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Hibernation in the Golden Hamster in Relation To Age and To Season

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A systematic study was carried out on the capacity to hibernate in adult male golden hamsters. Each month for 12 successive months 4 batches of 4 hamsters each, aged 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, respectively, were transferred to a climate room set at +8° C and with 2 hrs of light per day. The length of the pre-lethargic period, i.e., the length of cold exposure before the entrance of hibernation was used as a measure of the capacity to hibernate. The following results were obtained: 1. Three-months old hamsters have a longer pre-lethargic period than the other age groups. 2. A tendency to short pre-lethargic periods is observed in January and/or February in all age groups. 3. In March and April a high % of 9- and 12-months old hamsters fails to enter the state of hibernation.

Affiliations: 1: (Anatomical-Embryological Laboratory, University of Amsterdam & Netherlands Central Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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