What is a hamster?


Hamsters are tiny rodent-like creatures that are common as pets in almost every house.  They are different from other rodents as these little animals have shorter tails, stubby legs, and very tiny ears. These creatures are very much popular among kids who love hamsters to keep as their pets. These small creatures are cute. Hamsters have many different colors, including black, grey, brown, white, yellow, red, or a mixture of several colors. Hamsters are of different species with different appearances and habits. Here we will discuss more facts and features of Hamsters.


Hamsters (scientifically known as Cricetinae) are cute little creatures that are found commonly in every house of a pet lover. Therefore hamsters in captivity have a longer lifespan than those in the wild.

Hamster’s Average Lifespan in the Wild is 2 to 3 years and the Average Lifespan in Captivity has 2 to 4 years. There are 20 types of hamsters in the world. All of them are different in appearance and reside in a variety of different regions ranging from Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. Hamsters in the wild are generally found in agricultural lands, deserts, forests, and plains to dunes. Among the various species of hamsters, the most endangered one is the European hamster.

You might also be interested to know How to clean a hamster cage?

Different species of Hamsters

There are a total of 20 species of hamsters. All of them belong to the same family Cricetidae. The most popular species of hamsters which are kept as a pet in almost every pet lover’s house are:

  • Roborovski Hamster
  • Winter white Russian hamster
  • Dwarf hamster
  • Campbell’s Dwarf hamster
  • Syrian Hamster
  • Chinese hamsters
  • European hamsters
  • Djungarian hamster

These hamsters are small pets with a standard size, 4 to 7 inches long, with the larger females reaching the top end of the scale and males growing as big as 6 inches. Generally, this is also the size of Syrian Hamsters.

Dwarf hamsters come in a variety of species including Campbell’s Russian dwarf, winter white Russian dwarf, and Roborovski dwarf. The Roborovski is the smallest at only 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, while the other dwarf species reach a size of 3 1/2 to 4 inches. The Chinese hamster is not a true dwarf, although he’s often called one — his average size is 4 inches long.

Characteristics and Facts about Hamsters

  • Hamsters are nocturnal and solitary creatures 

Some hamsters, mainly those in the wild, are nocturnal creatures who remain active at night to protect themselves from predators as these creatures are too small to be prey for many big animals. Hamsters also live in tunnels, they burrow in deep tunnels and multiple holes like that to protect themselves and to sleep during the day. These also are solitary creatures who like to spend most of their time alone in their burrows. This is the same with hamsters in captivity, they love to be alone in the cage. They can’t live with other species, even the other types of hamsters in the same cage.

  • Diet and nutrition

Hamsters are omnivores and therefore they eat both plant matter and animal matter like insects and roasted chicken. Hamsters in the wild eat insects, grains, cherries, seeds and grass. Hamsters in captivity get more healthy food including vegetables, nuts, seeds and many more. creatures are sensitive and cannot be fed unhealthy foods as it will cause them serious health issues. Some of the foods which they commonly consume:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflower seed
  • Yoghurts
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanuts( healthy ones)
  • Mealworms

These creatures are sensitive and cannot be fed unhealthy foods as it will cause them serious health issues.

Interesting Facts

  • Hamster teeth are constantly growing To them at their healthy length, providing plenty of chew toys and chew sticks to help naturally wear them down.
  • Hamsters tend to keep their habitats tidy, generally relieving themselves in one or two specific corners, making it easy to litter box train them or at least scoop out soiled bedding every day to keep their spaces clean.
  • Most hamsters are very fast runners, and the shape and size of their hind feet allow them to run backward as well.
  • Hamsters naturally like to hide. Provide them with plenty of substrate for burrowing under in their habitat and a hollow hideaway where they can relax.
  • Hamsters can be easily amazed. They can be very aggressive if they are touched suddenly. So it’s better to Always approach your hamster from the side, use your voice and call their name to alert them that you are approaching.
  • Hamsters are serious about their cleanliness and they keep their body clean. But if something sticks in their fur then it’s a responsibility of an owner to do their part by washing their entire habitat once a month with warm, soapy water (avoid irritating ammonia-based cleansers). Some hamsters benefit from Sand baths.


Hamsters are lovely pets to have and more than that they are less expensive pets. They are advantageous to have as they are low-maintenance creatures who are fun to have especially to those people who awake very late at night. These hamsters are a good companion to awake late at night as they are nocturnal. Hamsters can be a good option to keep as a pet if a person doesn’t want much on their budget and has very little space.


Do hamsters make a good pet to have?

Hamsters can be an excellent pet for pet lovers as they are very easy to take care of with low maintenance. They don’t even need much care and attention. These cute little hamsters can clean themselves on their own. Many kids love to have them and it’s not any problem to have them. Therefore, these hamsters are very good pets.

Do hamsters know their owners?

Hamsters when brought to a house for the first time, it takes time for them to know their owners. They don’t know them and that is why they become scared and furious at the sudden approach of their owners but with time after they become friendly with their owners, they start recognising them.

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