An Alphabet of Hamster Facts (E)

by Anne Dray

'e'

Eyeless White

Egg

Eyes

Ears

Exhibiting

‘e’

is the genetic symbol used to denote the recessive gene causing the Black Eyed Cream Syrian. It first appeared in 1951 and was one of the first mutations of the original golden hamster. The black eyed cream gene causes the removal of black pigment except from the eyes, ears, eyelids, hip spots and vent. The whole coat should be a deep rich sandy cream.

Eyeless White

About 25% of the litter produced from crossing two white-bellied Syrian hamsters will be eyeless (anophthalmic) whites. These hamsters are perfectly viable but can be more nervous than normal hamsters. Apparently eyeless white babies can be produced in mottled to mottled Campbell Russian matings which almost always die in the first few weeks of life. I am not aware if anyone has truly identified the gene responsible for causing this. PLEASE if you have whitebellied Syrians (eg Roans) make sure you pass on advice about breeding to anyone you sell one to.

Egg

A nutritious treat for hamsters. As with most things only give small amounts at any one time.

Eyes

Hamsters have lovely bright eyes but depending on their colour may see anything between only a few inches to a few feet. If your hamster’s eye clouds over or starts sticking up and weeping then you should see a vet as it could be infected. Young rex hamsters can sometimes get sticky eyes as the fur around the eye, being kinked can sometimes point into the eye, causing irritation. They usually grow out of this in time.

Ears

As they do not see well a hamster’s ears are very important to warn him of approaching danger. I once saw a hamster which had lost its ears through frostbite! Whilst living in his owners bedroom! Apparently it is quite common in cows in very cold areas. Hamster’s hearing is not in the same range as ours and like other rodents they hear in ultrasonic ranges. Therefore they can probably be affected by those devices you can buy to ward off rodents which emit a noise which we cannot detect but which are probably very distressing to a hamster.

Exhibiting

Something some of us do a lot and which others are not interested in at all. If you haven’t been to a show, do pop along to one. When you come you may find some people rushing along like mad things, trying to keep the show on the road and others having a more leisurely time and being free to chat. Do introduce yourself, do ask questions, do understand if we are busy we may not be able to spend much time with you, do look at the information on display and try to learn something about hamsters you didn’t know before!

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