Is a hamster a rodent?

by Hamster Care

A lot of hamster owners wonder whether their pets are rodents. They often ask the question “is a hamster a rodent?” with some nervousness… Probably because “rodents” don’t exactly have the best reputation! But you still have this question in your mind – Is a hamster a rodent or not?

The most well-known types of rodents are mice and rats, which – although kept as pets by lots of people!

So, are hamsters rodents? And if they are, is that a bad thing?

Is a hamster a rodent?

Yes! Hamsters are rodents.

Hamsters are originally from arid/semiarid areas of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The most common breed of hamster today originates from the wild Syrian hamster, or golden hamster, a rodent of the subfamily Cricetinae. They were successfully bred and domesticated in 1939. Their average lifespan is around 2 – 3.5 years.

The most common breeds are the golden or Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auretus), and the Dwarf hamster.

Hamsters have four incisor teeth. Rodents are simply a group of mammals that have no canine teeth and strong incisor the teeth that constantly grow throughout their lives (the fact that hamsters have teeth that never stop growing is one of our favorite hamster facts!).

In humans, incisor teeth are the four front teeth in both the top and bottom rows. This means humans have a total of eight incisor teeth. – are often thought of as disease-carrying vermin. They’re located at the front of their mouths, with two incisors in the top row of teeth and two incisors in the bottom row.

What other animals are rodents?

Rodents are actually the most common type of mammal. Approximately 40 percent of all mammal species are usually rodents.

Other types of rodents include rats, mice, squirrels, guinea pigs, porcupines and beavers.

Is it bad to be a rodent?

No! Just because some wild rodents – particularly rats – are associated with disease, that doesn’t mean that rodents are in any way “dirty” or that you should be put off keeping them. Hamsters make great pets!

Hamsters move at a slow rate so that children can easily grab them. When they are mishandled, they can become stressed, especially if they are startled awake, which may cause them to bite you. Hamsters do well on their own, but depending on the breed and sex, they can get along with other hamsters. Outside of its cage, do not leave your hamster unattended; they are prone to chewing on wires, floorboards, furniture, and carpet.

As we’ve explained above, being a rodent simply means that your hamster shares continually growing incisor teeth with other animals, so we group them together with those animals in a group we call “rodents”.

Hamsters can be placed in glass aquariums or wire cages that have solid bottoms and wires that are close enough together to prevent escape (1/4 to 1/2 inch depending on the size of your hamster or mouse). For your sake, we suggest an enclosure that is easy to clean, especially if it will be done by a (supervised!) child. Avoid plastic enclosures because your pet will likely chew right through it in no time.

Finally, because your hamster’s incisor teeth constantly grow, they need to chew a lot! Chewing helps to grind the hamster’s teeth down and stops them from getting too long. However, you should never let your hamster chew the bars of these cages. Moreover, a sipper bottle attached to the outside of the cage is required to avoid chewing.

Rodents have been domesticated for hundreds of years. Selective breeding has not only resulted in a wide range of popular colors and patterns, but it has also resulted in differences between wild rodents and those kept as pets. For these reasons, it is preferable to purchase a rodent, or a hamster, from a credible pet shop.

By HamsterCare.Net

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