While owning a hamster, there are many habits and behaviors that you will soon learn to recognize and expect. But what about farting? Do hamsters partake in the passing of gas?
So, do hamsters fart? Hamsters can and do fart. Farting is a natural by-product of digesting food and is how hamsters expel any gas that is created during the digestive process. However, farting is rare in hamsters and you will unlikely be able to hear or smell it if they do. Excessive gas, bloating or farting could indicate an inappropriate diet or wider health issue which will need to be investigated by a vet.
Knowing that your hamster is can fart may come as a surprise. Either way, you’ll be pleased of the fact that as an owner; you’re unlikely to get wafts of pungent smells coming from their behind. A hamsters cage can and does smell; but it is not usually through the passing of gas.
Let us now take a closer look at the topic in further depth. This will help to manage your expectations and get a firmer understanding of what can cause gas and bloating in hamsters.
Can Hamsters Fart?
Yes hamsters can fart. Farting, also known as flatulence, is a natural by-product of the digestive process.
When food is digested, and broken down, gas is naturally produced. Farting is simply the way that this excess gas is removed from the body. As such, hamsters are not immune to the buildup of gas and its effects.
Gas can be created in a variety of ways. Here are the main ones:
- Swallowing of air; during eating and drinking. this air then ends up in the GI Tract before being expelled
- Consumption of Carbohydrates; which are broken down within the gut. Bacteria is required to digest carbohydrates (which in-turn releases gas that must be expelled). This is particularly true and most common with fibrous foods.
- Digestive issues – like bacterial overgrowth which causes an excess of gas to be produced.
However, just because hamsters can fart, doesn’t mean that they always do nor should you expect it frequently as their owner.
In the rare situation that they do, you can expect the fart to be passed quietly and so long as your hamster is healthy, mostly without any smell.
If farting was to become a more regular occurrence in your hamster, or if you was to begin to notice it, this could indicate a health problem. In such a case it is best to seek the advice of a vet. You’ll also want to consider their diet.
Do Hamster Farts Smell?
Generally, if your hamster farts, you are unlikely to smell it.
This is primarily because hamsters produce so little gas, in comparison to us humans and other larger animals, due to their smaller size and constitution.
However, there are certain factors that can increase the likelihood of your hamster passing smelliest farts: such as specific inclusions of foods within their diet.
Two such examples include foods high in protein and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower).
This is because farts consist of a number of gases. The one that smells in particular is hydrogen sulfide. Sulphur is known to produce that notorious egg smell.
The foods mentioned above are high in organic sulphur and also lead to higher quantities of this gas being produced during digestion which ultimately have to be passed.
Usually, hydrogen sulfide only makes up a small percentage of the total gas released during a fart.
Other gases, like Nitrogen and Hydrogen are usually considerably more abundant (at 59% and 21% respectively). Other gases include Carbon Dioxide (9%), Methane (7%) and Oxygen (4%).
The diet of your hamster can therefore alter the balance and ratio of gases.
Just remember the relative size of a hamster. Even if the ratio of gases was likely to change, the amount of gas they pass is very small. Consequently you are unlikely to smell your hamsters farts.
How Loud Are Hamster Farts?
Again due to their relative size, hamsters are not known to fart loudly. Due to their biology, they are unable to generate the force nor does the passing of gas generate much sound.
Of course, there are a number of factors that will play a role here in the total volume of noise.
Anything that increases the amount of gas that needs to be passed will have an impact.
Diet, as you see as a recurring theme in this article, is one of them.
Larger amounts of gas at any one time will be louder as it exits than what would occur with a lower amount. However, as we previously mention, hamsters cannot produce much overall gas due to their size.
Another factor is the speed of the transit of the gas out of the hamster. The noise that is made during a fart is the result of friction; so it naturally follows that the more friction produced, the louder the sound. This friction occurs as the gas passes through the sphincter and also out of the rectum.
Lastly, one factor that can affect loudness, which will range from hamster to hamster, is how tight their anal sphincter muscles are. These are muscles that control the opening/closing of the rectum. They work when your hamster farts or defecates.
If these muscles are not working as well, this could lead to a tighter exit hole, meaning the chances of louder farts.
Does Diet Impact and Affect Farting?
Diet plays a large role in the chances of your hamster farting, and any subsequent smell that is produced.
It is known that specific foods result in more farting.
FODMAPS are perhaps the most notorious. This is a classification of foods – all known to resist digestion in the small intestine and end up fermenting (this is where gas is then produced as a by product of this process).
Perhaps the standout offender in the FODMAP group is fructose (or fruit sugar) which is more abundant in certain fruits over others. These are the kinds of fruits that your hamster should not be eating much of, if any, at all.
Apples are perhaps one of the most common culprits. These are naturally high in fructose which result in more gas production due to the fermentation that will occur in the large intestine of your hamster.
Sugars, even if natural fruit sugars, need to be limited in the diet of your hamster.
It is best to opt for berries which are naturally lower in sugar; strawberries and blueberries are favourites among many hamster owners. They are great to provide as treats.
Another offender is Dairy. Lactose, which is present in most dairy products, is known to cause flatulence in rodents like hamsters. This is because they do not possess the enzyme to break the lactose down. So instead, it causes gas l.
Again, dairy is not a food group you should be looking to feed your hamster. While there are reports of some cheeses being okay (those naturally low ir free from lactose), this is not the kind of food that a hamster thrives on.
Specific vegetables, like cruciferous vegetables mentioned earlier in this article (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage) while fine to feed in moderation, can and also will likely lead to gas and increased chances of farting. This is especially true if provided raw.
These vegetables contain a large amount of sulphur which contribute to the smells associated with farting. This is why you should only feed these foods to your hamster infrequently.
Lastly, grains are also problematic. They are high in fibre, starches and lectins; all of which can result in gas, farting and stress on the digestive system of hamsters.
A healthy hamster diet is one that is mostly pellet based, with small amounts of seeds, specific fruits and vegetables.
The Oxbow Animal Health Fortified Food is a favorite among hamster owners. It is available on amazon for a great price. It combines timothy hay, oats and barley and is a complete, stabilized feed that has an optimal balance of nutrients for health, weight, digestive function and quality of life. It does not include seeds, high-sugar fruits, or artificial preservatives, colors and flavors.
- Two 1-pound bags
- For hamsters and gerbils
- Packaging May Vary
Can Hamsters Burp?
Hamsters are not able to burp. This is due to their own biological structure; which means that they are unable to do so. As such, any gas that builds up in their system must be expelled through farting.
Similarly, hamsters are unable to be sick. This is why you need to be extra careful about what they eat and consume. If they were to swallow anything dangerous, or toxic, they would not be able to get rid of it through vomiting. This is also true of other rodents (including Rats).
There have been numerous studies, like this one in 2013, where scientists have investigated why rodents, like hamsters, cannot vomit.
Conclusions from such studies have confirmed that they do not possess the anatomy to do so. This also prevents them from being able to burp.
Anatomically, rodents (including hamsters) have a reduced muscularity of the diaphragm and the geometry of their stomachs are not structured in such a way to be able to move contents towards the esophagus. This is not the case in other species that can vomit (cat, ferret, etc)
The studies also confirm that rodents do not have the neural circuits that enable them to begin the vomiting process.
Some hamster owners have reported sightings of their hamsters appearing to vomit. However, the studies confirmed that this is most likely to be where their hamsters are released stored food from their pouches.
Hamsters Digestive System
Hamsters are omnivores meaning they can eat and survive on a combination of animal and plant matter.
Anatomically, hamsters have a single-chambered stomach (monogastric), just like us humans and other animals including dogs and pigs. This of course differs to four-stomach ruminants, like cows.
Hamsters are renowned for their unique check pouches. These run down their heads and neck, connecting at the back of their shoulders.
Hamsters use their cheek pouches for storage. They hold food within them whilst foraging for foods and when food is plentiful. This will then be consumed at a latter time; when they are hungry or in an environment that is safe to eat. Pet hamsters, while domesticated, continue to partake in this behaviour – something that they inherited from their wild ancestors.
Once food is swallowed, it enters their stomach through the single monogastric chamber. From there it enters the stomach (which is comprised of two parts divided up through internal ridges).
The two parts of a hamster’s stomach serve different purposes; one is the fore stomach whereas the other is known as the glandular stomach. Both of which contains gastric glands which produce mucus to support the initial break down of food.
Indigestion is unlikely in hamsters. If it was to occur they will likely stop eating until it passes.
Once the food has passed through the stomach, it reaches the intestines. Hamsters possess both small and large intestines. Food begins in the small before passing through the large.
The intestines are where nutrients, minerals and energy is absorbed and extracted from the food consumed.
Hamsters also posses a cecum; a form of sac that resides where the small and large intestine meet. This supports the bacterial fermentation of certain foods that are consumed, primarily plant matter. The cecum helps to provide enzymes that help the bacteria break down the food. It is here that gas is produced, and farting occurs.
If you’ve ever wondered why your hamster may eat their poop, this is because they are looking to acquire more nutrients. Not all nutrients can be absorbed from food as it passes through the digestive process alone.
Hamsters can fart, it’s just not usually noticeable, able to be heard or possible to smell.
Farting is a natural by-product of digestion; it is normally nothing to worry about and should be expected somewhat. Depending on the foods your hamster has eaten, it may happen more at certain times than others.
It is imperative that you feed your hamster a healthy and nutritious diet; one that does not cause too much gas, bloating and fermentation.
Sticking with a diet mostly of nutritious pellets and feeding safe fruits and vegetables in moderation is advised by veterinarians and experienced hamster owners for this very reason. Just because hamsters are omnivores does not mean that they can, nor should, eat any and every type of food.
Dairy, grains and high-fructose foods are ones to particularly look out for.
If you notice excessive bloating, gas or even if you suspect your hamster to be experiencing pain, it is always best to seek out a veterinarian at the earliest opportunity.
Other than that, the odd fart here in there is nothing to worry about. In fact, if you was to hear one, then count yourself lucky and have a little chuckle!