Animals

Did You Know? Hamster Facts You'll Never Fur-get

Read these hamster facts about this nocturnal animal.
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Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) are one of the cutest and smallest house pets. They have shorter tails than other rodents. Their legs are stubby and widely spaced, and they have small ears. They have poor eyesight. They are nearsighted and colorblind. They are constant movers. They won't rest in one place, despite their poor eyesight. Their thick silky fur can be long or short. They have sharp incisors which grow all through their life and must be worn down like all rodents. Hamsters are known to be very flexible but have very fragile bones. There are several types of hamsters that you may come across, including dwarf hamsters, golden dwarf, Russian dwarf hamster, Syrian hamster, Djungarian hamster, Chinese hamster, black bear hamster, Robo dwarf hamster, European hamster (cricetus cricetus) and more. These rodents have a scent gland located in the middle of their body.

As pet owners, people must always have a secure cage for these escape artists. They can flatten their bodies under small crevices and escape. They are active during the evening and nighttime. They also need plenty of space to play during the nighttime. They are solitary creatures and don't like sharing their cages or burrows with other animals. You may also check out gundi facts and shrew facts after this article.

Hamster

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, frogs, lizards and small animals

What do they eat?

Omnivores

Average litter size?

4 - 8

How much do they weigh?

0.22-1.98 lb

How long are they?

N/A

How tall are they?

4-14 in

What do they look like?

Like small mice with different colored furry skin

Skin Type

Silken fur

What are their main threats?

Snakes, birds of prey, predatory mammals

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Warm and dry areas, deserts

Locations

Syria, Greece, Romania, China

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Cricetinae

Family

Cricetidae

Genus

Mesocricetus

Hamster Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hamster?

The hamster (order rodentia) is a kind of rodent. They are hybrid during the nighttime and don't like being disturbed when they are occupied. The hamster is a small animal that is super active.

What class of animal does a hamster belong to?

The hamsters (order rodentia) belong to the mammal class of animals as they give birth to offspring like other mammals. The historical range of this species dates back to around 11 million years in Asia.

How many hamsters are there in the world?

The exact population of the hamster is difficult to know, as they are a popular pet in many countries. They are also found in the wild. There are about 57 million hamsters with 11 million households. These are rough estimates. Some of the most popular species are golden dwarf hamster, long haired Syrian hamster, Chinese hamster, Roborovski dwarf hamster, and European hamster.

Where does a hamster live?

Pet hamsters must be kept in specially designed cages from which they cannot escape. The hamster can be a great pet for a family with young kids, staying in an urban setup like an apartment or a small house.  In the wild, they can be found in Syria, Belgium, northern China, Romania, and Greece.

What is a hamster's habitat?

The hamster's natural habitat is warm, dry areas in the wild. They are also found in steppes, the edge of deserts, and sand dunes. The first hamster to be discovered in the wild was the long haired Syrian hamster or the golden hamster. It was successfully domesticated in 1939. Hamsters are nocturnal and prefer to stay in burrows. In a home setup, a well-built cage with many toys and playthings is ideal for keeping the hamster busy.

Who do hamsters live with?

The hamster is a loner animal. It doesn't adjust well to other hamsters. If more than one hamster is caged together, they may suffer from chronic stress. Only a dwarf hamster tolerates a sibling hamster or if a same-sex unrelated hamster if introduced at an early age.

How long does a hamster live?

The hamster life expectancy ranges between 2-3 years. In the wild, the hamster lifespan is between 1-2 years.

How do they reproduce?

Hamsters are known to be fast maters, female hamsters’ oestrus occurs around every four days. The female will attract a male if he is around by hissing, squeaking sounds. The Syrian hamsters breed seasonally and end up producing many pups in each litter and multiple litters across the year. The gestation period is for 16-25 days for all species. The female hamsters belonging to Chinese or Syrian species are known to be aggressive towards males if kept together for a long time after mating. They will attack the males, which may prove fatal for them. Females are sensitive towards any disturbance while birthing and may eat her own pups if she senses danger.  Although most of the time, she is just carrying them in her cheek pouches. But if the female hamsters are kept for a long time with their younger ones, they may eat their own litter and this is why the litter must be removed by the time the young ones can fend for themselves.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status for the hamsters would be of least concern, as it is a popular pet with a large population spread across the world.

Hamster Fun Facts

What do hamsters look like?

Hamsters look like pretty rodents. They have a small body with silky fur. Hamster tail is short in size along with small furry ears, short stocky legs, and wide feet. They have sharp incisors that need to be worn out regularly. They are super active and adventurous. They can sense movement around them at all times. This sense also protects them in the wild.

A hamster is known to have a short tail.

How cute are they?

The cuteness of hamsters is known to all, and therefore they are one of the most popular small pets to have. They are also active and adventurous, and smart enough to escape their cage if they found an opening. They have poor eyesight, but they can sense movement, which helps them survive in the wild and at home.

How do they communicate?

Hamsters are known to receive sounds by keeping their ears upright. They will also learn sounds from their surroundings and recognize the sound of their food and their voice. They are sensitive to high-pitched sounds and can hear and communicate in ultrasonic ranges. They communicate more so within their body language. They are known to squeak, talk a bit. If you listen to them carefully, you will understand what it is trying to say.

How big is a hamster?

Hamsters are tiny animals and their size range is 4-14 in. They are small like some rats and mice.

How fast can a hamster run?

The hamster can run up to 3-6 mph. The Syrian hamster is the fastest among the hamsters’ species. They are active pets and can run almost five miles in a day.

How much does a hamster weigh?

The European hamster will weigh almost 0.22-1.98 lb. They are tiny animals with proportionate weight. They are not very muscular and have fragile bones too.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male hamsters are called boar and female hamsters are called a sow.

What would you call a baby hamster?

Baby hamsters are called pups.

What do they eat?

Hamsters are known to eat seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, and cracked corn. They can also eat insects, lizards, and other small animals. They are known as food hoarders. They keep food in their spacious cheek pouches. They can store so much in their cheek pouches that their head can double or triple in size. They can be given commercial hamster food for pets. Pet hamsters should not be fed junk food, chocolate, garlic, or any salty sugary foods. They love eating peanut butter.

Are they big eaters?

Hamsters don’t require more than one to two tablespoons of food for a day as a part of their diet. They are known as animals who like to hoard food. Whatever they don't eat, they will hoard food in their cheek pouches, which are quite big.

Would they make a good pet?

They are very good pets for small kids and single people who do not have much time to take care of their pets. Their food requirement is limited and they only need their cages to be cleaned regularly. They are cute and loveable creatures and can be purchase from any pet store. Hamster care is an important aspect of keeping these small animals as pets.

Did you know...

They are known to be active during dawn and dusk, plus nights, too. They tend to sleep during the day.

When you compare hamster versus a guinea pig, you will understand that guineas live three times longer than hamsters.

They are fastidious and keep themselves very clean. Pet owners need to clean their habitat once a month. Even though they are food hoarders, they do not overeat.

Hamster bite incidents occur only when these little animals feel scared.

How many species of hamster are there?

There are 18 species that are classified into seven genera. Some of the popular hamsters as pets are dwarf hamsters, Syrian hamsters or golden hamsters, Roborovski hamster, Campbell’s dwarf hamster, the winter white dwarf hamster (Phodopus sungorus) and more. There are other species that are popular in those regions as pets or can be found in the wild.

Why do hamsters gnaw on things?

Like all rodents, they have extremely sharp incisors which keep growing and need to be worn out. They love to gnaw on things to keep their jaw sharp and because their teeth never stop growing and keep on getting bigger.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including elephant shrew, or porcupine.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Hamster coloring pages.

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