How Smart Are Hamsters? (Memory, Recognition)

Last updated on February 25th, 2024 at 02:33 pm

Hamsters are very funny and interesting; they know how to make us laugh with their actions and make our day happier.

They are one of the most popular pets in the United States, many of us keep hamsters in our homes, and sometimes we wonder how much they remember, if they remember their surroundings, if they can remember their favorite food, and things like that.

Are hamsters smart?

Yes, hamsters are smart; they can learn the location of their food, and they can remember how to use the wheel for play. Hamsters can recognize their owners, and with the training they can learn their names using the tones we use. Hamsters have poor short-term memory, but their spatial memory makes them quite intelligent animals.

In today’s article, we will find out how smart hamsters are and the difference in intelligence compared to other animals.

Hamsters have poorer short-term memory

Hamsters have a weaker short-term memory, which can be seen in some situations when, for example, they suddenly stop and start looking up.

The fact that they have very poor eyesight and short-term memory is also to blame for this behavior.

Short-term memory is needed for hamsters to remember small pieces of information.

For example, people forget to remember the price of some shoes they notice when shopping because the short-term memory resets and makes room for new small pieces of information.

Hamsters do not need to think of such information. Therefore they do not have a sufficiently developed short-term memory, which does not mean that they are unintelligent pets.

Hamsters have good long-term memory

Hamsters have long-term memory that helps them know when it’s time to reproduce or when it’s time to hibernate.

So hamsters can remember and recognize when it is winter or summer and know how to recognize the season.

With the help of their long-term memory, hamsters know where the food is in a maze, even though they have been out of it for months.

The long-term memory or intelligence of hamsters helps them to manage and survive in the wild more quickly; of course, the sense of smell and changes in light also help here.

Can hamsters learn their name?

Yes, hamsters can also learn their name, but for that, they use a completely different way than we think. They know their name based on the sounds we make when saying their name and the tones we use.

To teach the hamster to recognize its name requires a little more training, and most importantly, it should be daily training.

Because that’s how hamsters will use their long-term memory, which is their strong point.

If the training is irregular, they will not learn their name; they will forget, because then they will use short-term memory, which is their weaker side.

Hamsters do not understand what a name is, but they understand sounds and tones; if you change your tone, the hamster will not approach you; it will think that you are addressing someone else.

how smart are hamsters

Hamsters can learn new skills

Hamsters can learn new skills; it just takes a little time to understand why and how a prop or something similar works.

If we take the running wheel as an example, the hamsters will not immediately know how to run on it, but gradually they will master the skill, they will learn to run on the wheel and then they will be experts, and we will be amazed how the hamsters run without falling.

Hamsters use spatial memory very successfully using their sense of smell.

They know how to find their way to food through a maze, which confirms that our furry friends are not stupid.

You can teach hamsters to jump up by holding some of their favorite food in your hands, but all this takes time and training, you must be persistent if you want to teach your pet to hang.

Read more: How Big Is a Hamster’s Brain? Let’s Find Out

Hamsters have good spatial memory

Hamsters have a good spatial memory that helps them remember and plan where they are going and in which direction to move.

This is a sign that hamsters are intelligent animals because otherwise low-intelligence animals have a problem finding food sources, they cannot find the routes where food is located, and they cannot find other animals of their species.

Hamsters do very well in this regard; they find their food and know how to see where you leave food for them, for example, in a food bowl or somewhere in the environment around their cage.

The sense of smell helps hamsters remember better

Hamsters have naturally very poor eyesight, but therefore they have an excellent sense of smell which helps them to navigate the space more efficiently.

The smell helps hamsters remember more quickly, especially where food is.

With the sense of smell, hamsters improve their long-term memory, which is particularly important for their way of life.

The sense of smell helps them not only for food, it helps them to recognize their owners more easily, as well as to recognize predators in their environment without seeing them.

The sense of hearing is a sign of intelligence in hamsters

Hamsters, especially dwarf hamsters have an excellent sense of hearing, which shows how smart they are.

Hamsters can hear sounds that we humans cannot hear. Baby hamsters make sounds at a frequency that their mother can hear and then help them.

Hamsters can register even the smallest sounds in their environment, and immediately stop, raise their heads, and listen to where the sound is coming from.

Do hamsters remember their owners?

Yes, hamsters remember their owners, mostly using their sense of smell and long-term memory.

Studies done on hamsters’ recognition of their owners show that they are highly likely to recognize someone they previously knew.

All this shows that hamsters have a good memory and a way to recognize their owners and other close family members where they are.

Do hamsters remember other people?

If you are the owner and your hamster remembers you and knows you, it does not mean he will recognize other people around you.

The hamster needs to use long-term memory to remember other people again.

If your friends come to you very rarely, then the hamsters will never remember them, and if they come every day and play with them, then your pet will start to recognize them.

how smart are hamsters

How long does it take for hamsters to remember their owners?

After you bring it home, it takes a few weeks for the hamster to remember you as its owner.

Hamsters will begin to recognize you using their intelligence and sense of smell.

When the hamsters start to recognize you, it is much easier for the hamster, who will no longer feel fear, and for you, friendship and playing with your pet will make you happy.

Can hamsters use props?

Yes, hamsters can use props to have better mental and physical stimulation.

Hamsters can use other toys, and they don’t have to use only a wheel, so feel free to give him more props in his cage.

For example, chew toys or rolling toys are great for hamsters to develop their memory and intelligence better.

Are all hamster breeds equally intelligent?

All breeds of hamsters are similar in terms of their intelligence.

No studies have been done that would reveal the difference in intelligence between them, so it can be said that they are equally intelligent.

Do hamsters have thoughts?

Yes, hamsters have thoughts, although they are not like other pets, such as cats and dogs.

If you observe their behavior, you will notice that they react to certain situations, which means that they think and have thoughts.

Often their thoughts are related to their emotions, and they want to be good with them and show them that you love them so they can feel happy.

Are hamsters smarter than dogs?

No, hamsters are not smarter than dogs.

Dogs are still more intelligent than hamsters; they can remember and respond to physical and voice commands, while hamsters only respond to treats.

Although hamsters are not as intelligent as dogs, they can still learn particular things. For example, something related to food, hamsters will not want to eat certain types of food that they don’t like.

Hamsters are not as intelligent as dogs and because they have a very short life span, they don’t have time to learn and develop their intelligence.

Read more: Are Hamsters Smarter Than Dogs? The Answer

Are hamsters smarter than mice?

No, hamsters are not as intelligent as mice; they have less intelligence.

They are not really as strong and fast as hamsters, but they are still more intelligent than them.

Mice are much better able to distinguish food tastes, unlike hamsters who have not developed this skill.

Are hamsters smarter than rats?

No, hamsters are not smarter than rats; the difference is enormous in favor of rats.

Rats have a similar brain structure to humans and are far more intelligent than hamsters.

Rats can think about the past and make decisions based on previous experiences.

Read more: What Is The Lifespan Of Hamsters? How To Live Longer

Are gerbils smarter than hamsters?

Yes, gerbils are more intelligent than hamsters; they have a much higher level of social intelligence.

Gerbils have an excellent ability to make more complex tunnels than hamsters, and gerbils have better spatial memories.

Gerbils can learn tricks and skills much easier than hamsters.

how smart are hamsters

Are hamsters smarter than guinea pigs?

No, hamsters are not smarter than guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs have more brain neurons and better memories.

Guinea pigs are not as timid as hamsters, and they can more easily learn tricks and skills, such as responding to their names, recognizing their owners, and learning the ways and places they have been before.

Read more: Why Is My Hamster Shaking? Read All 11 Reasons


Hamsters are intelligent pets, although not as bright as cats and dogs.

Our furry friends have excellent spatial memory; they have developed long-term memory, while short-term memory is their biggest weakness.

Hamsters are not as intelligent as rats, mice, and guinea pigs, but they are still smart enough to find food in a maze or to recognize their owners.

Hamsters, together with their senses of smell and taste, successfully navigate the environment, protect themselves from predators and survive more efficiently since they have very poor eyesight.

With continuous training, hamsters can learn specific skills and tricks, and it just takes time because, in that case, they use their long-term memory to learn new things.

In general, hamsters are intelligent pets considering their isolated life and very short life span.

Read more: What Color Is Hamster Pee? All You Need To Know