Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 269–277

Hibernation patterns of Turkish hamsters: influence of sex and ambient temperature

Authors

    • Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California Berkeley
  • George Nguyen
    • Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California Berkeley
  • Kristine Harman
    • Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California Berkeley
  • Irving Zucker
    • Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of California Berkeley
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of California
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00360-012-0706-3

Cite this article as:
Batavia, M., Nguyen, G., Harman, K. et al. J Comp Physiol B (2013) 183: 269. doi:10.1007/s00360-012-0706-3

Abstract

Turkish hamsters (Mesocricetus brandti) are a model organism for studies of hibernation, yet a detailed account of their torpor characteristics has not been undertaken. This study employed continuous telemetric monitoring of body temperature (Tb) in hibernating male and female Turkish hamsters at ambient temperatures (Tas) of 5 and 13 °C to precisely characterize torpor bout depth, duration, and frequency, as well as rates of entry into and arousal from torpor. Hamsters generated brief intervals of short (<12 h), shallow test bouts (Tb > 20 °C), followed by deep torpor bouts lasting 4–6 days at Ta = 5 °C and 2–3 days at Ta = 13 °C. Females at Ta = 5 °C had longer bouts than males, but maintained higher torpor Tb; there were no sex differences at Ta = 13 °C. Neither body mass loss nor food intake differed between the two Tas. Hamsters entered torpor primarily during the scotophase (subjective night), but timing of arousals was highly variable. Hamsters at both Tas generated short, shallow torpor bouts between deep bouts, suggesting that this species may be capable of both hibernation and daily torpor.

Keywords

Turkish hamsterHibernationTorporSex differencesFood intake

Abbreviations

Tb

Body temperature

Ta

Ambient temperature

IBI

Interbout interval

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012