Hamster Anatomy

7 Cool Things About Your Hamster

For such a small animal, here's 7 things really cool about hamster anatomy.


1. Strong Limbs

We all know hamsters are avid runners. But did you know they are expert diggers, too? In the wilds, hamsters will dig into the ground to build burrows.

Their front legs are especially strong to pull their weight in rocky terrains. Don't under estimate those babies!

2. The Barrel Shape

Hamsters have won our hearts with it's cute minature bearlike, barrel shape. They are affectionately called pocket pets because of their small size.

Their legs are short and body round and hunched. Their face is shorter and more round than most rodents. And their lack of a long tail leaves the hamster looking like a soft, round furball.

Okay, so not exactly surprising. But who could resist that?

hamster anatomy
CC Image courtesy jpockele on flickr

3. Stomachs with an S?

Hamsters have two stomachs! The first stomach does a little prep work on breaking down the food. And the second one gets the job done.

Thanks to this special feature in the hamster anatomy, they can survive with eating seeds, vegetables, and insects.

4. Scent Glands Everywhere

Hamster rely on their scent glands for everything. They use it to mark territory, find their way back home after looking for food, and signaling other hamsters.

And they have many scent glands. Try and brush up the fur close to the back of the eyes. You'll see and feel a red dot which is one pair of glands. All hamsters have a pair of glands behind the eyes and below the ears. Syrian hamsters also have a pair on both sides of the body/flanks. The dwarf hamsters don't have that but do have one under at the tummy called the ventral gland.

Hamsters often run their paws over their head. This may look like grooming but it's also transferring the scent from gland to paw!

Similarly a hamster also secretes saliva, urine, and fecal matter which also assists in marking.

5. Hamster Teeth

As noted in the Rodentia page, all rodents are defined by their continously growing teeth.

Hamsters have to keep chewing to file them down throughout their lives. Sounds like a pain but it also means that they use their teeth not only to eat.

Make sure your cage and toys are chew proof!

6. Hamster Face

The hamster face is a symphony of systems working together. The ears are extremely sensitive and picks up ultrasound. And with all the scent making mentioned above, the hamster is matched with a discriminating nose!

Their eyes are positioned on both sides of the head for better reception of predators. But they generally have poor eyesight and usually color blind. Whiskers and sense of smell does a good job of making up though!

7. Say Cheeks!

Last but not least of the hamster anatomy...hamsters cheeks. Hamsters are famous for their spacious cheeks!

Their skin fits loosely throughout the body but especially around the face. A hamster loves stuffing his face with food to bring back home. The cheeks reach up past the shoulders and it can carry as much as 1/3 of the hamster's weight.

Conclusion on Hamster Anatomy

Of course, the coolest thing about our hamster are their little quirks. But these 7 little features are pretty cool. What do you think are the coolest things about your hamster?








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