Small and interesting, hamsters are one of the world’s most popular pets. But how much do you know about them and their fascinating hamster ways?
Posted: 04 February 2018
Here are eight statements about hamsters. Five of them are TRUE and three of them are FALSE. Can you work out which is which? The answers are below.
1. Hamsters have poor eyesight
TRUE: Hamsters really do have very poor eyesight. As nocturnal animals who enjoy exploring, they rely on other senses to navigate the world around them. On their backs are scent glands that secrete an easily identifiable smell. Hamsters rub their backs against objects, leaving a scent trail, so they can find their way back home. They also have a well-developed sense of hearing, which is useful for keeping a tiny ear open in case a predator is approaching.
2. Hamsters should always be kept on their own
FALSE: With the exception of Syrian hamsters, who are solitary animals and must be housed on their own, other hamster species, such as Dwarf Russian Campbells and Roborovskis, naturally live in groups and, as pets, enjoy the company of other hamsters.
Find out more about different types of hamster and their varying personalities here >>
3. Hamsters teeth never stop growing
TRUE: Without something to chew on, their teeth would grow so long they would injure the roof of the mouth and lips. Hamsters need fun things to gnaw on such as climbing blocks, ladders, bridges and wooden chew blocks.
4. Hamsters are vegetarian
FALSE: In the wild, hamsters eat insects and their diet needs to contain protein.
Hamsters are omnivores, so always feed yours with food that is specially created for them such as Burgess Hamster & Gerbil, a mix of best quality ingredients that includes tasty mealworms and crickets that are rich in natural protein to provide your pets with a balanced food that replicates their natural diet. There’s also a Dwarf Hamster variety.
5. Hamsters carry food in pouches inside their mouths
TRUE: Hamsters have amazing cheek pouches. In the wild, they use them to carry food back to their colony to eater later as a brilliant survival tactic. Pet hamsters retain this behaviour. The Syrian hamster can hoard up to half its body weight in food in its pouches. The word ‘hamster’ comes from the German word ‘hamstern’, which means ‘to hoard’.
6. Hamsters can rotate their whiskers
TRUE: Hamster whiskers are able to vibrate backwards and forwards at rates of up to 30 whisks per second. These movements, known as ‘whisking’ help a hamster gather information about objects in its vicinity.
7. Hamsters can squeeze through small holes
TRUE: Although they look rather round and fluffy, hamsters are adept at flattening their bodies, enabling them to fit through very small holes and crevices. That’s why it’s essential to ensure their accommodation is completely hamster proof and, when spending time out of their cage, a very close eye is kept on these skilled little escape artists.
Find out more about creating an ideal hamster home here >>
8. Hamster’s aren’t very smart
FALSE: Hamsters are intelligent and learn quickly. In fact, they can even be trained to come when food is presented, which can come in very handy for encouraging them back to their cage when they are enjoying time outside it exploring.
Sources: rspca.org, peta.org, livescience.com