How To Know If Your Hamster Is Male Or Female?

Photo Credit: Lianne McLeod

It can be difficult to identify the sex of hamsters, especially if they are young if you don't have both male and female hamsters for comparison. The fundamental distinctions are the same for all hamster species, whether Syrian, Dwarf, or Chinese. Each species, however, has unique characteristics or features that can aid in sex identification.

Holding a Hamster to determine whether it is male or female

Turn your hamster on its back to inspect the belly. You can cup your hand around the hamster and turn it over onto its back, or you can grasp the hamster by the scruff of its neck. Holding the hamster somewhat upright ("sitting up") will help you establish whether or not testicles are present.

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Anogenital Distinction

The anogenital distance is the most reliable measure to determine if a hamster is male or female. This is the distance between the anus and the genital openings (penile openings in males, vaginal and urine openings in females). Females have a substantially shorter distance than males. Females' two apertures can be difficult to detect, whilst males' area in between is usually twice as lengthy.

Other General Distinctions

A few more distinctions exist among all hamsters, though they may be difficult to notice depending on the hamster's age and species.

In comparison to the female, the male's back end is extended and rounder in form.After about four weeks of age, male hamsters frequently have a visible scrotum with testicles, though the testicles can be retracted.Nipples are only found in female hamsters.

Syrian Hamster Characteristics

Syrian hamster sexing is somewhat easier than sexing other species because the distinctions between males and females are relatively clear. Female Syrian hamsters have nipples that are visible in two rows running parallel to and along the sides of the belly. When the hamster's belly hair is short, the nipples are most noticeable. Male Syrian hamsters have prominent testicles that protrude from their posterior end. The testicles may be retracted (as in all-male hamsters) or buried by fur, but they are usually visible.

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Dwarf Hamster Characteristics

Dwarf hamsters have various distinguishing characteristics that can help you establish their gender. 

Male Dwarf hamsters have a smell gland visible in the middle of their belly. The gland's secretions may also cause yellow or greasy discoloration around the gland. Female Dwarf hamsters have tiny scent glands that are difficult to detect. Male dwarf hamsters can also be distinguished by their testicles and the morphology of their hind ends, which taper toward their tails. On mature hamsters, the testicles are most apparent. Finally, male Dwarf hamsters are larger than females, albeit size is an imprecise indicator because it fluctuates with age and animal.

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Chinese Hamster Characteristics

The form of their hind ends is the most distinguishing feature of Chinese hamsters. Males have longer, more rounded tails than females. If you don't have both sexes of hamsters to compare, you'll have to rely on the anogenital distance to make a positive identification.

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