How Long Before Dead Hamster Smells?

Dead hamster in the cage.

It is difficult to explain the stench of demise. The stench of a dead hamster corpse, which is unpleasant and puke-inducing, will alert most individuals that something is wrong with only one whiff of it. However, you may not even be aware that your pet died on your hands until the carcass starts to rot within your house or outside in the backyard, at which point you must act quickly. So, how long will it take before a dead hamster starts to smell?

Do not presume your hamster is lifeless without checking first. When hamsters are unwell, they will go into hibernation. In which they may seem as if they are dead. If you are doubtful, your veterinarian will be able to ascertain if your tiny buddy has died away or if they are hibernating to conserve energy. If your hamster is very stiff, there is a high probability that they are no longer living.

How Long Does It Take for a Dead Hamster To Start Smelling?

The temperatures of the hamster’s environment have a significant impact on how long it takes for them to begin sniffing. In their naturalized environment, they may start smelling after 10 hours of being exposed. The hamsters in your house will most likely have a foul odor after three days of being dead. It would be best if you are always thoroughly attentive to your hamsters.

Hamsters are skillful at pretending to be dead. A significant number of hours pretending to be dead is not good for your hamster’s wellbeing. If your hamster does not respond to any stimulation for a longer duration, they are not just “trying to play dead.”

If you are not sure if your hamster is dying or just pretending to be dead, there are several measures you may take. Consider starting to get them to heat up a little. And it is essential not to overheat the hamster. Warming them up with things like a heating lamp may help them come out of their trance-like condition.

Please keep a close watch out for something that may be giving them discomfort surrounding their cages and, in the environment, they have been in. It may be caused by injuries sustained from anything that made them feel threatened by their fellow pets or predatory creatures. Take another critter out of the premises and give them some space to hibernate. Ultimately, when they do not return to their previous state, you may have to realize that they are not simply acting lifeless.

When your hamsters are struggling to cope with sickness or injury, they will usually demonstrate several of the following symptoms: lack of appetite, lethargy, huddled up in a corner, a frilly or shabby coat, sniffling, struggling to breathe, or wetness across the tail, nausea, as well as loss of hair, which is sometimes an indication of parasitic infections or allergic reactions. As soon as you see that a hamster is unwell or wounded, keep them warmed and urge them to drink water from a syringe until they are transported to the veterinarian.

Best Ways to Determine If Your Hamster Has Unfortunately Dead

They Get into The Fetal Position

In the first instance, you will notice that your hamster has died if it is in fetal positioning and motionless. When a hamster passes away, it will usually be in a posture that depicts the fetal position while resting in one of the corners of its cell or its tiny houses.

Whenever they are in this posture, you can observe from a distance or up close to its cage. The hamster’s head will be nearer their front paw when they are generally lying on one of its sides. Besides this, you will notice that their rear paw would be close to their front feet and that their short, curled tails will be at their paws.

While they are in the fetal position, their appearance will be much more distinct than simply sleeping since they will be snuggled up significantly more than average. Moreover, hamsters are known to be very hyperactive at specific periods across the day, so if they are in this posture when they are most lively, you will sense that something is flawed with them or possible that they have passed away.

Stiffness of Death Sets In

Another method to tell whether your hamster is dead is to look for signs of stiffness of death which indicates that the critter has died. You will notice that a hamster is rigid after it has passed away or if you attempt to stroke or otherwise touch with them. 

Its muscles may feel stiff, and its entire body will seem more challenging to move than it usually does. Hence, somewhat of feeling flexible, all of their joints and muscles will feel nearly stiffened or tied away, instead of feeling relaxed. If you suspect it has set in and your hamster has perished, you may do this self-examination to confirm your suspicions. You may accomplish this by softly pressing a specific area of your hamster’s body, which will cause them to move slightly. 

Once your hamster’s entire body flexes but remains rigid, then rigor mortis or stiffness of death has most certainly set in, and your hamster has died as a direct result of the trauma. If you attempt to raise one of your hamster’s paws off the ground, you will find that their limbs and the remainder of their body will be unable to move around freely.

There is No Sign of Life

When you are failing to detect the presence of your hamster’s breathe or pulse, you may assume that they are dead.

To be assured of their demise, if your hamster seems not to have a pulse, you will need to examine them personally to be definite that they are not dead. One of the most effective methods to determine whether they would have a heartbeat is to press your finger on their chest. Something you would have to do is softly press two of your fingertips into its chest and hold your fingertips remain for a little while until they are brought back to life.

Broadly speaking, when they are still alive, hamsters are breathing rapidly, which may be observed if you keep an eye on them when they are standing steady. Whenever a hamster perishes, and you scrutinize its body, you will recognize that this kind of movement has ceased. So, if you suspect that they are lifeless, you will need to keep an eye on their chest area to see whether it moves significantly up or down for a couple or several minutes each time.

Once you can detect a heartbeat and slight breathing from your hamster, this indicates that they are still alive. However, if you cannot detect a pulse at all, this shows that your hamster is gone. Consequently, this is a straightforward and effective method of determining whether or not your hamster has passed away.

They Will No Longer React to Anything That You Do

A dead hamster will not react with the habitual responses that it would generally respond with. The fact that you are lifting them will not affect them, as well as once you pick them up, their bodies will be rigid due to rigor mortis. Whenever you gently massage their body or nudge them in the chest, you will observe that they will never squirm throughout the process.

It would not even open or shut their eyes if you caress them in any way; otherwise, they will stay utterly unresponsive to your grasp. A lifeless hamster will not react to any feedings that you attempt to give them. Even though it may seem apparent when a hamster refuses to eat when you try to provide them with food and water, it may be a helpful diagnostic of whether or not they are dead.

What To Do with A Dead Hamster?

Regarding coping with your deceased hamster, there are just a few humane choices possible. In the situation that you are alone at home, burying your friend is the ideal choice. While in the veterinary, you have an option to choose to cremate your hamster to finalize your pet’s disposition. On the other hand, there are a few actions to do when your hamster dies:

Remove the Hamster From Its Cage in a Safe Manner

Wearing latex gloves when handling the hamster or any component of its cage is recommended. As an outcome, while touching the animal’s carcass, your hands will remain clean. The hamster was likely unwell, and touching germs may be hazardous to one’s health if done improperly.

Comfortably Send Off Your Hamster Friend in Its Last Moment

While alone at home, put your hamster in a sealed container or plastic bags, cover it in fabric, or create a handmade box for it to live in. There are several heated discussions over whether or not to utilize plastic bags, but the decision is up to you in the end.

A resting place is the finest choice for your hamster if you are caring for it at home. Please put it in the bags and dump it at least three times below ground level and apart from anything else in the area. A burial for your companion and the saying of your last farewell are both customary at this time. 

If you prefer something more pleasant for your buddy than a few plastic bags, there are many hamster caskets offered to ensure your pet is satisfied in its place and its last moment.


The ability to determine whether or not your hamster is dying is critical since you wouldn’t want to fall into the trap of believing that they are dead when they are still breathing. You will be able to deal with the fact that your hamster is no longer alive and can no longer interact with your pet when it has passed away.

As previously stated in this article, they may start smelling slightly after being dead in 10 hours in their natural surroundings. Moreover, in three days after being dead, the hamsters in your household will most likely have a pungent odor. When you realize that your hamster is no longer alive, you may begin the mourning process, letting you grieve over time.

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