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Hamsters are not known for their good eyesight! Our hams are able to move around due to their incredible sense of smell and their incredible ears! Their vision, however, isn’t exactly incredible. So this leads to people wondering, “can hamsters see in the dark”. The answer is yes! In fact, they can see much better in the dark than in the light! This article will be expanding more on this and explaining why exactly hamsters can see in the dark better than in the light. We will also be looking at hamster vision in general

How come hamsters can see better in the dark?

It seems strange, we can see better in the light so we often expect that for every other animal. Hamsters can see better in the dark because it helps them in their natural habitats. Hamsters are nocturnal which means that they do most of their activities in the dark, the lack of artificial lights in the desert means that they need to have night-vision! Hamsters will do a lot of their food-collecting and burrowing in the pitch-black which means that their eyes need to be adapted for these conditions. During the day they are often asleep, this means that they don’t need to use their eyes!

Can Hamsters see during the day?

You must now be wondering if hamsters can see at all during the day. The answer is yes, but not very well. Hamsters are known for their poor vision and the worst time for their vision is during the day. Hamsters can see during the day, but don’t expect them to be able to see much. Hamsters love using their ears, eyes and scent glands to make their way around the cage and this is especially certain during the day.

You may notice the effects of your hamster’s poor eyesight during the day. If they wake up they may look clumsy and sometimes quite grouchy! Hamsters have a great angry face and this is often used if they are woken up unexpectedly. Hamsters will mainly wake up during the day to have a little snack or to drink some water, they don’t appreciate being woken up for pets in daytime!

You can improve your hamster’s safety during the day by making the cage easy to use for a hamster with little eyesight. You can remove levels from the cage, put the food and water near your hamster’s bedding and make sure that there are no dramatic falls! Hamsters can damage themselves when falling, especially when they are quite elderly!

Check out our latest article. It looks at how long your lovely hamster will live for.

Are hamsters colorbind?

Another question that people ask about the eyesight of hamsters is “are hamsters colorbind”. The answer is yes! Hamsters are colorbind and cannot distinguish between colors. 97% of hamster eye cells are “rods” which cannot capture color. This means that hamsters have a very low capacity to see colors. You can decorate your hamster’s cage to look as pretty and colorful as you want, they won’t notice! This high level of rod cells also results in them being able to see well at night.

Some studies state that hamsters have monochromatic eyesight; this means that they see everything as a single color! This doesn’t really effect them in day-to-day life though, they can still recognise you by your scent and by your voice!

Can hamsters see UV light?

Some scientists believe that hamsters can see UV light. This type of light is much more active during the day and this could be why hamsters have at least some form of sight during the day. Being able to see UV light means that your hamster can see urine trails and other signs that show that predators could be around. It’s therefore logical that this could be an adaptation that a hamster has.

Are hamsters short-sighted?

Hamsters are very short-sighted, they can only see a little way past their nose. This means that they often can’t see you, the owner, or other people. This means that hamsters need a lot of protection to prevent them from falling or hurting themselves in other ways. Your hamster makes up for their lack of sight with their hearing and their sense of smell.

How do hamsters survive without good eyesight?

Eyesight is absolutely crucial for humans, it’s probably our best sense! Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive in the same way that we do now. The good news is that hamsters adapt based on their lack of eyesight, which means that they can still survive. Hamsters have excellent senses of smell and hearing which means that they can survive in the wild.


A hamster’s hearing is incredible! They hear much better than humans and can hear higher frequencies than us as well. This is why you may often see your hamster freeze if they hear a certain sound. Certain high-frequency sounds can convey a sense of danger to your hamster, they will stand still in order to protect themselves! They also communicate in higher frequencies than we can sometimes hear. A hamster’s hearing can be delicate though, don’t play loud music in front of them and try not to make loud noises near them. It can startle them and hurt their hearing.

Sense of smell

Hamsters have a great sense of smell which allows them to get around their cage and around their natural habitat. The scent glands on their body leave a clear scent that they can follow to get back to their cage. Their whiskers and nose mean that they can easily get around without good eyesight. Their sense of smell helps them find food and protects them if they smell a predator nearby. Your hamster eventually will get to know your smell, if you socialise with them enough!

Teeth and claws

Your hamster’s teeth and claws allow them to quickly burrow into the ground, this can protect them from predators. Hamster burrows are incredibly complex and large which allows your hamster to have a safe place to eat, drink and sleep! Your hamster’s teeth allow them to chew through their food with ease and allows them to eat their prey.

Can you improve your hamster’s eyesight?

It can be hard to improve your hamster’s eyesight due to what we have started earlier. A hamster’s eye is almost entirely made up of cells that don’t enjoy bright lights which means that your hamster will never gain full functional eyesight. However, you can feed your hamster certain vitamins that will protect the eyesight they already have.

Vitamin A, which is contained in foods such as carrots and lettuce, is great for improving your hamster’s eyesight. It will maintain their eye health and ensure that it doesn’t get any worse. You can read our guides on carrot and lettuce for tips on how to give them to your hamster.

Whilst you can’t drastically improve your hamster’s eyesight. You can ensure that they are safe in spite of it. Try to avoid multi-level cages and anything with a sharp drop which could hurt your hamster. Always monitor your hamster when they are in your possession as well, they have terrible depth perception which can lead to them jumping off your hand!

Check out our latest article on if hamsters can catch colds!

Conclusion – Can hamster see in the dark?

In conclusion, hamsters can see in the dark. In fact they prefer it to normal levels of light. Hamsters can see in the dark better due to their natural adaptations which means that you have nothing to worry about. You don’t need to keep the light on! Hamsters have poor eyesight overall, although they can see UV light. They are colorblind and can only see one color. Your pet makes up for these problems with an incredible sense of smell and hearing!

Does your hamster have good eyesight? Do they recognise your voice? Let us know in the comments!