover

People also ask

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

When the hamster dies, it does not immediately start to smell unpleasant, it also depends on the temperature in the room, but generally after a few hours it will start to smell, and after three days the smell will be too unpleasant.

Do hibernating hamsters smell dead?

When the hamster is in hibernation it does not smell bad, while when it is dead it will start to smell unpleasant in a few hours. When a hamster hibernates, it doesn’t really move, but you can tell by the smell that it’s not dead.


When the hamster is dead then it can be found out in several ways, for example, they are not breathing, they have no heartbeat and they are lying in the fetal position.

When hamsters die, they do not react to sound, other pets, or any other movements around them.

Unfortunately, hamsters have a short life and die quickly, so we still need to know when our little friends have finished their short life.

Read more interesting articles:

Are Hamsters In Pain When They Die? Let’s Discover

Why Did My Hamster Die With Eyes Open? 11 Reasons

Can Hamsters Die from Loud Noises? Let’s Discover

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