You might not think of hamsters as lovers of heat, but cool temperatures can cause all sorts of problems for your critter friend. An ambient temperature below 60 degrees Fahrenheit causes your hamster to be lethargic; if the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, he could go into a potentially fatal hibernation. Moving his cage to a warmer, draft-free area of your home, or adding a heat source will ensure he stays warm and cozy during the colder months.
Layer the underside of your hamster's enclosure with a thick blanket. The blanket will not only insulate from the bottom of the cage a bit, it will traps heat within it. If your room is hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, though, an insulative blanket won't solve the issue, because it will only reduce the cold a small amount. But if just a bit more warmth is all the hamster needs, it's a suitable low-cost, low-maintenance solution.
Place your hamster cage on a reptile under-tank heating pad. An under-tank reptile heater pumps out bit of heat but won't overheat your hamster or burn her, as a heating rock may. The heating pad is completely safe and doesn't pose a fire hazard, as long as you provide proper ventilation. Raise your hamster's cage an inch or 2, and attach the heater under either the left side or the right side of the cage, not the middle. The heater usually comes with a suction attachment or adhesive. You can raise the cage by placing it on a raised floor grid or even rubber feet.
Move the cage away from drafty windows, doors and rooms. By taking cold air out of the equation, your hamster's home is immediately on its way to heating up. Simply moving his cage away from a drafty window but keeping him in the same room won't make a big difference because cold air is circulating. Instead, move him into an entirely different room with better insulation and less airflow.
Add some cheap insulation to your room. If you're not interested in relocating your hamster's cage, a bit of plastic window insulation, duct tape and a few towels might help to warm up his abode, though this alone won't do if there's no heat source in the home at all. The plastic insulation puts an end to drafty windows, and a towel stretched across the bottom of a door can protect from air passing underneath. Some types of plastic insulation will adhere with a bit of heat from a hair dryer rather than a few strips of duct tape.
Place a portable heater in the room -- but never place the heater next to your hamster's cage. Heaters that warm up an entire room will warm up your hamster's enclosure indirectly. The downside to a portable heater is that you can't leave it on when you're not home, so it's only a situational solution. Your hamster needs a constant temperature, not fluctuations.
- Somewhere on the packaging for each under-tank heating pad you're considering purchasing, you'll find how many degrees the pad will raise the temperature. If Find one that will push your hamster's cage temperature no higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the hamster's room stays 60 degrees, that's a pad with a max boost of 15 degrees. Or plug a pad into a thermostat and set the temperature at of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Pet stores sell a variety of thermostats that attach to the cage.
- If your power ever goes out for a lengthy period of time during winter and the temperature inside your house plunges, move your hamster to a top floor. Place blankets under and over the top of his cage. Rub him frequently to keep him warm.
- Never use a heating pad meant for people for your hamster.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.