I'm currently using my Raspberry Pi combined with a NoIR camera module as a camera to livestream my hamster's home to my mobile phone. Now, the IR-camera itself does not output any good pictures at night without an additional source of IR light.

I was thinking about getting something like this:

IR LED Light Ring Board

Browsing through the web, I stumbled upon the statement that IR radiation may cause harm - especially to the eyes, but also other parts of the body (which I didn't consider before, but sounds pretty logical now).

Now I wonder, would my hamster be safe if he was constantly exposed to such an IR light source? Or would any harm, even the slightest bit, be done to him?


Hamsters cannot see this wavelenghth of infrared radiation.

The vision of hamsters is shifted more to the ultraviolet part of the light spectrum. This means they see best in the blue to green light and are less sensitive to red and infrared light.

The infrared LED diodes on the LED board you ask about have an output of 3 watts in the 940 nanometer wavelength. High intensity infrared light can be dangerous, but the one you have there is not harmful.

I doubt your hamsters are able to see 940 nanometer infrared light at all. But you need to keep an eye on them and if they show signs of stress, you need to remove it.

You need to place the infrared light at no closer than 1 meter from the cage to be totally safe that their vision is not harmed in any way (I do not think there is any risk in using IR light to film your hamsters. But it is better to be safe than sorry).

  • Better safe than sorry nails it. The thought behind this is that I can watch him do hamster stuff during night time without distracting or disturbing him by being physically present. The last thing i want is to hurt him in any way, but the way you explained it makes me feel confident about it :) Thank you very much for your answer! – rqnn Jul 6 '19 at 14:32

IR light is nothing but electromagnetic waves. Some are mostly harmless, others are potentially deadly.

If the hamster is able to see or not IR light is not a good measure of safety. Just think that nobody can see X rays, but long time exposure to them is nowhere near being good for health.

For a short experiment, the hamsters should be fine. For constant exposure, there are unknown risks.

Another piece of food for thought: normally, visible light in "normal" amounts is OK. But we definitely need dark, especially during rest.

A better, but more expensive solution is to use a camera sensor with better sensitivity, which can take images even in conditions of very low light.

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