Do Hamsters Have Cheek Pouches?

It’s funny to see these odd looking animals with pouches on the side of their face when they’re full. Pouches act like a permanent handbag or rucksack for food and bedding, so let’s find out if hamsters have this same pouch?

Yes, hamsters have pouches located on either side of their mouths. Hamsters rely on the space for storing essential items like food and nesting materials. Cheek pouches are also a mother hamster’s secret weapon for protecting their babies.

How do hamster pouches work?

The hamster’s pouch can hold food, bedding or baby rodents. When it gets full, the retractor muscles will squeeze and suck in whatever is inside to make room for more items that might come through. It’s like a deflated balloon with an elastic band attached when empty but inflates as soon as something enters because of its expandable properties!

Can hamsters overfill their pouches?

a person holding a hamster with really full stuffed pouches
A hamster’s animal instinct

It’s sporadic since a hamster’s animal instincts should tell them the limits to which their pouches can stretch, even if this does mean leaving food or items like nesting material behind.

If you are concerned about your pet hamster, then I recommend speaking with your vet. A vet can either reassure you in person or take a closer look at your hamster. 

When would a hamster need to empty their pouches?

  1. When in a safe place and settled
  2. When they need to fit through a small gap
  3. When they want what is in the pouch

Why won’t my hamster use his cheek pouches?

Some domesticated hamsters dont feel the need to use their pouches as much. If they are safe and content, they may choose never to use them. A hamster will eat at the bowl and return to its nest without feeling the need of storing food. The bedding that surrounds them could be perfect for them not to move about and recreate it. However, this is rare; it isn’t anything to worry about.

You can mention it to your vet when you have your hamster’s next check-up for peace of mind.

On the other hand, you may think they don’t use their cheek pouches, but during the night, when you are asleep, they could be busy stuffing their cheeks and moving stuff around. You will often notice if they have moved sleeping areas or have a pile of food in a different part of their cage. By seeing these tell-tell signs, you know that the only way would be through using their cheeks.

Animals that have cheek pouches:

Let’s explore the world of cheek pouch animals. There are so many fun and fascinating creatures that have these special pouches on their cheeks. I bet you didn’t even know about them! 

  • Baboons
  • Chipmunks
  • Ground Squirrels
  • Hamsters
  • Most Monkey species
  • Platypus
  • Pocket Gopher
  • Pouched rat

It's a good thing to share!

By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.