Most hamsters live in dry places such as the edges of deserts, but the common hamster lives among crops, in ploughed fields and along river banks, often swimming. When they are not busy searching for food, hamsters are in their underground burrows.

Overview

HamsterCommon hamster: Cricetus cricetus

Grey hamster: Cricetus triton

Dwarf hamster: Phodopus sungorus

Golden hamster: Mesocricetus auratus

Habitat: dry places, on steppes, sand dunes, borders of deserts. Common hamster also found on agricultural land and river banks.

Life-span: about 2 years.

Food: mainly seeds, grasses, root vegetables, fruits, corn and pulse crops. Common hamster also eats insects, lizards, frogs and small mammals.

Distribution: Common hamster: - Belgium to Lake Baikal in Siberia; Grey hamster:- Greece and Bulgaria to borders of Outer Mongolia; Dwarf hamster:- Siberia, Manchuria and northern China. Golden hamster:- not found in the wild since 1930 but originally ranged from Rumania and Bulgaria through the Caucasus and Asia Minor to Iran.

Description: common hamster:- guinea-pig size, reddish-brown above, black below, white bands on shoulders; very short tail. Golden hamster:- light reddish-brown above, white underneath. The seven species of grey hamster have mousey or reddish coloured fur and longer tails. The dwarf hamster is the smallest, with greyish or buff upperparts, white underparts and a short tail. The golden hamster is the most well-known hamster, having been kept as a popular pet for many years. However, there are about 14 species of hamster, ranging from the guinea-pig sized common hamster to the tiny dwarf hamster, 5 - 10cm in length. They are short-tailed rodents, similar in many ways to gerbils and voles.

Read More: Hamster Habits

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