Hamsters make popular pocket pets, but there’s a lot most people don’t know about these pintsized rodents. Here are some fascinating facts about our furry hamster friends:

  • Origins – Hamsters originated in Syria and northern Europe. They were first kept as pets in the 1930s.
  • Pouches – Hamster cheek pouches can stretch to huge capacity, sometimes holding food equal to their entire body weight! This allows them to hoard food.
  • Colors – Hamsters only appear in natural shades like white, brown, grey or black. Multi-colored hamsters have been selectively bred by humans.
  • Tails – Hamster tails are about 1-2 inches long. Chinese hamsters have the shortest tails only about a half inch long!
  • Teeth – Hamsters have 16 teeth with a pair of constantly growing incisors in both their upper and lower jaws. Their teeth never stop growing!
  • Sight – Contrary to popular belief, hamsters are not actually blind. They simply have very poor eyesight and rely on scent and senses.
  • Lifespan – The average hamster lives 2-3 years as pets. Some have been known to live 4-5 years with excellent care.
  • Adaptations – Hamsters have evolved adaptations including flexible cheek pouches, coated fur to repel water, collapsible rib cages, and the ability to run backwards.
  • Wild Habitats – There are 26 species of hamsters across the wild habitats of Europe, Russia, and North China in areas with sandy, dry climates.

From cheek pouch capacity to backwards running, hamsters are full of surprising traits!

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