Hamsters are adorable pets partly because of their chubbiness, which might make them look heavier than they are. Even though they tend to get rather round and fluffy, these popular pets don’t actually weigh that much. Indeed, their real weight might come as a surprise.
Hamsters weigh between 0.5 and 8 ounces (21 and 227 g) on average. Some specimens may grow up to 10.5 ounces (298 g), but such hamsters aren’t seen very often. Their weight depends on their breed, sex, and age. Females are larger, while it isn’t uncommon to find hamsters losing weight as they age.
Read on to learn more about the different factors that influence the weight of your hamster and why it’s important to keep track of its weight. We’ll also take a look at what you can do to keep off excess weight and the steps to take if your hamster is too skinny.
A hamster’s breed is the biggest predictor of its weight. Their weight can vary widely between different breeds, and it isn’t uncommon to see breeds that are much larger than others.
The most common hamster breeds in the USA, ranging from smallest to largest, are:
- Roborovski hamsters
- Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters
- Chinese hamsters
- Winter white dwarf hamsters
- Syrian hamsters
These hamsters, affectionately nicknamed Robos, are the smallest and quickest hamsters you can find. Their average weight is between 0.75 and 1.5 ounces (21 and 43 g), and they’re usually between 1.8 and 2.0 inches (46 and 51 mm) long.
To add to their cuteness, they’re also the fastest hamster breed and can run up to 6 miles (10 km) at night as claimed by the ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, based in New York.
Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamsters
These tiny rodents, named after explorer C. W. Campbell, are only slightly bigger than Robos. They normally weigh about 1.5 to 1.7 ounces (43 to 48 g). They’re known for their small ears and brown-gray fur with a dark stripe running down their back.
These hamsters are very similar in size to Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters, as they weigh 1.5 to 1.75 ounces (43 to 50 g) on average. Unlike most hamsters, they aren’t round and pudgy, but rather long, with elongated tails that account for much of their weight.
Chinese hamsters are also known to be very intelligent and easy to tame or train. As such, they’re ideal pets for someone looking for a smart, independent animal.
White Winter Dwarf Hamsters
This breed of hamster got its name because of the white fur the animals acquire during the cold winter months. They’re docile and sociable hence easy to manage as pets. Also, they’re slightly larger than the previous breeds, weighing 1.5 to 2.0 ounces (43 to 57 g) on average.
These hamsters, also known as teddy bear or golden hamsters, are the largest on this list, as they usually weigh one ounce for every inch of their length. Since they typically grow to 6 or 7 inches (152 or 178 mm), they’re true behemoths in hamster standards. The biggest can weigh up to 310 grams, which is more than 10 ounces (283 g).
Syrian hamsters are also the most common type of hamster in the USA. If you’re a hamster owner or on the lookout for one, you’ll most likely come across this breed.
Female hamsters tend to be bigger than their male counterparts – even though males are typically bigger in most species. This is especially true among Syrian hamsters, who have a more obvious sexual dimorphism.
Therefore, sex is a crucial factor when assessing the average weight of a hamster. It isn’t the only difference, though. Hamster owners often report that females tend to have a smell that’s way more pungent and are more aggressive and territorial – another trait you’d associate more with males.
Hamsters lose weight with age owing to their slowing metabolism which causes them to eat less. As they start to consume less food, their weight begins to decline naturally. However, unless there are visible health problems, this shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.
If they keep exercising as much as they used to while eating less, hamsters can lose weight even faster. Usually, hamsters are just going to reduce the amount of food they eat, so the weight loss will probably not be dramatic. If your hamster still eats regularly, there’s no need to worry.
It’s important to keep track of your hamster’s weight because it’s a reliable indicator of health and overall well-being. Recognizing that your hamster is overweight or underweight allows you to act on time, helping to prevent any health problems.
It may be tempting to make your chubby rodent even chubbier. The chubbier they are, the more cute they look, right? While this may be true, you have to prioritize your hamster’s health rather than cuteness.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to preventing illnesses. Just like humans and other pets, hamsters can suffer from obesity and obesity-related problems, such as diabetes and heart ailments.
Likewise, you don’t want them to get too skinny. To be healthy, hamsters do need to be a bit on the fluffier side. And if they’re losing weight rapidly, you should do something to address that.
If you notice that your hamster is much fatter than it’s supposed to be for its breed, sex, and age, you need to put it on a weight loss regimen. There are some easy things you can do to this end:
- Choose higher-quality food
- Feed your hamster less
- Make sure your hamster gets more exercise
Let’s look at each of the above options more closely.
Giving your hamster a lot of junk food, such as seeds, treats, and sugary foods, will easily increase its weight. It’s okay for them to have such occasionally, but moderation is key.
If you notice that your hamster is getting fat, cut down on such treats. If necessary, eliminate them completely.
You should also watch their grain intake. Grains are good for hamsters plus they also provide a lot of nutrition. However, they’re also very calorie-dense, thus your hamster can gain a lot of weight if it eats too much of them.
Another thing to consider is checking the labels if you’re buying premade hamster food. This kind of food can be a good choice, but producers will often add unhealthy, unnecessary, or low-quality ingredients.
A good mix should contain some seeds and cereals with some insect larvae. It should definitely not have sugar, especially not a lot of it. Hamsters don’t need sugar, so if you’re looking at a box of hamster food, and it contains a lot of sugar, put it back on the shelf.
Giving your hamster less food is also going to help it lose weight. Just like humans, if hamsters consume fewer calories, they’re going to start losing weight.
Hamsters generally don’t need more than a tablespoon of food. You should also focus on fresh foods, such as grass, carrots, broccoli, and artichokes.
You should also put your hamster’s food in one bowl. Hamsters tend to hoard food, so if you spread it around the cage, your hamster is going to hoard it instead of eating it. If you put the food in a bowl, they’ll see it as their stock of food and just eat it.
This is also a good way to monitor how much your hamster eats. It’ll put you in complete control over their food intake.
One interesting treat you can add to your hamster’s diet is dog treats. Some hamster owners report that their hamsters love nibbling on dog treats such as Milk-Bones or Whimzees. Of course, you need to break the treats into tiny chunks, but the extra protein is going to do them good.
It’s also important not to forget to let your hamster get enough exercise. Hamsters in the wild can cross great distances and like to run a lot. If they’re sedentary in captivity, they’ll bulk up quickly and their health will suffer.
You need to invest in toys and tubes that’ll allow them to spend their energy and get the exercise they need.
Getting a simple toy such as a hamster wheel or a hamster ball will allow them to have plenty of exercise. Getting a bigger cage is also a good idea, as it’ll enable them to move around more. You can even release your hamster from its cage if it’s safe enough and let them roam free around your house or flat.
If you do let your hamster run around your home freely, make sure to watch over it. Don’t let it roam on its own and block all the places where you don’t want it to go. If you have other pets, make sure they won’t see your hamster as a convenient snack.
Hamsters can occasionally lose weight, and if their weight drops below the average for their breed, it might mean they have a health problem. Some of the potential health problems this points to are:
- Tooth problems
- Vitamin deficiencies
These issues don’t have to get very serious. You can easily deal with them if you act on time.
Let’s take a look and see what causes them and what you can do.
Abscesses are small pockets of skin filled with pus. They’re caused by cuts and injuries. Abscesses usually occur on the skin, below the fur, as a result of fights with other hamsters. However, they can also appear on the inside of their cheeks after nibbling on something hard or sharp.
Since hamsters like to chew on things, this isn’t a surprising occurrence. Unfortunately, the abscesses make it painful for them to eat, which can lead to weight loss.
If you inspect your hamster and notice abscesses, take it to a vet. The vet will treat your hamster with antibiotics, and if necessary, rupture the abscess to remove the pus. They may also apply some kind of ointment, although this is more common for skin abscesses.
Hamsters have to nibble on things, like all rodents. They also need to do this, otherwise, their teeth can overgrow, causing pain and other problems. The aforementioned dog treats can do a great job at helping them grind down their teeth. Alternatively, you can go for chew toys.
These pets can also lose teeth, especially when they age or get into fights. Getting their teeth broken and/or infected can be an even bigger problem. Broken and infected teeth can cause a lot of pain and make your hamster give up food.
If you see that your fluffy rodent is suffering from tooth problems, be sure to visit a veterinarian. This kind of problem can cause complications in the future, so it’s best to act as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure that your hamster lives a happy and healthy life.
Hamsters can also suffer from vitamin deficiencies. If they suffer from a deficiency of vitamins A, B, E, or folic acid, they might suffer the following:
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Muscle paralysis
- Joint stiffness
Dealing with a vitamin deficiency is thankfully not a daunting task. If you feed your hamster a balanced and healthy diet, it should have no problem with vitamin deficiencies. This is especially true if you add fresh veggies such as spinach, broccoli, or carrots.
Taking good care of your hamster’s weight will ensure that it lives a happy and long life. A little bit of effort will go a long way in making your hamster a very satisfied rodent.
A hamster’s weight will vary widely across different breeds. The smallest hamsters can weigh around 0.5 ounces (21 g), but the biggest ones can grow to 10 ounces (283 g).
It’s crucial to know how much your hamster is supposed to weigh to remain healthy. Knowing this will allow you to see if it’s becoming overweight or underweight.
If it’s becoming overweight, adjust the diet and make it get more exercise. If it’s becoming too skinny, see if there are any health problems and approach your vet.
You may also like the following hamsters articles:
- Why Is My Hamster Wobbling and Falling Over?
- Why Is My Hamster Acting Weird?
- How To Travel With a Hamster
- How Do You Give a Hamster a Bath?
- Can Hamsters Eat Guinea Pig Food?
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more