5 Things You Never Knew About Your Hamster

Hamsters are like, a gateway drug to the joys of pet ownership: they open the door to bigger small furries like rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs. But did you know that your hamster is much "deeper" than it looks?
By Vince Wong
Published on Tuesday, 25 June 2019

We all know hamsters can pack a picnic lunch in their mouths and more. In fact, who hasn't enjoyed watching pet hamsters stuff their faces like there's no tomorrow? It's amazing how big these cheek pouches can get (the German term "hamstern" means "to hoard)! Just watch some of them go at it:

 

Sure, everyone knows hammies have big mouths. But did you also know these other facts about hamsters?

1. There's a hamster Adam and Eve

The entire blood line of all Syrian hamsters currently living can be traced back to a single brother-sister pairing. Eew. At the same time, female Syrian hamsters are known for being aggressive toward males if kept together for too long after mating. We wonder why.

2. A hamster can catch your cold

While cats and dogs do pass some of the diseases that afflict them to humans, they catch comparatively few from us in return. 

Not so for hamsters, who can catch colds just like humans - and from humans.  Symptoms can include a runny nose, fever, fatigue, discharge from eyes/snoot and sneezing. So if you are sick, avoid playing with your hamster(s) until you are well again.

3. Hamsters can run several miles a night on their wheels

Some say their hammies can run more than 5 miles in a single night! That's nearly as far as Mount Everest is high! Hammies are seriously fit, you guys. And buff, too. No kidding, they are ripped AF. 

4. Hamsters get moody too

Is your hammy bitier than usual? Chances are, it's feeling the blues.

Click here for the sciencey explanation; or don't. To sum up, some people with pHDs, spiffy white coats and much concern for animal welfare decided to measure how hammies feel about drinking mystery water (bottles were given that contained either sweet or bitter water). Hammies who had more toys and comfy bedding were more likely to take a chance on the water being bitter than if they had their toys and bedding taken away.

All we learnt is that hammies have feelings too. So don't be mean to your hammies.

5. They eat their own sh*t

Lastly, hamsters are coprophagic, which means they eat their own fecal matter. For, uh, nutritional reasons. Urm... yea.  That's all we have to say about that.

Oh, that and they do this most often at night, so if you hear your hamster taking a break from its nocturnal ultramarathon, odds are it's having a wee, a poo and maybe a midnight snack.