If you’re anything like me, you’ll have often looked at a hamster who has red eyes and wondered whether they are as sweet and innocent as their non-red-eyed cousins.
There’s no denying that a hamster with red eyes might look a little bit more like something from a horror movie than a pet, but are hamsters with red eyes evil?
Hamsters who have red eyes are not evil. While they might look a little different, that doesn’t mean that there is anything to be scared of. The eyes of a hamster will largely depend on their coloring, some hamsters have less melanin, and this can produce red eyes and a white coat – known as an Albino hamster.
But aside from this, there are many other things about red-eyed hamsters to learn, and it’s a rather interesting subject. After a little bit of research, I discovered a lot about these unique furry friends.
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Is There Evil In A Red-Eyed Hamster?
As fantastical as it might sound, and as much as many of us would like to live out our own scary movie, the truth is much less exciting.
The first thing that we should clear up is that, regardless of the color of their eyes, your hamster is highly unlikely to be evil.
Yes, there may be some animals, hamsters included, who may show aggression, but this is very different from being evil and has nothing to do with their coloring.
The color of your hamster’s eyes will vastly depend on their genes – much the same as in humans; hamsters will develop traits from their parents.
If the mother or father hamster has red eyes, then there’s a good chance that the baby hamster will too.
But how is this caused in the first place?
Most hamsters have very dark brown or even black eyes, and this is what we are most accustomed to seeing. However, it is entirely normal for some of these small, furry rodents to have different colored eyes.
Just like us, there is no right or wrong color for the eyes; it just so happens that red is one of the less common colors.
In humans, green is the least common eye color; in fact, it is thought that only 2% of people across the world have green eyes, whereas a massive 79% of people have brown eyes.
This is similar in hamsters; it’s just that red is less common.
The color of the eyes is determined by the level of pigment in the hamster’s DNA.
Melanin is a chemical in all living things that determines the coloring of the individual.
Using humans as an example again, those with lighter skin have less melanin than those with dark skin. In our hammie friends, this melanin causes color differences in both the eyes and the coat.
You will often see lighter colored hamsters with red or even pink eyes, and for the most part, this is normal.
One thing that is for sure is that the eyes of the hamster have absolutely nothing to do with its personality.
So if you have been thinking about getting a hamster with red eyes, don’t let this put you off; you’ll be getting a special and rare pet.
While you will see some ‘regular’ hamsters that have red eyes, there is also a condition known as albinism.
This is a condition that affects the levels of pigmentation in a creature and is it not exclusive to hamsters. There are even humans who have this condition.
An albino hamster has red or pink eyes and white fur; it will also have very pale skin under its coat.
These hamsters are very rare and are not commonly seen in pet stores when you go hunting for a new pet to bring home.
Scientifically speaking, the main reason that a hamster would be born with albinism is because of a gene known as OCA2 and where true albinism is concerned, this has only ever been reported in one particular species of hamster.
The Campbell’s Dwarf hamster will often be albino and this means that they are unable to make pigment owing to a lack of a specific enzyme.
Essentially, their biological makeup is slightly different, and this makes them pretty special!
Illness And Injury
It is not unheard of for hamsters to develop red eyes as they get older, you might even notice that your pet develops a milky-colored tinge to their eyes.
This is usually a sign of cataracts and is common in these animals as they get older.
It is also important to keep in mind that hamsters do not have a long life-span so this may come on sooner than you might think.
In most cases, if your hamster has red eyes, this is just a part of his unique make-up but in some cases, it could be a sign of something else.
There is a common condition in hamsters known as pink eye, which is similar to the conjunctivitis that humans can contract.
In this instance, it will not be the entire eye that is red, like you would see in a hamster with naturally red eyes, but rather an irritation or swelling.
This would require treatment from your vet.
Furthermore, the eyes of the hamster could become red if he has obtained an injury or a scratch to his eye.
You may see your hamster pawing at his eye and this could indicate that he has something stuck in it.
It is important to see your vet as special equipment will be needed to help relieve your hamster.
Are hamsters with red eyes blind?
There is a common misconception that all hamsters with red eyes are blind; this is not strictly true. Hamsters have poor eyesight naturally so you would never expect them to see perfectly clearly. However, red eyes can be a sign of blindness, but that is not to say that all red-eyed hamsters are blind. There is no link between a lack of pigmentation and sight. To check if your hamster is blind, you would look at its behavior, blind hammies tend to be born this way and would not move much nor would he play with his siblings.
Do all white hamsters have red eyes?
Not all white hamsters have red eyes. The only ones that do are those with albinism. There are plenty of white hamsters that have brown eyes. You might notice that these animals also have different colored patches on their fur. Most commonly, you would see a white hamster with brown or tan markings. In contrast, there are also hamsters that are darker colored with white markings.