The Difference Between Male and Female Hamsters

In many animal species there are differences between male and females. Male lions have manes and female beta fish have smaller fins. The phenomena of gendered differences between animal species is now as sexual dimorphism. Today we will be looking at the differences between male and female hamsters. 

Physical Differences

Size and Weight: Generally, female hamsters are larger than males. This size difference can be quite pronounced in some species like Syrian hamsters, where females are notably bigger and heavier. On the other hand, in smaller species like dwarf hamsters, this size discrepancy might not be as noticeable but still exists.

Genitalia: The most reliable way to differentiate between male and female hamsters is by examining their genitalia. Males have a greater distance between the genital opening and the anus compared to females. In males, you can also see noticeable testicles, especially in adult hamsters. In females, the genital opening is much closer to the anus.

Scent Glands: Male hamsters, especially Syrian males, have more prominent scent glands. These glands are located on their hips and can appear as dark, rough patches. They use these glands to mark their territory, which is a significant behavioral difference from females.

Behavioral Differences

Breeding Behavior: When it comes to breeding, female hamsters are known to be more selective and can exhibit aggressive behaviors towards males if not in the right reproductive phase. Males are typically more persistent and less aggressive during mating.

Activity Levels: Females are often more active and inquisitive than males. They tend to explore their surroundings more vigorously and can exhibit higher levels of activity, particularly at night, as hamsters are nocturnal creatures.

Health Considerations

Lifespan and Health Issues: The lifespan of hamsters does not significantly differ between males and females, generally ranging from 2 to 3 years. However, females, particularly those that have had multiple litters, may be more prone to health issues such as uterine tumors and complications from pregnancies.

Stress Levels: Females, due to their territorial nature, might experience higher stress levels when their space is invaded or when changes occur in their environment. This stress can lead to health issues and aggressive behaviors.

Social Interactions

Human Interaction: While individual personalities vary, male hamsters are often more relaxed and easier to handle, making them a preferred choice for families with young children. Females, being more energetic and sometimes more aggressive, might require more careful handling and patience.


Choosing between a male and female hamster depends on the owner's preferences and circumstances. Males, with their generally docile nature and ease of handling, are often recommended for first-time hamster owners or families with children. Females, on the other hand, with their larger size and more active behaviors, can be more engaging but might require a more experienced touch. By understanding these differences, hamster owners can ensure a happier and healthier life for their furry companions.

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