Having a pet hamster is a very fun experience, but it also brings with it a lot of questions, especially about their little bodies. One body part of hamsters that many owners have questions about is their ears. Common questions that owners have about hamster ears include those about their sensitivity, appearance, and many others.
If you want to learn more about hamster ears, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going over 5 essential facts about hamster ears that every owner should know.
1. Hamsters have a very strong sense of hearing
Hamsters may not have very strong eyes, but they make up for it by having very strong ears. They’re capable of hearing frequencies that our human ears are incapable of hearing. They have a hearing frequency range of 96 Hz to 46500 Hz while humans can only hear between 96 Hz to 20000 Hz.
It makes sense why hamsters have such strong ears. After all, they’re most active when it’s dark outside, so they don’t benefit from having very strong eyesight. Hearing, on the other hand, is not affected by darkness, making it a very important sense for them to rely on when they go about their nightly escapades.
In the wild, hamsters rely on their strong hearing to survive because it allows them to hear predators coming and lets them get away in time.
Because they’ve got such well-developed ears, it’s important that you do not expose your hamster too to much noise. Loud music, traffic, or TVs can be quite disturbing to their sensitive ears.
2. Hamsters use their well-developed ears for communication
According to one study, hamsters use high-frequency sounds to communicate with one another. This study discovered that female hamsters emit ultrasound calls in frequencies between 34 en 42 kHz. Males also emitted high-frequency vocalizations, but at a different frequency. Males emitted their calls at frequencies between 32–38 kHz.
For reference, humans can only hear sounds that are up to 20 kHz in frequency. What this means is that because hamsters have such sensitive ears and can pick up on high-frequency sounds they’re able to communicate with calls that are inaudible to the human ear.
3. Hamsters sometimes put their ears back
Typically, the ears of hamsters stand upright on their head. They’re positioned this way because that allows them to pick up on more sound. However, sometimes hamsters put their ears back.
They do this for a variety of different reasons. The most common reason is that they’re nervous. Because they often do this when they’re nervous it’s commonly seen in hamsters that are newly adopted. Like many small pets, hamsters need some time to get adjusted to their new homes. They do not know yet whether you’re friend or foe when you first adopt them into your house, as a result, they’re often nervous which can manifest itself in several different ways. One of these ways is that they put their ears back.
However, there are also other reasons why hamsters can put their ears back. For instance, they also exhibit this behavior when they’re sleeping or when they’re not feeling very well.
Their ears are quite mobile. They can not only put them down, but they can also move them around towards the direction that they hear sound coming from.
4. Hamster ears can change color
It’s very common for your hamsters’ ears to change color as they get older. The color change does depend on the kind of hamster, it’s most prominent in Syrians but happens in dwarf hamsters as well. It’s a natural process and not something that you have to worry about.
Hamsters aren’t adults until they’re about 3 months old, and they go through a lot of changes from being a baby to being an adult. One of these changes is in their ears. Their ears typically become darker as they mature. So, if you notice that your hamster’s ears are turning black, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with him! It’s only a problem if you notice that their ears are starting to turn bald and leathery as well, then they might have a case of ear mites.
In addition, to their ears getting darker as they grow up, did you know that hamsters actually get grey hairs when they get older, just like humans? These grey hairs appear throughout their body, including on their ears, changing their color yet again.
5. Their ears are quite vulnerable
Since ears are pretty much a hole in the head, it makes sense that they’re quite vulnerable. In the case of hamsters, their ears can have a variety of different ailments and diseases. The most common ear problems in hamsters are ear infections and ear mites.
One thing that hamsters commonly do when they have an ear infection is that they start “circling“, which means running around in circles and tilting their head to one side. When they do this it’s recommended to take them to a vet for a check-up.
To prevent problems with your hamsters’ ears, the best thing you can do is keep their cage clean. Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria. By keeping their cage clean, you not only minimize the risk of ear infections, but you also minimize the risk for other diseases as well.
6. Syrian hamsters have the biggest ears
Of all the 5 hamsters species that humans keep as pets, Syrians have the biggest ears. Now, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, they’re by far the largest of the species, being about twice the size of the much smaller Roborovski hamster.
However, their ears are also often the biggest relative to the size of their head.
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