Hamsters are cute little animals that are very playful and active. And not just that, they have so many interesting facts related to them that are going to amaze you.
We have listed some hamster facts for kids in this article. Read them with your kids and gain more insights into this popular pet animal.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Hamsters for Kids
Kids love keeping pets. To keep them engaged and teach them how to care for their pets, you can get your kids a hamster. It will keep them busy and they will have fun. The Syrian hamster is the best pet option among all the hamsters.
1. They store food in their cheeks
The hamsters can store large amounts of food in their cheek pouches. They can carry food almost the weight of their own body in their cheeks. They do this because they are often vulnerable to predators in the wild.
That is why they prefer to collect food and return to their burrows to eat it later. They store food for winters during autumn as they enter partial hibernation during winters.
2. They live like humans
The hamsters build their burrows with a sequence of tunnels and chambers. In those chambers, they have areas separated for sleeping, eating and excreting just like the humans have separate rooms for their dining and sleeping.
Their burrows are up to a metre deep in length. They have a separate food stash where they keep all the stored food collected.
3. They can run backwards
The hamsters run very fast. Some of the species can even run back as fast as they can run forward. This is because of the shape of their hind feet. This allows them to go quickly back into their burrows when approached by some danger from their front.
Since they have poor eyesight, their feet are their saviours. They love to run while in captivity as well to get rid of the excess energy. That is why they love exercise wheels.
4. They are not actual hibernators
Hamsters can not be categorised as hibernators. Although, during winters, they do prefer to keep themselves in their burrows and block the entrances and exits of their burrows with soil.
They survive on the food they store during the falls. They wake up once a week to eat. The golden hamster is known to breathe just twice in a minute. Their heart rate drops as well.
5. They prefer dry areas to live
While in the wild, the hamsters prefer dry and warm places to live. These can be deserts, sand dunes and steppes. Discovered in Syria, these tiny creatures are also found in Belgium, Romania, Greece, and northern China.
They reside in the deserts of these places. They are terrific diggers. They build burrows with one or more entrances.
6. They are nocturnal animals
Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active during the evening. This is another reason for them to be better pets for your kids. Since the kids are busy in school during the daytime. They can play with the hamsters when they get free in the evening.
Since they are energetic pets, they keep their owners engaged in play and are the favourites of the kids.
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7. They are antisocial
Hamsters are territorial. They do not like the intrusion of any other hamster into their territory. They become violent and aggressive when that happens. They are solitary creatures. They do not happen to like their own kind much.
Even though they are antisocial, they happen to like the human company. The pet hamsters can well adjust with their owners and can even be trained by them.
8. Hamsters are blind at birth
Hamsters are blind at birth. They cannot open their eyes until they are about two weeks old. That is why they stay in burrows until old enough to see and go out to collect their own food or build burrows.
The adult hamsters have poor eyesight as well. They can see until a few inches in front of them. That is why they prefer safer places to eat in the wilds and return as soon as possible to their burrows after collecting food.
9. They have scent glands
Since the hamsters have poor eyesight, to trace their way back to their burrows, they leave scent marks all their way. They have scent glands in their back from where they release the scent.
It is also used to communicate with other hamsters or locate them. The glands are more distinguished in male hamsters than the females.
10. They love to exercise
Hamsters are full of energy. Since they are nocturnal animals, they are active during the night and therefore need some activities to shed their energy. The pet hamsters can get restless in captivity due to this very reason.
That is why they are provided with exercise wheels in which they can run. On average, the hamsters cover 5 and a half miles running on these wheels overnight.
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11. Their teeth keep on growing
They have natural teeth since birth and keep the exact set till they die. Their incisors keep on growing. Hamsters keep chewing almost all the time to avoid their teeth growing too big. That is why your hamster pet can be seen chewing on vegetables like carrots.
When they are not chewing on food, they can start chewing their cage bars. If they do not do so, their teeth can grow big enough to make it difficult for them to eat or even open their mouth.
What are the different types of Hamsters
There are wild hamsters and then there are pet hamsters. There are 19 different types of hamsters in total as mentioned below:
- Syrian Hamster
- Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
- Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster
- Winter White Dwarf Hamster
- Chinese Hamster
- Chinese Striped Hamster
- European Hamster
- Ciscaucasian Hamster
- Gansu Hamster
- Greater Long-Tailed Hamster
- Eversmann’s Hamster
- Grey Dwarf Hamster
- Kam Dwarf Hamster
- Long-tailed Dwarf Hamster
- Mongolian Hamster
- Sokolov’s Dwarf Hamster
- Tibetan Dwarf Hamster
- Turkish Hamster
- Romanian Hamster
Best Hamsters for Kids
There are 19 species of hamsters known worldwide. But not all of them are human friendly. Four species among them are best to be domesticated and kids love them.
1. Syrian Hamsters
They are the best choice among the hamsters to get as a pet. They are approximately 7 inches long that are easy to handle by the kids. They are also known as golden hamsters. It is better to keep them as individual pets since they are antisocial.
2. Dwarf Hamsters
In comparison to the Syrian hamsters, these hamsters are social and can live in pairs. They are inexpensive as well. They are quick and are suitable for teenagers to handle. These are can grow up to a length of 4 inches.
3. Roborovski Hamsters
They are new to domestication. They are not very easily handled. That is why they are not a popular choice among pet keepers. They are the smallest hamsters that grow up to a body length of merely 2 inches. They live up to 3 years which is the longest among the hamsters. They are social if kept with other hamsters since birth.
4. Chinese Hamsters
They are also not a popular pet choice since it is difficult to breed them. They are also called striped hamsters. They are similar in looks to a mouse. They are fast and shy. They prefer living in large spaces where they can hide well. They are antisocial towards their own kind but very friendly towards their keepers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The hamsters are full of energy. In captivity, they tend to become restless so they need exercises like running on wheels to be less anxious.
The hamsters prefer dry areas of deserts for living.
Hamsters are commonly known as colour blind. They can not differentiate between two colours. However, some hamsters are found to be sensitive to green and blue light.
A hamster goes by the scientific name of Cricetinae.
They are omnivorous and can eat both meat and plant products.
Hamsters eat 1 – 2 tablespoons of food during 24 hours of time on average.
They are prone to predators in the wild and so they store the food in their cheek pouches and eat it after returning to their nesting area.
Syrian Hamsters which are the largest species of hamsters can grow up to a body length of 7 inches.
The hamsters have short tails which are 1/16 part of their body length.
A healthy hamster sleeps around 6 – 8 hours a day.
Hamsters are classified as rodents.
A hamster’s brain is just the size of a pea.
Hamsters are very intelligent. You can train your pet hamsters to perform some tricks as well.
Hamsters live up to the age of a maximum of 2.5 years.
They can swim but the water is not good for them. They lose their natural oils if cleaned with water.
Loud music often stresses them out but they like some classical, pop and metal rock music as well if played on a low volume.
The hamsters have known to come from Syria, Belgium, Greece, Romania and northern China.
Hamsters are known to be nocturnal as they prefer to sleep during the daytime.
So these were the surprising hamster facts for kids. We hope that this article gives you many interesting hamster facts and also helps you in deciding whether to get this cute animal as a pet for your kids or not.