You've probably heard the original form of the Groucho Marx saying, paraphrased here: "Outside of a hamster, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a hamster, it's too dark to read." With X-ray technology, the inside of a hamster isn't too dark after all.
The BBC's "Pets - Wild at Heart" series will be featuring in-depth looks at animals ranging from cats to dogs to hamsters using high-tech photographic methods. A sneak peek at the first episode shows a particularly interesting sequence involving a hungry hamster combined with X-ray imagery. The result is a fascinating inside view of how the industrious rodent is able to pack an obscene amount of food into its cheek pouches.
When faced with a bowl full of nuts and other edible goodies, the golden hamster starts shoving the morsels into its mouth and down the sides. A closeup shows every little strand of fur on its hairy hands. Speeded-up X-ray footage then shows just how much food he can fit down the cheek pouches. "His pouches extend all the way to his hips," explains the narrator.
I had a teddy bear hamster named Ruxpin when I was a kid. I was petting it one day when I discovered he had a huge lump on his side. I was convinced he must have cancer...until we figured out he had just stuffed a large food pellet down there and left it. The BBC's X-ray approach takes the mystery out of how this works. It pretty much proves that hamsters simply have built-in magical bags of holding.