Hamsters are cute little critters! They are popular pets with children and adults alike and tend to be very popular with those who are looking for low-maintenance, exciting animals to keep at home. Often very easy to please, to keep healthy and to entertain, there are various breeds of hamster which continue to find their way to homes all over the world.
Here are a few interesting facts about hamsters which might just surprise you. Have a read through before you adopt one of your own!
There are 24 known species of hamsters in the world. The most popular for pets are Syrian hamsters and Russian Dwarf hamsters. Syrians are larger, tend to be ginger-coloured and are more solitary, while Russian Dwarf hamsters tend to come in pairs and are much smaller.
Hamsters have only been pets in the US since the 1930s. Funnily enough, they were first imported into the country from Syria back in 1936.
They live in the wild, too. In fact, you will find wild hamsters all over the world. You can find them scurrying around China, Greece, and Belgium. Therefore, it’s not unheard of to see a rogue hamster on the run on the continent!
A hamster is a food-hoarder by nature. They are able to cram pockets on the insides of their cheeks with food, meaning that they can easily access it for sustenance at a later time. They are much like squirrels in this regard.
Unlike many other creatures, a hamster’s teeth will never stop growing. Therefore, pet owners are advised to look for toys and treats which they can use to help wear down their teeth so they don’t get too long or pointy!
It’s entirely possible for a hamster to learn its own name. While they may not be as intelligent as dogs in this regard, you can encourage a hamster to learn words and to respond to them if you use them often enough.
Hamsters tend to be shy, retiring creatures which will startle very easily. Therefore, it is always a good idea to move slowly around them and to use a soft tone of voice when speaking to them.
Hamsters tend to eat all fruit and vegetables, though they don’t make up the majority of their diet. It’s good to vary things a bit with prescribed hamster food.
Hamsters love exploring and running around. That’s why so many pet owners build mazes and set up wheels for them – they really are little bundles of energy!
Hamsters are actually nocturnal, which means it is most likely that you will see or hear them during the night. If you sleep in the same room as a hamster, don’t find it too surprising to hear their wheel spinning around after dark!
Believe it or not, it is illegal for you to own a hamster in some states of the US. In California and Hawaii, for example, you won’t be able to take them home with you. There’s a very specific reason for this, and it’s because hamster breeding in the wild could cause serious issues for the states’ ecosystems.
Wild hamsters are omnivores and are known to feast on frogs and lizards! However, domesticated hamsters will normally eat corn and nuts, though you should make sure to keep their diets fairly rich in protein.
A hamster pregnancy is extremely short, in that it will generally last between two and three weeks.
The word hamster actually derives from a German verb. The verb in question, ‘hamster’, literally translates as ‘to hoard’. That, of course, describes how hamsters generally handle their food!
Hamsters tend to prefer sleeping in small, tight spaces, which is why it is perfectly reasonable to set up little dens for them in the housing you set up. They like to feel safe, but to give them extra security, make sure you use paper shreddings or anything guaranteed to be free from dust.
Hamsters have terrible eyesight! They are born without sight at all, and even when they grow up, they are remarkably short-sighted. Chances are it will only be able to see you if you’re up really close. Don’t frighten them!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about hamsters that we’ve not mentioned? Share them here in the comments section below!