The Grisly Truth About Tiny Hamsters And What They Really Eat

As Jason Bittel explains in somewhat distressing detail over at Slate, the truth about hamsters and burritos is that hamsters, contrary to what viral videos would have you believe, do not eat little burritos, tiny cakes, or mini pizzas. They eat each other.


Here's the video in question, on the off chance you've been avoiding the Internet since late April:

Sez Bittel:

In the case of this video, we're looking at the species Mesocricetus auratus, more commonly called a golden hamster or a Syrian hamster. Walk into any pet shop in America and you'll find these fluffy little rodents. This is more than a little ironic sincethe International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as "vulnerable" in their native habitat along the Turkey-Syria border. That's one step above "endangered," FYI.

It's also strange that Syrian hamsters should be popular, considering they're ferociously territorial. If you're going to keep two or more adults in the same tank, they require lots of personal space. The animals have scent glands on their flanks, which they use to mark territory, so it's also recommended that you provide separate food, water, and bedding sources. Fail to give them enough space or resources, and they'll eat each other for fun.

I've seen it.

So basically, the only way the video up top would be even a little bit accurate would be if those burritos were stuffed with little strips of hamster meat. What a nice thought. What's in the burrito, little hamster? WHAT'S IN THE BURRITO?


Bittel gets into more harrowing specifics over at Slate.

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When I was a kid we had hamsters, and a couple got mixed up and put in the wrong cages and we ended up with baby hamsters. We put the mother and the babies into their own little cage so the others wouldn't bother them.

One day my mom dropped something loud in the room where we keep the hamsters. The mother hamster ate all of her babies... I still remember seeing the little foot sticking out of her mouth.

I'm going to go lay in the fetal position for awhile now.