There is always something fun and exciting about having a hamster for a pet. However, this experience also comes with a lot of confusing questions, particularly when it comes to their cute little bodies. The ears are one body part of hamsters that most owners are curious about. The most common questions owners have about the ears of their hamsters have something to do with their sensitivity and appearance.
If you are a long-time proud hamster owner, you might have observed the change in their ears’ color. Why do hamsters ears turn black, anyway?
Why Do Hamsters Ears Change Color?
The color of your hamster’s ears commonly changes color as the animal gets older. This color change depends on what kind of hamster you have. The change in ear color is most prominent in Syrian hamsters although this also happens even in dwarf hamsters. This process is a natural one and is not something you should worry or panic about.
A hamster is not considered an adult until he reaches the age of 3 months old, and they undergo numerous changes to becoming an adult from being a baby. Their ears are one of these changes. The ears of hamsters often turn darker as they age or mature.
This means that if you notice that the ears of your hamster are starting to turn black, you don’t have to worry because there is nothing wrong with your pet. It will only become a problem when you notice that your hamster’s ears are already turning leathery and bad. When this happens, your pet might be suffering from a case of ear mites.
Aside from the ears turning darker as the hamster grows up, it is only possible for hamsters to get some grey hairs once they become older same as humans. The grey hairs show up all over the animal’s body, which includes their ears, making their color change yet again.
Hamsters Have an Extremely Strong Sense of Hearing
Despite not having very strong eyes, hamsters make up for it with their extremely strong ears. These small animals can hear frequencies that cannot be heard by human ears. Unlike humans who have a frequency range of 96 Hz to 20000 Hz, the hearing frequency range of hamsters is 96 Hz to 46500 Hz.
It is perfectly understandable why hamsters have remarkably strong ears. These animals, after all, are most active when it is dark outside, which means that very strong eyesight won’t benefit them at all. On the other hand, darkness doesn’t affect hearing, which makes it a crucial sense they can count on every time they embark on their nightly forages.
Hamsters in the wild rely on their great sense of hearing for survival as it lets them hear approaching predators so they can get away right in time.
Since their ears are well-developed, you have to make sure that your hamster is not exposed a lot to excessive noise. TVs, loud music or traffic can be very disturbing to these animals’ sensitive ears.
Hamsters Put Their Ears Back Sometimes
A hamster’s ears usually stand upright on the animal’s head. These are in this position because it lets them pick up or hear more sounds. But they can also put their ears back from time to time.
Hamsters do it for many different reasons, the most common one of which is that they are nervous. Since these small animals usually do it when they feel nervous, this is typically observed in newly adopted hamsters.
Just like other small pets, hamsters also need some time for them to adjust to their new environment. They are unsure yet if you are a foe or a friend when you first took them to your home, and as a result, hamsters often feel nervous, and it can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Putting their ears back is one of these ways.
But there are also some other reasons why hamsters put their ears back. They also exhibit this particular behavior, for example, when they don’t feel that well or when they are sleeping. Hamsters’ ears are notably mobile. Aside from being able to put them down, hamsters can also move their ears around to the specific direction where the sound they hear is coming from.
Hamsters Communicate with Their Well-Developed Ears
Hamsters communicate with each other using high-frequency sounds. It was found that female hamsters produce ultrasound calls in frequencies between 34 and 42 kHz. Male hamsters also emit high-frequency vocalizations with a different frequency between 32 and 38 kHz.
In comparison, humans are only able to hear sounds at a maximum frequency of 20 kHz. It means that due to the sensitive ears of hamsters that can pick up high-frequency sounds, they can communicate using calls that the human ear cannot hear.
Syrian Hamsters Got the Biggest Ears
Out of the 5 species of hamsters that are domesticated and kept as pets, Syrians are the ones that got the biggest ears of them all. Now, this doesn’t really come as a surprise anyway since they are also the largest hamster species that are almost twice the size of their smaller counterpart, the Roborovski hamsters. But their ears are also usually the biggest relative to their head’s size.
Hamsters Have Quite Vulnerable Ears
Since ears are basically a hole in the head, it only makes perfect sense for them to be very vulnerable. As far as hamsters are concerned, their ears can also suffer from a variety of diseases and ailments. Ear mites and ear infections are among the ear problems that hamsters are most commonly exposed to.
One thing that hamsters usually do when they are suffering from a form of ear infection is when they begin circling. It means they run around in circles and tilt their head to one side. The moment you notice your hamster doing this, make sure you take him to the vet for a checkup.
The best thing you can do is ensure that your hamster’s cage always stays clean to prevent any ear problems in your pet. Bacteria are often the cause of ear infections. By cleaning the cage of your hamster, you will not only reduce the risks of ear infections but also other diseases.