Teddy bear hamsters are easy to handle pets that are quite cute. Not only are they adorably tiny but also cuddly and sociable little creatures making them a favorite with children as well as adults.
These characteristics are what earned them the name ‘Teddy Bears’. They are also called golden hamsters.
If you are interested in knowing a little more about them, read along for a whooping 25 amazing facts!
25 Facts About Teddy Bear Hamsters
1. The name originates from a German word
The name hamster originated from the word ‘hamstern’ which is a German word that means ‘to hoard’. Hamsters are known as hoarders.
They have pockets in their cheeks called pouches that they use to stuff food to carry it into hiding for eating later. The pouches can stretch far enough to make their cheeks the same size as their shoulders and their heads to look twice bigger.
2. Live for 2-3 years
Hamsters do not live for long. Their average lifespan is 2-3 years. This makes them mature quite faster compared to other pets.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest pet hamster lived in the UK to the age of 4.5 years.
3. Are clean animals
Hamsters are clean animals and they will groom themselves regularly. They will use their paws and tongues to clean up whenever they feel necessary including after you have touched them.
This is a common habit among many pets including cats where they bath after you hold them. They will do it not because they don’t like you touching them but because they want to get rid of your scent and remain with theirs, so no hard feelings there.
4. Prefer sand baths to water baths
Hamsters cannot have water baths because they should not come into contact with water. Water can make them sick and it removes natural oils from their coat.
Hamsters enjoy having sand baths which are also safe for them. The sand helps in cleaning up their fur while getting rid of any odors and stuck matter they may have because it’s rough.
5. Females hide their children in pouches
Hamsters are prey animals and they are always alert in case of predators that could come from any direction. When they sense danger, females will stuff their young ones in their cheek pouches.
They will do this to protect them for the time being and to carry them to safety.
6. Give birth to a lot of babies at once
Teddy bear hamsters are fast breeders with a short gestation period of 16 -17 days. They can give birth to a litter of up to 15 young pups.
Males should be kept separately after a mother gives birth because they can get pregnant again almost immediately.
7. Teeth grow throughout their life
Hamsters have fascinating teeth that have open roots. This makes their teeth grow all through their lives.
They will need something to chew on regularly to avoid overgrowth which is painful and leads to health complications. They should always be provided with chew toys to maintain the length of their teeth.
8. Are nocturnal
Nocturnal means more active at night. Hamsters will sleep for most of the day and be awake and active at night.
If they have a wheel in their cage, you should keep the cage far from your bedroom. This will prevent being woken up by the wheel’s noises and your pet squeaking during the night as they run in it.
9. Can run as long as 6 miles at night
Hamsters love running and that’s why their most common toys are wheels and exercise balls. They can run in their wheels for almost 6 miles a night.
10. Are rodents
Hamsters are rodents and rodents make up to 40% of all mammal species. Fellow common rodents are rats, mice, guinea pigs, and gerbils.
11. First discovered in Syria
All Syrian hamsters are descendants of a sister and brother. The hamsters were imported from Aleppo, Syria in 1930 by a University of Jerusalem zoologist named Israel Aharoni.
This is why they are commonly referred to as Syrian hamsters.
12. Very active
Hamsters are very active animals and they will require regular exercise. They will play around their cage into the night.
They need to be provided with enrichment toys for mental and physical stimulation like exercise balls and wheels to use up their high energy levels. If not, they will become destructive from the pent up energy.
13. Have poor sight
Hamsters have poor eyesight and they cannot see anything that is beyond a few inches away. They are also color blind.
This makes them rely heavily on their other senses of smell and hearing to recognize anything.
14. Females are larger than males
Female hamsters are bigger than the males and they do fight away the males mostly after mating. They also smell more than males especially when they are in heat which happens every 4 days.
15. Very territorial
Teddy bear hamsters are very territorial to the point of fighting off other hamsters if they are put in the same cage. They can fight each other to death.
They should be separated as they get to 6 weeks of age when their territorial nature begins to show.
16. Mature very fast sexually
They mature very fast sexually with males maturing faster than females. Sexual maturity occurs between 6-8 weeks when you should separate them to avoid mating.
17. strong sense of smell
Hamsters have a really powerful sense of smell making it their main sense. They have been said to smell as far as 30 meters away.
They use smell for various purposes like communicating with each other, finding hidden foods, knowing if a predator is nearby, recognizing their owners, and even navigating their surroundings with ease.
18. The biggest hamster breed
Teddy bear hamsters are the biggest hamster breed. They grow to 5-7 inches while their dwarf hamster counterparts grow to 2-4 inches.
19. Can bite
Hamsters can bite. They do it as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened and scared. For instance, they can bite you if you startle them or even try to wake them up as they sleep.
The bites can be hard enough to draw blood so you should be careful not to disturb your pet when they are not in the mood to play.
20. Natural burrowers
Hamsters are identified as burrowers. In the wild, they will burrow in the desert sand to take cover from the heat and predators.
Hamsters create tunnels underground leading to different burrows that they use for various purposes like hiding food, sleeping, having bathroom breaks, mating, and giving birth.
You should recreate this natural environment in their cages using a lot of bedding and tunnels. They will enjoy burrowing to hide the foods you give them and also to hide when they sense danger.
21. Eat fruits, veggies, and insects
Hamsters can eat many human foods including veggies like broccoli, fruits like mangoes, herbs like basil, and insects like maggots. They are identified as omnivorous.
22. Love hiding
Hamsters love hiding and they can hide a lot, sometimes even from you. This is brought about by their instinctual nature of hiding from predators.
They will hide whenever they are scared like when they sense predators around or even when escaping from a fight.
This is why you should always provide your pet with somewhere to hide whenever they feel threatened or they will get stressed if they have nowhere to seek cover.
23. Require regular hair brushing and trimming
Teddy bear hamsters have hair that grows very long. In males, it will grow even longer towards their back to form a skirt.
Although they are self groomers, their hair will need regular brushing and trimming to prevent overgrowing. If it gets too long it becomes harder to manage and get rid of tangles or matted hair which is painful.
The hair grows quite fast and at 5-7 weeks, it can grow as long as 3-4 inches.
24. The most common hamster species
Teddy bear hamsters are the most commonly kept hamster breed. This is because they are friendly to their owners, love being held, and are very furry which makes them fun to cuddle and pet.
25. Illegal to keep in Hawaii
The temperatures in Hawaii are similar to the desert temperatures of their natural habitats. If they were to escape into the wild, they would breed very fast and pose a threat to native plants and animals.
This makes it illegal to own pet hamsters in Hawaii. Not only hamsters, but gerbils are also illegal pets in Hawaii.
There you go with 25 amazing facts about hamsters. Hope you enjoyed learning more about these furry teddy bears.
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