Are Hamsters Smart? [Comprehensive Look at Hamster Intelligence]

Animals are intelligent. It’s why they’re called “animal” and not “creature”. The word “intelligence” can refer to a number of qualities, including the ability to learn, adapt to new situations, understand one’s surroundings, and make good decisions.

But what about hamsters? Are hamsters smart? Find out how these little furry creatures stack up against humans and other animals in terms of intelligence through this comprehensive look at hamster intelligence.

Cute gray dwarf hamster sitting on the wood

What is intelligence and how do animals rank in terms of intelligence?

Intelligence is the ability to respond appropriately to different situations. It includes awareness of one’s surroundings and understanding of how they interact with each other as well as your own actions, reactions, and behavior in reaction to them. There are two major types of intelligence:

Fluid Intelligence: The ability to solve new problems and adapt quickly to situations.

Crystallized Intelligence: The ability to use what you already know to solve problems and make decisions.

This is why hamsters are great pets for households with children. They can adapt quickly when they’re placed in a new environment and have the fluid intelligence needed to learn how to use their surroundings effectively in order to find food and water.

Animals tend to have a harder time than humans adjusting to new situations, because they can’t see the situation from another point of view or make decisions based on learned experiences. For hamsters, this means you’ll want to do some research when it comes to hamster care so that your hamster knows where everything is, what to do when hamster wheels get dirty or hamster cages need cleaning.

How does hamster intelligence compare to human and other animal intelligences?

Hamsters are not as intelligent as dogs or cats, but they’re still reasonably smart and can be trained to do simple tricks.

It’s important to remember that hamsters have a very short lifespan, usually just 1-3 years. That also means hamsters won’t remember much from day to day, so the best way to keep them entertained is by giving them lots of toys and new things to explore all the time.

What makes a hamster smart and what doesn’t make them so smart?

What hamsters are good at:

Finding food and water on their own. Hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell that they use to find food and survive in the wild. In hamster care, this means giving hamster cages plenty of hamster food, hamster treats, toys, hamster balls, hamster tunnels, and hamster wheels.

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Hamsters need to be kept in a cage that is as hamster-proof as possible. The cage needs to have things that they can play with and chew on so that they don’t get bored.

Cute hammy in the dark

Are hamsters intelligent?

Yes – hamsters have a high level of intelligence and are able to learn their names through repetition and getting used to hearing them.

Finding an escape route out of hamster cages. Hamsters have the ability to find ways around hamster cages that seem, on the surface, completely impossible for such small creatures. In hamster care, this means hamster cages need to be hamster-proofed so that hamsters can’t dig their way out, chew through wires, or find other ways to escape.

Hamsters are great escape artists

The hamster is a great escape artist! If you are playing with your hamster outside of their cage, it can get away. It can also escape from the cage because they are good at fitting into tiny spaces. When you finally have the hamster, the first thing you should do is put them back in the cage. However, if you lost sight of the hamster and it was gone, there are some steps that you could try to find it:

  1. Leave the hamsters door open – this might help your hamster find its way home!
  2. Place hamster food in different places around your house – hamsters will usually go back to their cages for their food so this may help!
  3. Place hamster food in separate rooms – hamsters do not usually leave their homes needlessly so this can only help.
  4. Place hamster treats outside of your home – hamsters are curious creatures and this may entice one to come outside.
  5. Ask your friends or neighbors if they’ve seen a hamster- you never know!
  6. Place hamster food by hamster traps – hamsters are curious and this might attract them to the hamster trap for you.
  7. Ask an animal control officer or a local pet store for help- they may have experience handling lost hamsters.

Can hamsters be trained?

Hamsters are trainable if you have a good hamster bond and spend time with your hamster. Training hamsters is easy—just follow their natural desires like running, jumping, and spinning to teach them tricks. Once you have a hamster that trusts you, there’s no limit to what you can teach it to do.

What’s the intelligence of a hamster?

Hamsters are moderately intelligent animals, but not as intelligent as most other common pets. They are able to learn their names from repetition and familiarization, recognizing their favorite people, and distinguishing between different foods (by smell). They can also be trained to do simple tricks.

However hamsters have a very short lifespan of 1-3 years and so they won’t remember much from day-to day. The best way to keep hamsters happy is by giving them plenty of toys and new things to explore constantly.

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Hamsters are smart, but hamster intelligence has been questioned. While hamsters have demonstrated that they can learn a variety of simple tasks, their abilities do not match those of other pets like dogs or cats.

It is possible hamsters might be better at learning the mechanical aspects of certain tasks than animals with larger brains and more advanced cognitive skills.

Are hamsters smarter than dogs?

There are dog breeds that are very smart and hamsters are not. The hamster understands its environment and knows how to do the things that hamsters need to do to survive. There is some debate over hamster intelligence, but hamsters get by just fine with what they have.

Big Syrian hamster in the wild collecting the seeds

In any hamster intelligence discussion, a hamster’s low lifespan is always taken into account. A hamster’s life expectancy is between 1-3 years, with the average hamsters living to be around 2.5 years old.

This short lifespan means hamsters are not able to accumulate much knowledge over their lifetime and as such hamsters are not very intelligent in comparison to other animals.

However hamsters have demonstrated that they can learn simple tasks and remember their name through repetition and familiarity which does give them some level of intelligence.

As hamsters live in the wild, hamster intelligence has evolved over time and hamsters have had to learn survival techniques. One of hamster’s most impressive survival skills is their ability to dig through soil very fast using its sharp claws.

Another hamsters skill is being able to run extremely fast on hamster wheels which they use when escaping danger and to hunt for food.

Hamster intelligence has been compared to that of other rodents like mice and rat populations. Hamsters ability to adapt, learn, and grow in their environment makes hamster intelligence somewhat similar to that of rat behavior.

Mice are not as fast or strong as hamsters but they are known for having greater hamster intelligence. Mice have demonstrated the ability to differentiate flavors of hamsters food which makes mice hamster savants.

What is hamsters’ IQ level?

I believe that the care needed for a hamster will be greater than their level of intelligence.

So, are hamsters smart?

They are somewhat smart, but hamsters can be trained by humans and hamsters recognize certain activities, like running, which hamsters find fun.

In the wild hamster intelligence doesn’t matter as much because hamsters are able to evade predators if they need to. However hamster training and learning new skills is somewhat relevant in hamster intelligence research studies. However, there seems to be a limit to the extent of their learning and comprehension.

Hamsters are smart creatures because they can escape from almost anything because they learn by memorizing things by seeing it and hamsters are very curious creatures.

Last updated on July 21, 2021 by Bruce Paxton

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