'Rat-a-tat! Happy Year of the Rat!' says the hamster
By Ding Qian

We all know hamsters are cute and furry. The little ones make one of the best home pets. But do you know they are also very intelligent and they can learn their names? Here are some interesting facts about this creature.

1. Hamsters are nocturnal

They sleep during the daytime and become more active at twilight. So the best time to play with them is in the late afternoon or early evening.

2. Hamsters can run backwards

Though tiny, hamsters can run very fast. Because of their size and shape of the hind feet, they can also run backwards fast. So they can escape easily in their burrows.

3. Hamsters use cheek pouches to save food

The cheek pouches, also called displostomes, are used to store and transport food by hamsters. That's why sometimes you can see that a hamster's face looks double than its actual size. 

4. The hamster can live to be 2 to 3 years old

The hamster doesn't live very long. The majority of hamsters live up to only two years. So take good care of them when they are around.

5. Hamsters have very bad eyesight

Hamsters are born blind, even the adults can only see a few inches in front of their noses. That is why you always see them falling or tumbling. Because they can't see that far.

Happy Year of the Rat!

In Chinese, both rats and mice are called "shu." In fact, the Chinese word "shu" refers to almost all rodents, from squirrels and moles to chipmunks and chinchillas. 

Here are all seven kinds of shu from the rodent family to wish everybody a happy Chinese New Year.

For more: 

'Rat-a-tat! Happy Year of the Rat!' says the flying fox

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