After her hamster of three years died, 16-year-old Deyton Pilgrim decided to welcome a new furry friend into her life: Hammy, otherwise known as Herman.
Unfortunately, Deyton only had a couple months of unadulterated joy with Hammy before drama ensued.
“Recently, a hurricane came through South Carolina and had devastating winds that knocked out power to hundreds of people across the upstate area,” Deyton told BuzzFeed. “At the time the winds were coming in, a cold front was also meeting, which drastically reduced the temperature.”
“No power meant that the heat lamp that was used [for Hammy] no longer could provide her with a constant source of heat and there wasn’t much we could do. She then went into hibernation,” she said.
“After four days of hibernation, she had not moved and her body felt stiff,” Deyton said. “We sat her near some gas logs to try and warm her up, but there was no change. After that, we presumed she was dead and I set out to bury her.”
A few hours later — after crying and accepting her dear hamster’s fate — Peyton went back outside to pick up the sticks and branches that had littered her property from the high winds. Lo and behold, Hammy was alive and well, strutting her stuff around the lawn. “There she was, walking around on the bank near where I buried her,” she said. “Her grave was unburied.” This story was obviously too wild not to share, so Deyton made a TikTok:
um so basically… i thought he was dead…Advertisement
I was curious about how this near-disaster occurred, and what could have been done to prevent it, so I called up my brother (who just so happens to be a veterinarian): Dr. Max Emanuel.
“Hamsters have an incredibly high metabolism,” Max said. “So if it can’t generate enough heat from its environment, they’re gonna try to preserve their energy by hibernating. And it’s not like a normal winter hibernation. Hamsters will do it for a couple of days, sometimes longer, if they just don’t have an adequate heat source.”
“If something like this happens and you’re not sure if it’s dead or not, bring it to the veterinarian,” Max said. “Or at least call a veterinary practice or a professional to see what the right thing to do would be before making a big decision like burying your pet or deciding that it’s dead.”
“If you get an exotic pet, make sure you do the research,” Max said. “Even if it’s a small purchase. You can probably get a hamster for a few bucks, but the knowledge is worth a lot more than that.”
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