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Helen's Hamster Site
Anatomy of a Hamster
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I'm sorry but it's only the head of the hamster!

Eyes
Hamsters have a poor sense of sight despite having large protruding and round eyes. They are near sighted, and hence are unable to see objects that are in close range. However, the lateral position of their eyes meant that they can see a wide angle of vision, and are able to spot movements of other animals and predators from a greater perceived distance.

Hamsters are rumoured to be colour blind, being able only to see in different shades of black and white. They are also believed to be nearly blind in bright daylight. Some also believed that hamsters with red or ruby eyes have a poorer eye sight than hamsters with black eyes.

Ears
To compensate for a hamster's poor eyesight, a hamster's sense of hearing is very well developed. Hamsters are able to hear a wide range of sounds, including sounds made in the ultrasonic frequencies This helps hamsters to communicate with each other without being heard by other animals.

The hamster's sense of hearing is so keen that they can often be seen to freeze when they hear unfamiliar sounds or noises. Therefore, they should be kept away from loud noises, especially when they are transported outside the home.

A hamster's ears are delicately thin and can be easily bitten by other hamsters should a fight occurs. 

Nose
Hamsters have an acute sense of smell, and they can distinguish one another by their distinct scents. They also makes use of the distinct musklike liquid produced from their scent glands to identify other hamsters as well as to mark their territory. They may also be able to tell the sex of another hamster through their sense of smell.

Due to hamsters' keen sense of smell, they can also recognise their owners when they are handled often. If you carry a hamster before handling another one, the second hamster may also pick up the previous hamster's scent from your hands. They may also give you a nip on your finger if your hand smells of food. For these reasons, you should always wash your hands before handling your hamster

Cheek Pouches
Hamsters got their name from the word 'hamper', which means 'to hoard', as a result of this interesting feature of their anatomy.

Hamsters use their cheek pouch to collect and transport food and nesting material from one place to another. When emptying their cheek pouch, they will use their forepaws to push the contents from the back of the cheek pouch forwards. This is especially important in the wild, as the cheek pouch enables a hamster to hoard and store food in winter, and when food supplies are low.

The skin lining a hamster's cheek pouch is dry and tough, and digestive processes such as salivating on the food do not occur in the cheek pouch, ensuring that the food stored in the pouch remains dry and fresh. The bristly texture of the cheek pouch's skin also prevents food from falling out into their mouth.

Whiskers
A hamster's sensory whiskers helps it to navigate around its surroundings and detect objects around its environment. Whiskers, or vibrissae, are found not only on the face but also on the sides of the body. A hamster's whiskers helps the nocturnal animal to move and feel around its surroundings with ease in the nighttime. 

Mouth/Teeth
Hamsters are classified as rodents because they have enlarged, chisel-shaped upper and lower front incisors that grow throughout their lives. Falling or broken teeth is not a sign of old age, but a condition that needs veterinary attention. A hamster's mouth contains 16 teeth - four incisors and 8 molars.

Because a hamster's incisors continue to grow throughout its life, they need to gnaw continuously to grind the teeth down. Overgrown teeth is a painful condition and will prevent a hamster from closing its mouth properly.

A hamster may sometimes bite parts of its cage (such as the wire bars, water bottle and wheel) if they do not have sufficient gnawing materials. Supply your hamster with sufficient gnawing toys, wood chews, nibblers and hard foods such as corn cob to satisfy their need for gnawing.

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