Do you love hamsters?
Following on from the December blog of Five Hamster Facts, here are five more nuggets.
Find out more about our wonderful pets with these five fun facts with a twist! Just read and enjoy, or click on the links to dive deeper.
Most hamster lovers know that hamsters love to dig! How often have you found your hamster has totally redesigned their cage layout overnight?
In the wild the different species show different burrow patterns. Chinese hamsters make metre-long burrows that are 10 to 50cm deep.
Syrians, however, make burrows at around 65cm deep and 200cm long (though they have been described at over 1 metre deep and 9 metres long!)
Hamsters are born furless and with closed eyes and ears. Their eyes open between 12 and 15 days old. Syrian hamsters open their eyes at the later end of this whereas the dwarf species open at the earlier end as per this article.
Remember to leave mum and pups undisturbed until the babies open their eyes. Even though it feels like the longest two weeks ever!
Did you know that hamsters can be optimistic or pessimistic?
This study looked at how hamsters responded in ambiguous situations. They found that hamsters who lived in enriched environments became more optimistic about the likelihood of future reward when faced with uncertain information.
[link to enrichment feeding and hamster toys]
What do white sharks and reindeer have in common with Syrian hamsters?
They are all listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list. A vulnerable species is one which is likely to become endangered if the things that are threatening its survival don’t improve.
Syrian hamsters are found in the Aleppo region of Syria which is subject to unrest and makes their population hard to assess. This article describes their wild distribution in the late 1990s.
Hamsters were originally captured to help with research into human diseases.
In 1957 a researcher removed an ovary from a female Chinese hamster. Cells from this ovary have been grown in laboratories from that day to this – no actual hamsters involved! These Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells have been used to develop medications such as Herceptin, Humira, Factor VIII and erythropoeitin.