In a viral video posted on Tuesday, TikToker Emily (@emily.dooley9) asked viewers if her hamsters were “dead or just hibernating.” She said both were cold but not stiff.
Hamsters enter “life-saving hibernation” if enduring cold temperatures or prolonged food scarcity, according to pet product retailer Omlet.
In the video, Emily, 17, strokes her hamsters, which are placed on a heating pad and appear nonresponsive. In another TikTok posted on Wednesday, Emily announced that her hamsters died. Emily’s videos about her hamsters all received over 1 million views, and the original post was viewed over 16 million times.
Commenters who own hamsters themselves were divided about whether Emily’s hamsters were still alive.
“They’re hibernating,” commented @carrie_elizabeth1120. “Mine does it all the time it’s a bit scary but they’ll be alright.”
Many other comments expressed confusion and panic about potentially burying hamsters alive. “Did I just bury my two hibernating hamsters,” user @michelle_20028 wrote.
Emily said that the hamster’s vet said to “give it a couple days.”
“There’s not [really] any way to tell,” she wrote in the overlay text of another TikTok.
To prove that she had been taking care of them, the TikToker also showed the hamsters’ food, treats, and separate enclosures.
Later that day, Emily posted that she assumed her hamsters had died.
“They turned blue, nail beds had black spots nothing was waking them up,” the TikToker commented on a video announcing their death. “It’s been two days they’re gone.”
The widespread confusion in the comments sections of Emily’s TikToks caused some users to urge hamster owners to become familiar with how the animals function before caring for them.
“These comments are why you need to do your research before getting an animal,” wrote @goo___.
“Imagine all the hamsters being buried alive,” commented @hoppstess. “Just to wake up and [die] anyway.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Emily.
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