Do Hamsters Have a Good Memory?

Talking about intelligence, often many owners wonder if hamsters have a good memory.

Hamsters are adorable and intriguing pets. There is a common belief that hamsters have a good memory. However, the truth is that the memory capabilities of hamsters are still not fully understood.

Scientific research on this topic has produced mixed results, with some studies indicating that hamsters have a relatively good memory compared to other rodents, while others suggest that their memory may be more limited.

Do Hamsters Have a Good Memory?

Do Hamsters Have a Good Memory

Hamsters are relatively small creatures and they have small brains and are unsophisticated. So, as per theoretical thinking, their memory should be relatively short. 

A variety of studies have shown that hamsters are capable of storing memory, though the extent and duration of their memory can vary. For instance, hamsters have been observed to remember the location of food sources, which is essential for their survival in the wild.

They can also remember certain routes within their habitat, borrow locations, and food storage spots, and navigate through them effectively.

This is called spatial memory which is an important part of their survival. Though this is less visible in captivity. Typically, they rely on their senses to pass through the information and navigate the world. This means memory is just a small part that comes into play.

Hamsters also have an episodic memory, which means they can remember specific events that occurred recently. This type of memory is typically limited to a few days or weeks. Consequently, hamsters may not remember specific experiences or events that happened in the past beyond this time frame.

Furthermore, various factors can influence the memory capabilities of a hamster. Environmental factors, such as stress levels or changes in their habitat, can impact their ability to recall information.

Individual variation can play a role, as some hamsters may exhibit better memory abilities compared to others. Siberian hamsters can retain information better than other species.

How Long Is A Hamster Can Remember An Event?

hamster memory span

It’s quite difficult to determine the duration of a hamster’s memory. Hamster memory span depends on various factors such as the individual hamster’s age, species, and overall health.

Hamsters have both spatial and associative memories. Different types of memories have different retention periods.

Studies have demonstrated that hamsters can remember specific locations, objects, and even social interactions for extended periods of time. In fact, some experiments have shown that hamsters can recall certain tasks and navigate mazes for up to a week after initially learning them.

So you can say that spatial memories last longer, even their lifetime. Hamsters can also have long-term memory particularly tied to strong emotional responses.

For instance, if a hamster has a negative encounter with a particular object, it may remember and avoid it for an extended period.

Conversely, if a hamster has a positive experience with a specific reward, it may remember and seek out that treat for a considerable amount of time.

Hamsters are adept at recalling items or situations that connect with strong emotions, whether it’s fear, pleasure, or danger. This ability allows them to navigate their environment and make decisions based on past experiences.

Nevertheless, it is clear that hamsters possess cognitive abilities that allow them to retain memories for longer periods than previously believed. Further research is still needed to fully understand the intricacies of hamster memory and its potential limitations.

Do Hamsters Remember Their Owners?

Hamsters can recognize owners but it depends on positive interaction. They don’t remember people who don’t play a significant role in their life.

So it is necessary to interact with your hamsters as a friend. This way your hamsters will be capable of recognizing faces and scents.

Hamsters have poor eyesight and are colorblind. So they hardly remember the faces of owners. Also, the outfits and hairstyles of ours manipulate them to recognize their owners.

However, these little furballs have a keen sense of smell and exceptionally sharp hearing, which allows them to remember and distinguish between different people.

Hamsters primarily rely on their sense of smell to identify people. They have scent glands located on their flanks, which produce a unique scent that is specific to each individual hamster.

This scent is released when they come into contact with their owners or anything else in their environment. Through repeated positive interactions, such as feeding, handling, and playtime, hamsters can form an association between their owner’s scent and positive experiences.

Moreover, hamsters can remember their owners using their excellent auditory memory. They can recognize and remember specific sounds, including their owner’s voice. By regularly interacting with their owners and hearing their voices, hamsters can develop a bond and familiarity.

Still, each hamster has its own personality and temperament. Some hamsters may show a stronger inclination to remember their owners compared to others. Further, the frequency and consistency of interactions with their owners play a significant role in building a strong bond and memory.

Hamsters may remember their owners at a basic level, but they are not capable of forming complex emotional attachments or memories as humans do. Their memory is more of a recognition and association rather than a deep emotional connection.

Are Hamsters Smarter Than Dogs?

Hamsters and dogs are both popular pets, but when it comes to intelligence, there is a clear winner.

Dogs are known for their exceptional intelligence and ability to learn and understand complex commands. They are highly trainable and have been used for various purposes, such as search and rescue, therapy, and even assisting individuals with disabilities.

On the other hand, hamsters are small rodents that are primarily kept as pets for their cuteness and low maintenance. While they are not known for their intelligence, hamsters do have their own unique behaviors and instincts.

They are excellent climbers and burrowers, and they have a keen sense of smell. Hamsters can also learn simple tasks, such as finding food in a maze or using a hamster wheel for exercise.

When comparing the intelligence of hamsters to dogs, it is clear that dogs have a much higher level of cognitive abilities. Dogs have been bred for centuries to work alongside humans.

Hamsters, on the other hand, have not undergone the same level of selective breeding for intelligence and are primarily kept as pets for their small size and low maintenance.

So, dogs are undoubtedly the smarter of the two. Their higher level of intelligence makes them more trainable and capable of understanding complex tasks and commands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do hamsters remember abuse?

Hamsters can remember negative experiences and may exhibit fear or avoidance behavior in response to stressful situations. They may not associate specific instances of abuse with their abusers in the same way that humans do.

Can hamsters miss you?

Hamsters can form bonds with their owners and show signs of attachment. However, hamsters don’t experience emotions like loneliness or missing their owners.

Still, they can remember the scent of owners for a long time. So you should provide appropriate care and social interaction to make a strong bond.


It is commonly believed that hamsters have a good memory, but the scientific evidence on this topic is still inconclusive. Further research is needed to better understand the memory capabilities. Thus, you can determine if they truly have a good memory.

Hamsters do possess memory capabilities, their memory span is relatively short, and their ability to remember specific events diminishes over time.

Moreover, hamsters have the ability to remember their owners to some extent. By regularly interacting with and providing positive experiences for your hamster, you can strengthen the bond and recognition between the two of you.

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