30+ Most Common Questions About Hamsters

Hamsters are adorable little pets and are the darlings of families with young kids. These lovely pets live an average of 2-3 years, although some can live longer.

To help you better understand them, we have put together a list of the most common questions people ask about hamsters. They range from what these adorable pets eat to common habits you are sure to witness.

That said, let’s dive in and answer your questions.

everything you need to know about hamsters

How long do hamsters live?

Hamsters on average live for 2-3 years, although some such as Syrian Hamsters can live for up to 4 years. Domesticated hamsters live longer than their wild counterparts due to better nutrition, housing, handling, and veterinary care. However, domesticated hamsters are also prone to illnesses that can shorten their lifespan.

How many types of hamsters are there?

There are 24 hamster species, five of which are common as pets. Some hamster breeds are ideal as solo pets while others enjoy living in groups. The most common hamsters kept as pets include Dwarf Roborovski, Campbell’s Dwarf Russian, Syrian (Golden) Hamster, Dwarf Winter White Russian, and Chinese Hamster.

Which type of hamster is the friendliest?

The Syrian hamster is the friendliest. Syrian hamsters are docile with humans, enjoy being handled, are easy to tame, and are the least likely to bite compared to other popular pet hamsters. These hamsters, however, are territorial. They prefer to be kept alone and constantly fight if housed in groups.

What is the rarest hamster breed?

The rarest hamster breed is the European hamster, also called the common hamster. Scientists have predicted that the European hamster could become extinct in 30 years. The European hamster is aggressive and quick to bite. Unfortunately, they are easily affected by climate change and light pollution.

Why do hamsters hibernate?

Hamsters hibernate during cold seasons (winter), when kept away from daylight for long hours, and due to fluctuating food supplies. On average, hamsters remain in a state of hibernation for 2-4 days. During this stage, the hamster’s metabolic rate and breathing will drop. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a hamster is dead or hibernating.

Can hamsters eat grapes?

Hamsters can eat grapes but only in moderation because they are high in sugar. Too much consumption of grapes can lead to health problems including tooth decay and gastrointestinal complications. Feed your hamsters grapes only as occasional treats but not on a daily basis.

Can hamsters eat strawberries?

It is safe for hamsters to eat strawberries but should only eat them as occasional snacks. Strawberries are high in sugar content, which can cause gastrointestinal issues if a hamster consumes a large amount.

How much do hamsters cost?

Hamsters cost $5-$40 depending on the type of hamster and anything else included in the purchase such as cage and wellness checks. Younger hamsters will cost a little more than older ones because hamsters do not have a long lifespan, which means the earlier you get one as a pet the more time you get to spend together. 

Are hamsters nocturnal?

Hamsters are not nocturnal but crepuscular, which means they are active during twilight hours when there is dim light (lowlight hours) such as dusk and dawn. Hamster’s eyes are dominated by rods, parts that can function in low light. Too much light or total darkness is not good for hamsters and can cause stress.

Can hamsters eat bananas?

Yes, hamsters can eat bananas but in small quantities. Bananas are rich in nutrients such as fiber and vitamins. However, a hamster can experience gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomach, bloating, and diarrhea if they eat too many bananas.

Can hamsters eat carrots?

Yes, hamsters can eat carrots but only in moderation. Carrots are high in sugar and too much consumption can cause issues such as obesity and diabetes. Veterinarians recommend feeding hamsters raw carrots because they contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Why do hamsters eat their babies?

Reasons hamsters eat their babies include a nursing mother being sick, animal cannibalism, deformed or weak babies, a mother’s inability to care for all babies, being kept in tight spaces, scent mix-up, insufficient food, and feelings of stress and fear.

How long do dwarf hamsters live?

Dwarf hamsters live for 2-3 years but lifespan varies for different species. The winter white dwarf hamster lives for 18 months to 2 years, the Campbell’s dwarf hamster’s lifespan is approximately 2 years, while the Roborovski dwarf hamsters can live for 2-3 years.

How long do Syrian hamsters live?

Syrian hamsters, also called Golden hamsters, live for 2-3 years. Domesticated Syrian hamsters can also live for up to 4 years with good care, nutrition, housing, and handling.

Can hamsters eat apples?

Hamsters can eat apples but they should not eat the seeds because they contain cyanide, and too much consumption can easily turn toxic. Apples are low in calories making them the ideal snack for hamsters.

Can hamsters eat cheese?

Hamsters can eat cheese in small quantities because they are high in fat and calorie-dense, which can cause issues such as obesity and diabetes. If you have to feed your hamster cheese, choose one low in fat and salt.

Can hamsters eat blueberries?

Hamsters can eat blueberries but only in moderation. Organic blueberries contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins including vitamins. However, hamsters should not be given frozen blueberries because they can easily choke a hamster.

Can hamsters eat lettuce?

Yes, hamsters can eat lettuce but in moderation. Make sure to wash the lettuce before giving it to your hamster. You should also avoid certain types of lettuce such as iceberg lettuce because they have very little nutritional benefits for your hamster.

Can hamsters eat tomatoes?

Hamsters can eat tomatoes in small amounts. You should only give your hamster tomatoes occasionally and should not be more than half a teaspoon. Excessive consumption of tomatoes can cause health issues for your hamster because they are acidic.

Can hamsters eat watermelons?

Yes, hamsters can eat watermelons in small amounts. Watermelons contain important nutrients and are a great source of hydration. However, make sure the hamster does not eat watermelon seeds. The seeds are slippery, slimy, and hard to digest. They can easily get lodged in a hamster’s throat and can also cause digestive issues.

Why do hamsters bite?

Hamsters bite as a way to defend themselves. Hamsters will often bite when they feel scared or threatened. Hamsters can also bite to protect their babies from what they perceive to be threats. Some hamster breeds are more aggressive than others and females are known to be more aggressive than males.

Why do hamsters die so easily?

Hamsters die easily due to disease susceptibility, heat sensitivity, body deterioration, and poor diet. Environmental factors play a key role in this. Hamsters are also prone to potentially life-threatening illnesses such as wet tail, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

How long do hamsters hibernate?

Hamsters hibernate for 2-4 days on average. However, a continued lack of enough food, warmth, light, or water may make a hamster remain in hibernation for longer, sometimes up to a week. A hamster should not hibernate for too long because they do not store extra calories to survive an extended state of hibernation. They can also suffer from hypothermia when in hibernation, which can be fatal.

Can hamsters see in the dark?

Hamsters can see in the dark. They are crepuscular, which means they are more active at dusk and dawn when there is a very low amount of light. Total darkness for an extended period can trigger a hamster to go into hibernation.

When do hamsters hibernate?

Hamsters hibernate when kept away from daylight for long hours, to survive extremely cold temperatures (below 65°F), and due to fluctuating food supplies. The temperatures must fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours or more for a hamster to go into hibernation. However, some hamster breeds require 1-2 months of continuous cold temperatures to go into hibernation.

How long do teddy bear hamsters live?

The average lifespan of a teddy bear hamster is 2-3 years, but some can live longer. Factors such as nutrition, care, environment, and general health will determine how long a hamster can live.

What fruits can hamsters eat?

Hamsters can eat fruits such as bananas, apples, pears, grapes, berries, and watermelons. However, hamsters should eat these fruits in moderation to avoid health issues. Some fruits contain high amounts of sugar, salts, or acid and too much consumption can cause digestive problems and other complications.

Can hamsters swim?

Yes, hamsters can swim but will instinctively stay away from water unless it is unavoidable. Hamsters should not be exposed to extremely cold water for extended periods to prevent hypothermia, colds, and other health issues.

Can you give hamsters a bath?

There is no need to give a hamster a bath unless it is absolutely necessary. You can help your hamster clean its rear end or trim and brush its fur to keep them clean. Bathing a hamster poses a risk of them catching a cold or suffering from hypothermia.

Can hamsters get COVID?

Yes, hamsters can get COVID. Surprisingly, COVID is one of the diseases that can be passed from hamsters to humans. The latest research indicates that pet trade has played a key role in the spread of the infection.

Why do hamsters run on wheels?

Hamsters run on wheels because it is a way for them to mimic their natural burrowing habits. It helps kill boredom, keep the hamster fit, and releases endorphins to keep the hamster happy and stress-free. 

How long can hamsters go without food?

Hamsters can go without food or water for 3-4 days. However, extended periods without food and water will trigger the hamster to go into a state of hibernation. It is a survival state where the body’s metabolism drops allowing them to conserve the energy reserves in the body.

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