Why do hamsters store food in their cheeks?

? " Hamster Care " Why do hamsters store food in their cheeks?
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Published by Julie
hamster fills its cheeks

As is wildIn the wild, hamsters store food in their jowls until they reach their nest, a safe place. In the wild, hamsters are exposed to a variety of predators, so it's risky for them to stop and eat anywhere. So they prefer to store their food until they find a safe place to move it.

If you notice your pet hamster storing its food, don't worry! This behavior is completely natural and healthy, and causes no harm to hamsters. It doesn't necessarily mean that your hamster feels unsafe in its environment. Read on to find out more about this behavior and what you, as the owner, need to watch out for.

What are hamsters' jowls for?

A hamster's jowls are very different from ours. They have large pockets that extend to their shoulders. For example, a Syrian hamster adult can store an entire peanut in one of its jowls, illustrating their storage capacity. This allows hamsters to transport a large food quantity discreetly and efficiently.

As well as food, hamsters have also been observed carrying other things in their jowls. If they're preparing a nest, they may carry litter. A mother hamster will often carry her young in these vast jowls. This protects the young from environmental hazards and allows the mother to carry them as easily as she does her food, however uncomfortable this may seem.

Unlike our cheeks, these cheeks do not contain salivary glands. So not only do they protect their food, their young or their bedding, they also keep them dry. Even when their jowls are filled to the brim, a hamster can still eat!

cheeks full of food
cheeks full of food

Are his jowls full of food?

Quite astonishing, isn't it? The little animal's head seems to transform into a kind of gigantic balloon! Really, it's a sight worth seeing.

Hamster jowls are undoubtedly one of the most fun features of these little creatures. But even if they're cute, they're not immune to health problems. Although these inconveniences are rather rare, as a hamster owner, you'd certainly want to be aware of the potential complications that can affect this delicate and important area of your pet's body.

This information is intended to shed some light on this fascinating subject and help you become a super-savvy hamster owner. But remember, if you notice anything abnormal in your hamster's jowls, don't try to play veterinarian at home! This is an extremely sensitive area, especially in such a small animal. If in doubt, the best thing to do is to consult a veterinarian specialized in exotic animals as soon as possible for appropriate treatment.

Localized infections and abscesses

Specific hamster foods and treats can have sharp edges - take sunflower seeds, for example. If a fragment of food injures In the hamster's cheek, this can lead to a localized infection known as an abscess. This type of infection, like abscesses, can be identified by inflammation and the appearance of pus.

Considering the tiny size of hamstersBut if you're not careful, such an infection can spread rapidly. It is therefore necessary to be vigilant and watch out for these signs to prevent more serious damage or mortal danger:

  • Hamster cheeks appear swollen, even when they're not storing food.
  • The inflammation on the hamster's face is hard, unlike when they store food.
  • You can see the pus-filled abscess if you can look inside the hamster's mouth.
  • The hamster seems to eat less. Painful areas may be very sensitive.

If you suspect that your hamster has an abscess, the only solution is to take him to the vet. He will draw up a treatment plan to help your hamster recover and quickly return to its normal eating habits!

Turning over the jowls

The turning of the jowls: sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, doesn't it? Well, it's pretty surreal, I'll give you that.

So imagine that the buccal pouch of your hamster turns over and comes out of its mouth... a bit like if your handbag turned over on its own and all the contents ended up on the outside. It's quite visual, as you'll see a little pink part (that's the mouth pouch) protruding from the corner of your hamster's mouth.

It's clearly time for a trip to the vet. Sometimes, though not always, the vet has to sew the mouth pouch back on - a bit like putting all your stuff back in your handbag and closing it up again. It's a delicate procedure that only an animal health professional should attempt. So don't try to play superhero, let the pros do their job!

How can this oral problem be prevented?

First, make sure your hamster chews appropriate food. Foods that are too soft, such as bananas, can sometimes get stuck in the mouth pouches and cause impaction. So, as long as your hamster nibbles on normal-textured foods, all should be well.

Next, remember that chewing on safe objects is crucial to your hamster's health. It helps limit the growth of their teeth, preventing any risk of snagging in the mouth pouches. So give your hamster toys or treats such as untreated wood.

Finally, make sure your hamster's habitat is free of sharp edges. If your hamster nibbles on the sharp edges of the cage or the cage itself, tears can form in the mouth pouches. So, remove broken or worn plastic immediatelylike toys and tunnels. If the hamster cage is damaged, don't hesitate to replace it. Your hamster will thank you with cheerful squeaks and vigorous rolls of the head. wheel!

Watch out for old-fashioned food!

Our hamster friends love to store food, sometimes creating small reserves for later. Unfortunately, this can lead to piles of old food scattered around the cage. So go around the cage and remove all the food. expired food you spot. It's a bit like going on a treasure hunt, except that the treasure here is a clean, safe cage!

Don't forget to set aside a little time each week for a thorough cage cleaning. This weekly ritual will help keep your hamster's environment fresh and healthy. As with us, eating stale food can harm the health of our little friends. So let's get cracking! We roll up our sleeves and make way for the well-being of our adorable hamsters.

But I'm afraid my hamster will choke!

Your hamster is a pro at managing its food supply. Give him time, and he'll naturally get rid of everything he's accumulated. There's no need to stress him out by trying to help him get rid of his treasure! And yes, although it may seem counter-intuitive, our attempts to help them can sometimes end up damaging their sensitive little cheeks.

So, even if you're worried, remember that hamsters instinctively know how to manage their food supply. They're generally very good at looking after themselves! If you suspect a problem, such as your hamster not being able to empty its cheeks, don't hesitate to consult a specialist vet.

And remember: even if your hamster seems to be putting something inedible in its cheeks, don't panic! They can't swallow food or objects that are in their cheeks. As with food, they'll eventually spit out whatever they don't like when they feel the time is right. So relax and enjoy the spectacle of these incredible little eaters!

So, reassured?

As you may have guessed, hamsters? cheeks are their most remarkable physical attribute. These balls of fur are capable of carry a quantity of food equivalent to up to 20% of their body weight in their little cheeks. Incredible, isn't it?

It's only natural for these little gourmands to fill their cheeks with food. But while their cheeks look cute and fun when they're full to bursting, they're also vulnerable. They can be prone to infection or damage.

If you're a happy hamster owner, stay vigilant. Look out for signs of abscesses, impactions and eversion. If necessary, don't hesitate to consult a specialized veterinarian. This vigilance can prevent serious health problems and even save your little companion's life.

But remember, there's nothing more normal and healthy than seeing a hamster fill its cheeks. So sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacle your hamster puts on, like when he walks around with cheeks full of food or when he carefully empties his reserves. It's simply fascinating, isn't it?

Photo of author
Published by Julie

Passionate about hamsters since I was young, I share with you all my knowledge about them!

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