You might be wondering if your tiny hamster friend has a tail at all. I mean, he’s so small and fluffy, and if it’s there you can barely see it. Truth be told, I never looked at my Teddy’s behind a lot, until I stumbled upon this discussion in a group board somewhere.
So, I looked at my Teddy(Syrian male hammy), and I googled around until I could come up with a competent answer on whether hamsters have tails or not. And what they do with them, if they have one.
So do hamsters have tails ?
Yes, hamsters do have tails. They’re very small, and stubby, but they’re definitely there. Hamsters, like all mammals have their spine ending in a sort of tail.
In some mammals, like us humans, the tail became useless and we evolved out of having a tail. We just have the stump at the end of our spine.
Hamsters, on the other hand, still keep their tail. A very short one, but it’s still a tail. Notable is the Chinese hamster, who still has a longer tail. Not nearly as long as a rat’s or mouse’s tail, but much longer than the other Dwarf types, or the Syrian.
Let’s get into how each other hammies have their tails, and how to tell them apart.
Syrian vs Dwarf vs Chinese tails
A Syrian hamster has a short, thin tail. Half an inch/1 cm long, although it’s hard to tell with so much fur going on.
It’s skin colored (usually pink), and completely hairless. Think of a grain of long-grain rice. And pink, fleshy, and attached to your hamster.
It sometimes sticks out of the exercise ball, so you need to be careful what kind of exercise ball you get your hamster, so it doesn’t hurt the hammy. More info on that here.
A Dwarf type’s tail is a bit shorter than the Syrian’s, but it’s covered in fur. It’s colored according to the various color marking he hamster has, and it looks like a tuft of fur on the hammy’s rear.
Of all the tails, I think this is the hardest one to notice since it tends to blend into the rest of the hamster.
Finally, a Chinese hamster’s tail is the longest tail among hamsters. It’s usually about 3 cm/a little over an inch. It’s furry, and the same color as the rest of the hamster.
Important to note here that these hamsters don’e have as many color variations, and are usually a browny color with a dark stripe down their back, with a slim and long body. People often confuse them with mice, although the differences are many.
Why a hamster’s tail is so short
You might be wondering why the hamster has such a short tail. Even the Chinese Dwarf’s got a small tail, and the reasons are not clear.
Aside from an educated guess, I haven’t found info on this.
My guess is that hamsters evolved to have short tails because they no longer needed them. While rats and mice do run, like hamsters, they also do an awful lot of climbing. Their tails help them a lot in that respect.
A hamster on the other hand does not climb as much or as often, and doesn’t seem to need his tail. Your average hamster is more focused on digging burrows and not having anything for a predator to hold onto.
That being said, perhaps there is another, more scientific reason hamsters have such short tails. But, until more research is done, we’re stumped (I hope you like that joke, I’m proud of it).
How your hamster uses his tail
We’ve discussed hamsters not really using their tails for much, so what do they end up using it for ?
As far as I’ve observed my Teddy, he doesn’t seem to actively use it all that much. A tail usually serves to keep a hamster’s balance. But it’s so short it doesn’t seem to matter.
All I’ve seen Teddy do with his tail is curl it up like the weirdest thing when he pees in his corner. As you know, hamsters are very clean animals, and only use a corner in their habitat to pee.
This will be the corner farthest from their hideout and they will use it even if you place a small litter box there.
Aside from this, Teddy’s tail doesn’t seem to have more purpose. If anyone finds more info on this, I’d like to know too.
A few other small facts about the hamster’s body
Alright, we know hammies have tails, and that they don’t do much with them. What other mysteries do hamsters hold ? Let’s see.
Hamsters do have eyelashes
Yes, hamsters have eyelashes. In fact all mammals have eyelashes. Even if they’re very fine and short hairs, the eyelashes are still there.
Now if your hamster’s got dark-rimmed eyes like my Teddy, you might not see them very well. But they’re there, and they’re meant to help catch dust and other particles before they enter the eye.
However, given how furry hamsters are, their lashes aren’t as noticeable as a human’s. Specifically, how long the hair shafts are, compared to the rest of their body.
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Hamster teeth never stop growing
Hammies always have to chew on something, whether they annoy you or not. I know I can’t really stand it when my teddy starts gnawing, but I know he needs to file down his teeth.
You see, hamster teeth (the front pairs) never stop growing. If left unchecked, they can become seriously overgrown and a problem of their own. More on hamster dental problems here.
So your hamster friend always needs to chew on something hard. Preferably not his cage bars, since those are too hard for his teeth, and can break them.
The best things for a hamster to chew on are chew toys, made of wood, or very hard cardboard. You can find here a guide on store bought and DYI hamster chew toys.
Hamsters barely use their eyes
Hammies are nearly blind. Well, they do see, but very poorly. Only directly in front of them, and only a few inches.
Because of this, they have very poor depth perception, and can’t judge distances at all. They can and will jump form a high place and honestly think it’s a safe shortcut to their food bowl.
Hamsters do have bones
This is one that had me chuckling at first, when I heard a friend ask. But the more I thought about it, the more I could understand why a person could ask this.
When you pick a hamster up, it’s a very light creature. When I first got Teddy I had no idea how to hold him, he weighted nothing and I was afraid I’d crush him.
And given how fluffy hamsters are, you can’t really feel their bones very easily.
But yes, hamsters do have bones. Very small, very thin, but still they have bones. They, like all creatures except for insects, have bones and a skeletal structure. The tail we were talking about earlier is a small bone too.
Hamsters are capable of passing gas
Hamsters are cute little things, but they can pass gas. That being said, they don’t necessarily do so openly, lest you hear them and they’ll die of embarrassment.
Seriously though, few people have reported actually hearing their hamster fart. I for one have never heard Teddy. But, given how much fur a hamster has on its rear, and how small the creature is, I doubt it could even be audible.
There was a veterinarian who reviewed this question, and he came to the conclusion that hammies can indeed fart. The more you know !
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies like to keep some things mysterious. You know, to keep you guessing.
If you want to know more info about us hammies, you can read he articles below. You’ll find great info on how to care for us and keep us happy.