“Bottomless bags” in the cheeks: the mouth of an ordinary hamster can be scary if you think about it (5 photos)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
13 April 2024

How I miss the pockets built into the body! So you came to the beach, put your passport and keys in a bag, hid the bag in your belly button and swim in peace, the most important thing will not be stolen. And I have two sad news for you. The first of them is that such pockets exist, they are called cheek pouches.

The existence of long edible objects in this Universe causes attacks of despair in hamsters.

And the second is that our evolution took a slightly wrong turn, so we lost the bags. Our close relatives, monkeys, have cheek pouches and use them for their intended purpose: to store all sorts of goodies that we don’t want to eat right now. But to be honest, their cheek pouches are far from ideal. They have a small capacity, and saliva will definitely wet everything you put in them.

Don't worry about the monkey. This is not a tumor or parasites. She just ate well!

It's either the case of sac gophers or sac hoppers - rodents from North America. Their cheek pouches are leathery pockets, the entrances to which open from the OUTSIDE of the cheeks, and not from the inside. By the standards of microscopic rodents, their built-in hiding places are simply enormous. To get food out of there, they even had to invent special muscles that turn the bags outward.

Under the fur it is difficult to notice these pouches, but the cheeks of gophers can literally be turned outward.

But the best cheek pouches were invented by hamsters. They modified the chewing muscles, which are distinguished by their elasticity. But rodents have improved the elasticity of the skin of their cheeks so much that they can stuff an abnormal amount of food into them. An ordinary hamster, for example, is capable of carrying up to 50 grams of seeds and nuts in its mouth. His head doubles or even triples in size! Despite the fact that the rodents themselves weigh from 120 to 140 grams.

Hamster cheek pouches in the skeleton. You can see that their huge bags reach right up to their shoulders!

After filling the bags as much as possible with goodies, the hamsters run into their holes and lay out the food there. Moreover, the rodent has no sense of proportion; he will save everything that he can tear out of the clutches of Mother Nature. If the hamster is unlucky or weak, he will steal 500-600 grams of grains. But some of them manage to stock up to 90 kilograms of grains, peas, tubers and root vegetables!

— Zhorik, where did all the rolls that we bought for two go? — What rolls?

But at home, the rodent's thrifty behavior becomes a problem. Instinctively, the hamster stuffs its mouth with everything it comes across: paper, bedding, cotton wool. All this stuff sticks to the walls of the bags and clogs them. Because of this, hamsters often end up visiting veterinarians because their cheek pouches become inflamed and fall out.

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