Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

can hamsters see in the dark

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You have probably noticed that your pet hamster is most active at nighttime. Indeed, hamsters are nocturnal. But, Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

Some animals are blind, like the vole, and nocturnal. As a matter of fact, hamsters can see in the dark… just not particularly well. They see best with lighting that is medium-low. This means that their vision is clearest at dawn or dusk.

Can hamsters see in the dark? Actually, hamsters have poor eyesight in general! To make up for this, their other senses are extra-keen. They have an extraordinary sense of hearing, as well as an impressive sense of smell! Hamsters can see in the dark, just not very well.

can hamsters see in the dark?
Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

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Hamsters Have Poor Eyesight In General

Hamsters rely on their eyesight very little. They are born blind, and once their vision develops, it does not improve a whole lot from there.

Adult hamsters can see no further than a few inches in front of their nose in lighting conditions that are ideal. They can hardly see at all in bright sunshine or pitch black.

As a result of their poor eyesight, hamsters can sometimes come to harm. A fall is perhaps the biggest risk. This in mind, keep ramps and the like down low.

Your hamster will not be able to recognize your face from a distance. To let them know who is there, you may wish to speak to them softly when you enter the room. It’s said that Hamsters, rabbits and other small pets have the ability to recognize their owner’s voice? I can’t confirm that but many people do believe it’s true.

Are hamsters Nocturnal?

Hamsters live almost their entire lives by the light of the moon. They are nocturnal. The wee hours are when all of their activities take place. This includes burrowing, foraging, mating, and so on.

At night, wild hamsters have to look out for other nocturnal animals, such as snakes, owls, weasels, wildcats, and more. For their safety, every hamster will create its own burrow.

These burrows eventually become tunnel systems that are quite complex. There is not much light underground, as you can imagine. Instead of their vision, hamsters rely on their senses of hearing and smell.

Hamsters can hear lizards and grubs to potentially eat, and intruders as well. They can sniff out other hamsters, or use their powerful little noses to find grains, nuts, seeds, and the like.

Teddy bear hamster

Hamsters See Best at Dawn and Dusk

Because hamsters do require some light to see, the best hours for their vision are dawn and dusk. Bright sunlight will merely hurt their eyes, and they are unable to see much in the pitch black. The latest and earliest hours create a light-glow that, for hamsters, is ideal.

This is usually when a hamster will venture forth from their burrow. They do this to forage for food like seeds, grains, hay, and the like.

Their vision will alert them to basic movement and shapes, but they will also depend heavily on their senses of hearing and smell.

Pet Hamsters Are Also Most Active At Nighttime

You have probably noticed that your pet hamster is the most active at nighttime. Even domesticated hamsters are nocturnal. For the darker hours, hamsters appreciate some sort of gentle light source (such as a nightlight).

They should also have plenty to occupy them while they are active. For this, the first thing they will need is an exercise wheel. This will allow them to get out their energy, even when you are asleep and they are awake.

Some people prefer to keep their hamster cage far from their bedside. This is because you can often hear hamsters scurrying about at night as they play and are the most active. To reduce any possible noise, try oiling the exercise wheel or use a silent wheel available from Amazon.

Can Hamsters See In The Dark? 1
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Make sure that your hamster has plenty of toys to play with and wood blocks to chew. They need to be entertained constantly and just like humans, they live a happier life if kept healthy and entertained.

Hamsters Can Hear Exceptionally Well

What hamsters lack in eyesight, they make up for in their ability to hear. Their specially-tuned ears pick up on predators approaching long before they reach them. In fact, hamsters have hearing capability far beyond even our own!

They communicate with a series of squeaks and other sounds that to most other animals are inaudible. This allows them to communicate in private.

Hamsters use this method of communication to warn each other in the case of a predator or other risk.

Because hamster ears are so sensitive, it is important to take this into consideration with your pet hamster in your home. Keep them away from loud electronics, like a TV.  A noisy environment will prevent your hamster from being able to relax.

When interacting with your hamster, you should always use a gentle tone.

Music is something that hamsters tend to be fond of. They are known to love classical, and alternative. They prefer music that is peaceful. A few will even enjoy rock music.

Read our latest article: Do hamsters like music? If so, what type?

You can use music to soothe your hamster if they are experiencing anxiety. Music can serve as a distraction from dog barks, thunderstorms, and the like.

Hamsters Have A Keen Sense of Smell

Second to hamster hearing is their sense of smell. First and foremost, they use this sense to communicate. All hamsters release pheromones, which hamsters sniff, and thereby read, to procure information.

Scent is how hamsters recognize their young and other hamsters that they know.

When it comes to finding food, hamsters will also follow their nose. They can sniff out seeds and grains, fruits and veggies, hay, grubs, and more. Hamsters can easily differentiate between food that has gone bad and that which is fresh. They store only the highest-quality food (by hamster standards) in their burrow.

Conclusion: Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

So, can hamsters see in the dark? Yes! However, they cannot see in the dark particularly well. In fact, they have poor eyesight in general. They make up for this with a remarkable sense of both hearing and smell. With their nose and ears, they can find their way about in the dark.

There are some things you, as a hamster owner, can do to be helpful. Since they are unable to see in front of them properly, hamsters can have a hard time avoiding a fall. Protect your little buddy by keeping them off of anything high. Place ramps and other accessories in the cage nice and low.

Can hamsters see in the dark? Yes, if you create an environment that is moderately-lit, and quiet, and your hamster can make themselves at home.

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