What do Hamsters See and Hear?

white hamster lying down as his wonder contemplates answers to "What do Hamsters See and Hear"

Hamsters are infamous for their poor eyesight but they do make up for this with exceptional hearing. Most first-time hamster parents are usually surprised at how nearsighted these creatures can be. However, an amazing sense of hearing and smell compensates for the hearing deficiencies and this comes in handy in many ways.

Like most mammals, hamsters are born blind and only form some sort of vision after a few days. While their eyesight improves significantly over the first few weeks of life, don’t expect anything close to a 20/20 vision.

What do hamsters see and hear? Hamsters see no more than 3 inches away meaning their vision is restricted to only a small portion of their cage at any point. However, they can pick up the faintest sounds in their environment from a howling dog to a squeaking cat several meters away. Even human whispers can sound very loud in the ears of a hamster.

Hamsters have relatively big eyes compared to other parts of the face such as the nose. Many of us would have expected some exceptional vision but that can be far from the case. However, their ears are often well developed and function optimally.

What Do Hamsters See and Hear in the Wild?

In the wild, hamsters are handicapped not only by their small size but by terrible vision as well. While larger animals are able to see prey from several meters away, the same cannot be said for these little creatures.

They often get ambushed by predators such as foxes with little chance of survival. While a hamster may bite as a defense mechanism when under attack, those bites are often not enough to ward off larger animals.

Hamsters in the wild are able to see plants and other small animals up to 3 inches away but not large predators laying ambush from further out. No wonder these little rodents are nocturnal as this gives them some relative stability to move around during the night in search of food.

Fortunately, their world-class sense of smell comes in handy. During the night, hamsters are able to pick up on the scents of potential predators from further away. This helps them burrow underground to hide when need be.

Routine activities such as eating, using the toilet, and mating are conducted when predators are far away. This helps them survive in the wild where larger carnivorous animals may abound.

What Do Hamsters See and Hear From Their Cages?

hamster staring from a bin cage as his owners wonders "What Do Hamsters See and Hear From Their Cages?"

Unlike their cousins in the wild, domesticated hamsters do not face continuous danger from predators. However, their amazing sense of hearing compensates for their less-than-perfect vision even from the safety of a cage or tank.

These pocket rodents are able to see a specific portion of their cages at any point depending on their current location. From food bowls and water bottles to toys such as wheels and playhouses, these pocket rodents have no problems identifying various cage components as long as they move close enough. 

Hamsters are also able to see their cage mates (if the cages are shared) and should have no problems identifying and using any routes in existing tubes and hideouts in their cages or tanks. 

If you get close enough to the cage or pick up your hamster, he’ll have no problems seeing you (even if you appear as some gigantic monster in his eyes). Thinking of adding new toys to the pet rodent’s cage? Your hamster will notice the latest additions and start playing with them promptly.

Things get even more interesting when it comes to a hamster’s hearing thanks to the well-developed ears which pick up sounds from a wide range of frequencies. From the loud music playing in your bedroom to those little arguments with your spouse, hamsters hear them all.

If you have any pets such as dogs in the house, the hamster usually panics from every bark or howl.

A female hamster has no problems hearing squeaking noises from her distressed offspring and rushing to help. The well-developed sense of hearing gives them the ability to pick up sound frequencies we can only dream of as humans.

If your hamster looks restless all of a sudden and seems to be sniffing around in the cage, there’s a good chance that he may have heard something disturbing and is trying to get to the bottom of it.

Can Hamsters See Me?

hamster staring in the palm of his owner as his owner asks "can hamsters see me?"

Many of us take pride in pets like dogs and cats identifying us by face. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for hamsters. While these pocket rodents may see you as some giant being, they often struggle to tell you apart from other humans.

Hamsters only get to recognize humans by scent due to their extraordinary sense of smell. Your furball will have no problems recognizing your smell when you’re in proximity to his cage even if you do not exactly make physical contact.

Hamsters also get used to your voice and can recognize when you speak. All those nights of whispering to him during bonding time are not in vain. Unfortunately, hamsters are almost color-blind and struggle to identify most colors.

Do Hamsters See Better At Night?

While a hamster’s vision will never be amazing, it gets slightly better at night. This is because they’re nocturnal beings that become more energetic during the low-light conditions associated with nighttime.

Vision improves at night so they can forage for food, mate, and engage in other vital activities. Switch off all lights at night to improve your hamster’s vision as he moves up and down the cage doing his own thing.

Why is My Hamster Staring?

Hamsters often stop and stare at their owners as a response to fear. These lovely pocket pets scare easily due to their size and status as prey in the wild. Even innocent actions such as walking by their cage at night to drink water from the kitchen can be startling to the point where they stop whatever they were engaged in to stare.

This can be extremely stressful for the hamster especially if his cage or breeder tank is located in an area of the house with high human traffic. Things can get even more heated at night when hamsters are usually awake and most members of the household are home.

Moving the cage to the basement or another less conspicuous area of the house may reduce the little guy’s stress.

Can Hamsters Recognize Your Voice?

Yes, hamsters recognize the voice of their owners. If you love bonding with your pet hamster at night by talking to him, it is only a matter of time before he begins to pick up on that voice. Over time, your voice can become a calming influence in the midst of fear especially when you only whisper.

Whispering to your hamster whenever you get the chance can be rewarding for not only you but the pet too. It can build mutual trust that will help the hamster relax whenever you make yourself heard.

Do Hamsters Like Being Talked To?

Hamsters can get lonely especially when they’re housed independently in a cage. While you may provide all his necessities such as food, toys, and comfy bedding, talking can be a great way to improve your bond with him.

Remember, your hamster can be driven by lots of fear when you first bring him home. With no idea of what is coming next, it can take a lot of effort to build a relationship with pet hamsters.

Talking to him and spending time together can help reduce your hammy’s fear and get him to feel comfortable in your presence.


Hamsters do not see much thanks to their poor vision but they compensate for this with an amazing sense of hearing. Their ability to pick up sounds from a wide range of frequencies ensures that they can hear even the faintest noise.

Your hamster may not be able to recognize you by face but he’ll know your voice as soon as you speak. Do you engage in shouting matches with your spouse at night? Chances are your hamster is getting freaked out too.

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