If you are not yet a hamster owner, you may be wondering if the little guys have tails or not. Given their rotund and small bodies, it’s no wonder hamster tails are so well hidden. Or, perhaps non-existent?
Are hamsters merely hiding their tails, or are they born without them?
Do Hamsters Have Tails?
Yes, hamsters have tails. They are small and stubby, in most cases, but definitely there. Given their size, they don’t contribute much to a hamster’s balance, but they are used to an extent in various situations.
Some hamsters have slightly longer tails than others. The Chinese hamster has a clearly visible tail, while Dwarf and Syrian hamsters have practically invisible tails. They are not much more than stumps at the end of their spines.
Hamsters use their tails to communicate with each other, especially before they mate, and they also help them keep their balance on rough terrain.
Do Syrian Hamsters Have Tails?
Yes, Syrian hamsters have tails, but they are very short and stubby, so are practically invisible. If your hamster has long hair, it will most likely completely hide the tail.
While Syrian hamsters are the largest hamster breed, their tails are just around a centimeter long, which is relatively small compared to their body.
Syrian hamster tails are hairless and skin-colored, usually pink. They are easy to spot, if your hamster shows you their backside, and if their rear is not obscured by their long fur.
Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Have Tails?
Russian dwarf hamsters have tails, but they are tiny. Since these hamsters have short fur, the tail can be easier to spot than with some other breeds.
The tail of a Russian Dwarf hamster will be around half a centimeter long, so definitely not easily visible. It’s also covered in fur, so will be practically indistinguishable from the rest of its body.
Do Winter White Hamsters Have Tails?
Winter white hamsters do have tails, which are around half a centimeter long. Since they have short fur, the tail can be easier to spot.
These gorgeous white hamsters are a type of dwarf hamster, so you can’t expect them to have long tails to begin with.
Do Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters Have Tails?
Yes, Roborovski or Robo dwarf hamsters do have tails. Since they are the smallest of all captive hamster breeds, their tails are also the tiniest.
This speedy hamster breed takes the cake for the least visible tail. Since they are so fast and active, and given that their tail is not bigger than a quarter of a centimeter, they could be the reason we mistakenly thought hamsters had no tails.
Do Chinese Hamsters Have Tails?
Yes, Chinese hamsters have tails. Their tails can be up to two and a half centimeters long, and are the easiest to spot.
Chinese hamsters are around 10 centimeters long, so their tails often get them confused with mice and gerbils. The tail is covered in fur, and matches the color of the hamster.
Why Do Hamsters Have Short Tails?
We assume hamsters have short tails because they neither need them for balance, nor do they want to make it easier for a predator to grab them.
Most mammals use their tails for balance. Cats for example seem to literally have a radar in their tail that helps them land on their feet. Rats, mice and gerbils do a lot of climbing and running, and need a tail to help them do it more efficiently.
Hamsters on the other hand are not really climbers and are much more into burrowing. Rabbits and guinea pigs that have the same habit also have short tails, as you know.
The short tail also means there is no extra length a predator can use to grab a hamster and pull them out of their hideout.
How Long Can a Hamster’s Tail Be?
Most hamsters have very short tails, not much longer than a grain of rice. The Chinese hamster is the only exception, who have several centimeters of tail.
Hamster tails are typically tiny and stubby, often difficult to spot, especially if they are covered in fur. Even the Chinese hamster only has a couple of centimeters of tail, but due to its small size, the tail is much more prominent.
What Does a Hamster Use Its Tail For?
Hamster tails protect their bottoms, but are still small enough to stay out of the way while they are burrowing. They are also used to communicate with other hamsters.
Since hamsters live very close to the ground and have no need for climbing, their tails are designed to be inconspicuous. They don’t need them to balance while climbing, and a long tail would just get in the way of all the digging. A long tail would also allow a predator to grab the hamster more easily while they were trying to escape.
The tail is thus meant to protect the sensitive rear of the hamster, especially while burrowing and getting dirty. It also helps hamsters scale rougher terrain in the wild. In captivity, they aren’t as useful.
Hamsters also use their tails to communicate with each other. A female hamster will dramatically lift her tail like an antenna when she’s ready to mate.
Can a Hamster’s Tail Fall Off?
No, hamster tails can’t fall off, unless forcibly removed, which is incredibly painful for the hamster. No rodents can shed their tails, in fact.
Hamsters are not lizards, and can’t willingly lose their appendage when they feel threatened. They can injure their tail so badly that it falls off, but this is a medical emergency, and you need to take your pet to the vet immediately.
Do Hamster Tails Grow Back?
No, hamster tails do not grow back. They can grow skin and fur over the spot where the tail used to be, but they will forever miss the bone and other tissue.
Hamsters can live without tails though, as long as the wound was properly treated by a professional. If your pet has had an accident and is now tailless, don’t worry – they can still live a happy life, as long as you make sure the wound does not get infected.
Wrapping It Up
While a hamster’s tail is very small and potentially covered in fur, it’s most definitely there. Make sure to be gentle with it and never try to lift your hamster by the tail.