Interesting Facts about Hamsters – Although they are popular pets in many countries, the domestication of hamsters is relatively recent: it was only in the 1930s that hamsters became family mates when a zoologist encountered a hamster mother and her cubs in the desert on the outskirts of Aleppo, in Syria. These rodents that fit in the pocket are docile and easy to care for.
Interesting Facts about Hamsters
Native to the Asian deserts, the Syrian hamsters, as the name implies, originate in Syria, while the Roborovski Hamster – also known as Dwarf Campbell – comes from the Russian steppes. Other species of hamsters come from China and Mongolia.
Hamsters carry food inside their cheeks, which led to their name, from the German word “hamstern” (store).
The body of a hamster is usually “dumpy”, with strong legs and broad feet. His cheeks fall on his shoulders on either side. Small, pointed ears and short tails are typical, although there may be small differences between species. The common hamster is the largest, reaching up to 30 cm, while the desert dwarf is the smallest, measuring between 7.5 cm and 10 cm. Hamsters are colorblind and therefore have poor depth perception and insight. They see a distance of only 15 cm and, to compensate, have scent glands in the ribs or abdomen (depending on the species) and leave a trail of aroma to find the path of the burrow. The teeth of hamsters grow throughout their life.
Like other domesticated animals, hamsters react to the name they receive if you teach them. They remind the litter brothers and the mothers. If trained, they find food and water and use toys.
Some female hamsters can have puppies from five weeks and give litters from 4 to 12 at a time. Males are able to breed from 10 to 14 weeks. It is not possible to castrate or sterilize, so to prevent them from proliferating, separate the males from the females. The gestation lasts between 15 and 16 days and the puppies are weaned from 21 to 25 days. The temperature regulation helps determine the sex of the puppies. Keeping the female warmer will result in more males while keeping her at cooler temperature produces more females.
Relatively disease free, this rapidly proliferating rodent is useful for science. Their friendly behavior and easy care make them popular among researchers. Because they have a remarkably similar cardiovascular system to humans, researchers often use hamsters in cardiology research.
Hamsters live between two and three years and prefer temperatures in their cages between 18º and 26º, and relative humidity between 40% and 70%. These little rodents are more active in the twilight (before sunrise or sunset), so play with them at these times. Hamsters like labyrinths and wheels (treadmills) for exercising.