How to bury your hamster is a question which comes up all of a sudden when you were not prepared for your hamster to move to the afterlife. Sometimes you just don’t think about your hamster dying and sometimes it happens suddenly making you realise you hadn’t prepared for this event.
Hamsters are cute and cheerful little creatures and their time with us is most definitely too short. But even though they have a short lifespan, many hamster owners are very attached to their pet and love them deeply. And preparing for departure just feels wrong to most of us, forgetting that the final days are never far away.
What to do when your hamster dies
- Check thoroughly if your hamster is dead or hibernating
- If your hamster is dead, find an airtight container or bag to place your hamster in
- Place your hamster in the fridge or freezer until you can either bury or cremate your hamster
- Find out your local laws for burying pets in the backyard or call a pet cremation service
Hamster Backyard burial:
These are steps to take for a hamster backyard burial:
- Check local laws on burying pets in backyards
- Find or buy a biodegradable box for your hamster to bury them in
- Find a good place for to bury your hamster, away from water sources, flower beds and underground utility lines. Or arrange your hamster to be picked up for cremation.
- Dig a hole for the grave (make sure it’s deep enough).
- Think about how you want to say goodbye to your hamster
- Decide on how to mark your hamster’s grave.
Hamster Cremation Service
- Find a pet cremation service in your area
- Discuss cremation options and cost
- Decide if you can and want your hamsters ashes (and what the additional price is)
- Agree a day and time when your hamster will be collected
- Decide how to say goodbye to your hamster
I have had many hamsters but Daisy was my first and I still clearly remember when I found her dead in her cage.
How to bury your hamster – Meet Daisy
I was super upset when Daisy, my hamster died. She died of old age at nearly 2,5 years and even though 2 and a half years fly by, to me it seemed that Daisy was part of my life much longer. In fact, it felt as if she’d always been there.
So, when she died, I was naturally upset to the surprise of some of my (non-hamster owning) friends. After all, it’s just a little creature in a cage, right?
But to me Daisy was so much more! When I came home, she was there, so it always felt like there was someone there to greet me. She was often out of her cage, rummaging around my room and nibbling some cucumber or broccoli. When she was in her cage, she was super cute when sleeping or super noisy when running around on her wheel.
All in all, you could simply say that Daisy was very deer to me. In fact, I loved her deeply.
How to bury your hamster – The realisation
So, when I found her in her cage one day, laying in the corner where she would normally never sleep, I was initially confused. I laughed and said to her “what are you doing there you silly goose”? I was expecting her to react to my voice as she’d always do, but I didn’t get a reaction at all. I opened the door of the cage and went to give her a little stroke, as I often did when I got home. She felt cold to the touch.
I felt like my heart skipped a beat.
I picked her up to check her over. Was she ill? Just cold? Hibernating? Anything I thought. Anything but dead!!
I checked for a heartbeat but couldn’t hear anything. I tried to feel for breathing but nothing there. I had heard that some people had buried their hamster alive, or at least that they possibly had, thinking they were dead, but in fact hibernating.
So, to make sure my little Daisy hadn’t gotten too cold and gone into a deep sleep, I put her in a small fluffy blanket and placed this on top of a hot water bottle. I cranked up the thermostat and hoped for the best.
Sure enough, nothing happened.
I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t believe it.
With all my might I wished Daisy to wake up.
Only now do I realize that this denial is stage one of the grieving process.
For the first half an hour at least, I refused to believe that she had gone.
While I had had two and a half years to think about the unavoidable, I hadn’t given Daisy’s end any thought at all, other than the thought “I hope she will live forever, and if not at least till 3 and a half’!
So now what? While I was holding Daisy and the slow realization came over me that this really was the end and she was not going to wake up again, I had to decide what to do next.
How to bury your hamster – Storing Daisy till the funeral
I was looking into burying Daisy in the garden or whether it would be better to cremate her.
Should I do this at home or book a professional funeral service (for pets)?
Am I allowed to bury or cremate her at home?
How to go about it?
But as it was evening, the question arose, where I was going to keep her until I could decide the next step?
I found out you can store your hamster in the fridge in an airtight container or bag for 24 hours. I found a zip up freezer bag, said goodbye to Daisy, promised her to take care of her tomorrow and put her in the fridge.
Only to get a shock at looking at my dear little pet lying in the fridge some hours later when getting the milk.
I burst into tears and found a container. The bag with Daisy in it had to be stored out of sight, so in the container she went.
I did feel bad but reasoned that that was normal given the circumstances.
Should I bury or cremate my hamster?
I decided to have a look at what my local laws said about pet burial in the back yard.
As it turned out, I could bury Daisy in the garden (or even cremate her) as long as it was done within 12 hours and away from a water source. It also said that she should be buried at least 2 feet deep to avoid excavation by other animals.
An interesting fact came to light that if Daisy had died of a disease, I could not bury her in the backyard at all. Luckily it was old age. As far as I knew.
I decided that a backyard burial would be best as I couldn’t face the idea of seeing my Daisy being burned in the garden. I also was not sure how to go about it as you will need a very high temperature of the fire for the cremation to go well. Apparently about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit for which you will need a chemical to achieve it.
Putting Daisy on the BBQ would at the most just roast her.
Of course, I could have called a pet funeral service but as I was allowed to bury her at home within the law, I thought it would be nice to have a resting place for her nearby.
Somewhere I could see her, or at least her resting place.
This made me think how I wanted her grave to look. I didn’t have a lot of time due to the time pressure within the law to bury her within 12 hours.
Would I choose to put a small tree on her grave, like an olive tree or a rose bush?
Would a cross be nice or a statue?
Did I want a flowerbed instead?
As it would be best not to disturb her grave by planting new flowers every year or so, this idea quickly went out of the window.
I decided to buy a rose bush, but one of those thin ones with kind of a rose ball on top. And to place a nice statue on the grave underneath the plant. That way I had something beautiful to look at which would remind me of Daisy.
I realized I also had to think about what I would bury her in. The plastic bag and container really weren’t a good idea. It would pollute the earth and I found the idea of Daisy laying in a plastic bag for eternity just too awful to think about. I toyed with two different ideas. Would I keep it simple and put her in a simple cardboard or thin wooden box which would disintegrate easily? Or would I buy a strong wooden box which would not disintegrate easily so she would be safe from animals in the ground.
I really liked the idea of a strong wooden box, but given the timeframe I had, I decided to put her in a small wooden box from my art and craft collection, which was much thinner than the wooden boxes I had seen to bury your pets in. But it would definitely last longer than a cardboard box.
It took me a little while to find out what to do and to organize it but I remember it made me feel better to be actively busy with preparing her funeral.
How to bury your hamster – The Funeral Service for Daisy
It felt quite weird to have a funeral service for Daisy as it was just me standing in the garden holding her in her wooden box. I had dug a small hole about 2.5 feet deep. It felt better to dig deeper to avoid her being dug up by scavengers.
But now that I was standing there holding her…. it felt weird and final. But at the same time, it also felt good that I knew she had had a happy life and had been loved deeply.
I said my goodbyes to her and placed her in the ground. I didn’t have a ceremony or anything. Instead, I thanked her for being my pet. For always being there when I got home and to be this cheerful presence in my life.
Thanking her made the weirdness go away and it brought happy memories and feelings which surprised me but which I very much welcomed.
How to bury your hamster – Decorating her grave
As the rose bush would take some days to arrive, I filled the hole with dirt and placed a rock on top so the grave would not be disturbed while I waited for the rosebush.
I was so happy when it arrived, and I could finish her resting place.
The rosebush got planted and I placed a beautiful memorial stone underneath.
It’s hard to say goodbye to your loving pets but thanking them will help you let them go. At least it very much helped me.
You don’t have to forget them as they will always be part of your story, just as you were part of theirs. I find it amazing that small encounters can have large impacts.
I love you!
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