Anyone who’s owned a pet hamster can tell you that these guys are fast. Watching them run on their wheel can be a crazy thing. Their legs move so quickly that at peak speeds it’s hard for the eye to keep up. This begs the question, how fast are hamsters?
A hamster’s speed can vary depending on a variety of factors. Age, health, weight, and breed will all affect exactly how quick your hamster can be. There are five breeds of hamster kept as pets: Syrian Hamsters, Chinese Dwarf Hamsters, Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters, Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamsters and Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters. Syrian hamsters are the largest, but they are not the fastest. It is actually the smallest hamster breed, the Roborovski hamster, that is the fastest.
On average, a hamster can run at speeds of up to 8 miles per hour. The average human can walk three miles an hour, meaning if you and your hamster raced, you’d have to jog to keep up. They are able to move so quickly because of their small size and short legs. When a hamster runs it uses a combination of its hind legs and tail to push itself forward. The tail specifically helps the hamster maintain balance while in motion.
With their top speed being 8mph it’s safe to say hamsters can move quick. But, this stat yields nothing in the ways of stamina. Though hamsters may be fast, how long can they run? In a single night a hamster can run over five miles. The average American walks less than two miles a day. Even though we’re over 100x larger than our furry friends they outclass us in quite a few track and field events.
One of the main reasons hamsters evolved to be so quick is in order to avoid predators. In the wild, hamsters are prey animals with few defensive tools at their disposal. Predators like birds and snakes would be able to make an easy meal out of them if it were not for their speed. By being quick on their feet, hamsters can outmaneuver predators and escape harm.
Another attribute hamsters have that helps them move so fast is their agile reflexes. A hamster is able to make sharp turns and sudden stops on dime's notice. Their excellent reflexes allow them to quickly escape should they sense danger.
Though hamsters are small in stature they boast impressive speed stats. While a hamsters breed, age, health, and weight all factor into its ability to run fast, most hamsters can run up to 8 miles per hour. Moreover, on any given night a hamster may run 5+ miles. Hamsters have evolved to be fast on their feet in order to avoid predators and forage for food. Be wary the next time you decide to race your small pet.