Being such a small and lightweight animal probably made hamsters such appealing pets. In general, it is much easier to look after a hamster. However, there is a massive difference between wild hamsters and domesticated hamsters.
For one, wild hamsters are much heavier than domestication ones. In this article, I will discuss how much does a hamster weigh depending on its species and why domesticated hamsters are prone to obesity.
HOW MUCH DOES A HAMSTER WEIGH
Domesticated hamsters weigh between 25-150 g (.8-5.3 oz) depending on their species. Wild hamsters or European hamsters weigh about 200-300 g (7-10 oz). Wild hamsters are much bigger than domesticated hamsters and look significantly different.
How much does a Wild hamster weigh
Wild hamsters grow up to 10-12 inches (25.4-30.5 cm). Its coat is a mix of black, brown, yellow, and orange colour. Wild hamsters have significantly rounder faces and run faster and can be more aggressive than domesticated hamsters. Many people will say wild hamsters are a small version of bears.
How much does a Syrian hamster weigh
The Syrian hamster is the biggest domesticated hamster, although still much smaller than wild hamsters. Adult Syrian hamster weighs between 100-150 g (3.5-5.3 oz) and 175 – 225 g (6-8 lbs) if pedigree. They grow about 6-8 inches (16-20 cm) in length.
How much does a Dwarf hamster weigh
Dwarf hamsters weigh about 25-45 g (.88-1.6 oz) and measure up to 3-4 inches (8 -10 cm) when reaching adulthood. However, many people don’t know that there is a handful of types of Dwarf hamsters. The biggest one is Russian Campbell, then you have Russian, Winter White, Siberian/Djungarian, there is also one called Hybrid hamster and the smallest one is Roborovski a.k.a Robo hamster. If you got your pet from pet stores, there’s a high chance you have a Hybrid hamster.
How much does a Chinese hamster weigh
Chinese hamsters weigh about the same as Dwarf hamsters or similar to Russian Campbell. Chinese hamsters weigh around 30-45 g (1-1.6 oz), however, their body is much slender. They can grow up to 8-13 cm (22-33 in) in length.
One big misconception is labelling Chinese hamsters as Dwarf Hamsters. You will hear people say “Chinese Dwarf Hamster” which is incorrect. Chinese hamsters might look like Dwarf but they are different species of hamster. For one, Chinese hamsters have a longer tail compared to Syrian and Dwarf. Its personality is also somewhere between Syrian and Dwarf hamster.
WHEN TO TELL IF YOUR HAMSTER IS NEEDS TO GAIN WEIGHT
Weigh your hamster (you can use a kitchen/baking scale), if your hamster’s weight fell behind the average number, they need to gain some muscles and fat. You should also take your hamster to the vet for a general health assessment.
If your hamster doesn’t move around anymore, this could be a sign that they are too weak to do anything. If you also notice that your hamster’s coat is too oily or greasy, it could be a sign that your hamster is too weak to go to the sandbox to clean its fur.
To help your hamster gain weight, you can do the following:
- give them mealworms at least 5x a day (usually, it should only be 2-3x a day)
- feed them more lean protein like boiled chicken, eggs, and tofu
- provide cooked vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, broccoli
- feed them carbs like pasta, potatoes, and bread
- a healthy diet is vital
- weigh your hamster twice a week to track progress
WHEN TO TELL IF YOUR HAMSTER IS OVERWEIGHT
Once your hamster’s weight goes beyond those numbers I show you above, it’s safe to say that your hamster is overweight. Another way to tell is a visit to the vet where they can weigh and assess your hamster’s health in general.
If you also noticed that your hamster is using their toys less like a running wheel, it could also be a sign that your hamster feels too heavy or becoming lazier to carry its own weight. Obesity in hamsters is dangerous for their heart and leg bones.
REASONS WHY HAMSTERS BECOME OBESE
Domesticated hamsters don’t need to go running and digging for hours to find food compared to wild hamsters. This leads to extra energy and calories not being burned. In the wild, hamsters would explore up to 21 miles (34 km) to find and collect food – that’s a lot of calories burned.
Pet hamsters always have access to good 24/7 without putting in too much work. However, this doesn’t mean that you should remove your hamster’s food bowl. Doing that, it might stress your hamster.
Instead, you can do the following to help your hamster lose weight:
- add more toys like running wheel, flying saucers, climbing platform
- create a tunnel maze inside the cage
- let your hamster out for 10-minutes daily for a playpen time or free roam
- make sure the food in the food bowl doesn’t have high fat and sugar items in them
- remove hoarded food once in a while
- keep your hamster busy and active
- weigh your hamster twice a week to track progress
You can learn more about weight loss for hamsters in our how to help your hamster lose weight article.
Hamsters in general might look the same or share the same behaviour and characteristics. Each species also share the same diet and pretty much has the same requirements when it comes to cage types, setups, and toys needed.
However, when you are choosing which is the best pet hamster for you, you will have to do deeper research to find the best match. For example, Syrian hamsters might be bigger in general but they are often the calmer type of hamsters who also love to cuddle. Roborovski might be super cute but they are naturally aggressive and harder to tame.
I hope that I answered your question “how much does a hamster weigh” and help you decide if your hamster needs to gain weight or lose some.