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Hamster Gender Differences (How to Tell Male from Female)

Hamster Gender Differences (How to Tell Male from Female)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Having a pet hamster is fun, especially for children. They’re cute, fluffy, manageable, and easy to care for.

However, people often wonder if there are differences between male and female hamsters.

While there are some physical differences between female and male hamsters, the decisive factor when choosing a pet is the character.

After all, handling an aggressive pet isn’t for everybody.

In this article, you’ll learn the hamster gender differences and how they can affect your decision to buy a pet hamster. So, keep scrolling.

What Are the Differences Between Male and Female Hamsters?

At first glance, hamsters don’t seem like complicated animals, and they’re not. Yet, there are a few distinct differences between female and male hamsters.

These variations aren’t hugely significant, but they may matter to some people more than others.

Take a look at the main differences between the hamster’s two genders.

1 – Physical Differences

Just like any two genders in nature, male and female hamsters have physical variations. Whether dwarf, Syrian, or Chinese hamster, the basic differences are almost the same.

In general, the back end of female hamsters tends to be shorter and less round than in males. Yet, it can be hard to see it when you don’t have the two genders for comparison.

What’s more, only female hamsters have nipples, which can be quite helpful when sexing your pet hamster.

Another difference, and the most obvious of all, is the presence of testicles. Though sometimes retracted, they’re usually visible on male hamsters older than four weeks.

2 – Behavioral Differences

Aside from their physical appearance, male and female hamsters have different temperaments.

Male hamsters are somehow more docile and easygoing. Oftentimes, they don’t mind being handled at all.

Because they enjoy cuddles and are more affectionate than females, male hamsters are the best gender choice for children.

When it comes to female hamsters, they’re much more territorial than males. They’re also considered harder to handle and display more aggression when held.

Moreover, female hamsters tend to bite more frequently than males when you try to pick them up. Thus, they might not be the best option for children.

How To Tell a Hamster’s Gender

It can be hard to tell a hamster’s gender at a young age. Yet, knowing how to tell a female from a male hamster is essential.

Knowing so doesn’t only help you understand their characteristics, but it’s also helpful if you have more than one hamster. That’s especially when you’re keeping them in the same cage.

After all, you don’t want them to end up breeding while you’re not ready or equipped for it.

Here are the steps for identifying the gender of hamsters.

Step #1: Hold the Hamster Properly

First of all, you should hold your pet hamster on its back to examine the belly area.

Simply cup your hands and let the hamster climb on. Then, flip it over gently. You can also hold the hamster by the scruff of the neck.

Just remember to be gentle and avoid squeezing the hamster’s body, as younger hamsters may kick around and resist this.

Step #2: Check the Anogenital Distance

This is one of the easiest and most trusted ways to identify the hamster’s sex. The anogenital distance is the space between the hamster’s genital openings.

In this step, you may need to spread the hamster’s legs apart to have a good look at the genitals.

In female hamsters, the distance between the anus, the vaginal, and the urinary openings is small.

On the other hand, male hamsters have much broader space (almost twice as long) between their anus and penile opening.

Step #3: Look for Other Differences

Sometimes it can be hard to examine your hamster’s genitals, especially when kicking around. If this is the case with you, you can try to look for other signs, such as

The Nipples

Although they may not be visible under the thick coat of fur, you can always run your hand over the hamster’s stomach to feel the nipples.

It also helps if you part the hamster’s fur for a better view.

While female hamsters have two rows of nipples across their bodies, male hamsters don’t. These nipples are especially visible in Syrian hamsters.

The Testicles

Observe the back end of your pet hamster. The testicles may be visible if it’s a male.

In older male hamsters, the testicles give their body more of a pointed end.

Contrarily, the rear end of the female hamster’s body is much smoother, with no apparent bumps.

That said, testicles are usually hard to spot in younger hamsters.

Just like the nipples, Syrian hamsters’ testicles are more visible than other species. That’s because the Syrian species is the largest hamster species of all.

As for dwarf hamsters, the testicles are more apparent in older ages, giving them a tapered rear end tapering towards the tail.

The Scent Gland

This feature is especially applicable to dwarf hamsters.

While female dwarf hamsters have an unnoticeable scent gland, males have a visible one.

The scent gland is usually located in the middle of the belly. You may even notice yellowish or oily staining around it, resulting from secretions.

The Size

Although not a reliable method, considering the size of your pet hamster can help you determine its gender. This becomes even more noticeable as hamsters grow.

Male hamsters have longer and broader bodies. Overall, female hamsters are noticeably larger than males, except for the dwarf species.

Tips on Determining Your Hamster’s Gender

By now, you should have a general idea of how to determine the sex of your pet hamster. Just remember to handle it gently and consider the following tips.

  • It’s better not to try and determine the sex of your pet hamsters before they reach four weeks old because their genitals aren’t fully formed.
  • If the hamster shows resistance, avoid trying to flip it over and find other ways to examine the genitals.
  • Place your hamster on a glass surface and look at it from underneath as a gentler way to examine the genitals.
  • Be careful not to drop your hamster, as this may cause injuries.

Final Thoughts

Although they make amazing pets for both children and adults alike, there are some hamster gender differences to consider when picking a pet.

Male hamsters are much more suitable for kids, as they have a calmer temperament.

Female hamsters, on the other hand, can be a bit tougher to handle. So, they’re not for everybody.

No matter what your choice is, it’s always a good idea to have a friendly pet at home. We all enjoy the company of a furry buddy!

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