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!
The most well-known types of rodents are mice and rats, which – although kept as pets by lots of people! – are often thought of as disease-carrying vermin.
So, are hamsters rodents? And if they are, is that a bad thing?
Is a hamster a rodent?
Yes! Hamsters are rodents.
Rodents are simply a group of mammals that have no canine teeth and strong incisor 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.
Hamsters have four incisor teeth. 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 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!
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”.
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 their cage.