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Are Hamsters Smart – A Look Into Hamster Intelligence Levels!

With more and more people choosing to add a pet hamster to their family, we have noticed a dramatic increase in th number of people reaching out about keeping pet hamsters with questions ranging from offering them the best case to general questions about hamsters.

For today’s article, we are going to be taking a look at the question are hamsters smart after noticing more and more people reaching out about the intelligence levels of their pet hamsters.

We hope that this article will be able to help as many of our readers better understand the intelligence levels of their pet hamsters as well as help you understand the limitations of their intelligence too.

Understanding the limitations of just how smart your hamster actually is can help you with playtime with your hamster as well as other interactions with them too.

As we see a range of different questions being asked from the community relating to the intelligence levels of hamsters, we have added a comparison table to our article below.

It will allow you to quickly and easily navigate to specific sections of the article without having to scroll over the whole thing helping to save our readers time getting to the information they care most about.

Are Hamsters Smart?

Hamsters are smarter than most people initially think with them having the ability to recognize their owners and to feel complex emotions.

Amongst rodents, hamsters are generally considered to be just behind mice and rats when it comes to their intelligence levels and the types of tasks that they can be trained to do.

This is why the majority of research into the intelligence of rodents is based around using rats and mice rather than hamsters.

In addition to this, hamsters tend to have a much shorter attention span than rats and mice too making it harder to train them to do complex tasks.

That said though, there are a number of rodent toys designed for developing intelligence that usually cost around the $10 mark that people can use with hamsters.

Although the results of them helping to develop the intelligence levels of your hamsters are controversial, most hamsters to seem to enjoy playing with them making them an ideal toy for your hamster anyway.

How Smart Are Hamsters Compared To Other Pets?

Although hamsters are not as intelligent as dogs, cats, and some types of birds, they are more intelligent than fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

An added bonus of the hamster not being as intelligent as dogs and birds in particular is that they tend not to require mental stimulation as often making hamsters a low maintenance pet.

Depending on your situation, this can pay to your advantage due to so many people needing a more passive pet but not realizing it until they have already added a dog to their family.

The higher intelligence levels of their dog then require the dog to be mentally stimulated more than a hamster would need a much higher commitment from the owner to keep their dog mentally stimulated.

Although dogs and the more intelligent pets can be an excellent pet for many situations, with more and more people leading busier and busier lives where they will be in the office for the majority of the day, a hamster can be a nice middle ground.

Hamsters are intelligent enough to play with interactively when you get home from work but tend not to be as demanding and thankfully, can’t bark or pester you much when they require mental stimulation like dogs can.

Are Hamsters Intelligent Enough To Recognise Their Owners?

Hamsters are intelligent enough to recognize their owners but they do tend to have poor eyesight due to being a nocturnal animal making it harder for them to actually see you.

Although hamsters do have an acture sense of smell, it is no where near as effective to that as a dog and has a much smaller range so you will usually have to get very close to your hamster before it is able to recognize you by your smell.

Various studies have confirmed that hamsters tend to identify each other via their scent rather than visual features and this is how your pet hamster will recognize you.

This is similar to a pet ferret that requires you to get close enough for it to smell you rather than relying on its vision for the identification of its owners.

With there being so many pets out there who are not able to recognize their owners, the simple ability to recognize their owners does put hamsters in the middle of the pack for most pets when it comes to their intelligence.

If you do have multiple people and to some extent other pets in your home, there is a good chance that your hamster will be smart enough to identify each human and the other pets in your home via their smell.

Are Hamsters Intelligent Enough To Do Tricks?

Although hamsters are not able to do complex tricks, multiple people have been able to teach their pet hamsters simple tricks that they are able to do repeatedly.

Food tends to be one of the best motivators when teaching your pet hamster to do various tricks with strawberry drops often being the best option by far.

Strawberry drops offer a unique taste and a high hit of fructose that is not usually in your pet hamster’s food helping to keep your pet hamster motivated and focused.

As we touched on earlier in the article, one of the main downsides of hamsters when it comes to their intelligence levels is their short attention span so you have to keep them focused with high value treats.

You can also try to integrate rodent toys designed for developing intelligence to help teach your hamster a number of different tricks too.

Although there are videos on YouTube of these working, we are unable to confirm if the hamster does the tricks on demand or if the owner just recorded their pet hamster for hours until they done what they were meant to by chance.

What Is The IQ Of A Hamster?

People often ask for the IQ of hamsters and other pets but due to the layout of an IQ test, pets are not able to inteperate the questions to be scored using the IQ scale.

We have seen claims of IQ levels of pets with hamsters included but these are totally fabricated and made up.

Although we have not seen it with hamsters, we have seen dog breeders claim that they breed “high IQ dogs” and attempt to pump the prices for their puppies up above normal for the breed they are trying to sell.

If you ever try to purchase a pet and the seller is trying to tell you about the IQ of the animal, they are probably trying to pump the price up and scam you.

The human age equivalent system has a number of flaws in it but it more accurate than the IQ system when gauging the intelligence of animals.

Using the human age equivalent system, it is predicted that hamsters have the intelligence level of a twelve to eighteen month old human.

This is usually due to the short attention span of hamsters going against them and even if they are completing a puzzle correctly, simply getting bored and wondering off to do something else.


That brings our article going over if hamsters are smart or not to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you better understand the intelligence level of your pet hamsters as well as how you are able to best stimulate them too. As we mentioned throughout the article, hamsters are of moderate intelligence and can make the ideal pet for anyone who wants a low maintenance pet that can be more interactive than fish, reptiles or amphibians.