Today I put together a little article about one of your favorite rodents: the hamster! We know you love the little beasts: they are so cute! Here is some information to learn more about this animal that gets us so addicted.
This little animal is part of the rodent family, specifically Muridae (eg mouse). Its name comes from the German "hamstern", which means "to stock", a very suitable name for them!
There are different breeds of Hamsters: Campbell Hamster, China, Roborovski, Russian Hamster or Golden Hamster. Each race has a different dress color and peculiarities of its kind. It usually lives ten years in the wild, against about 3 years in captivity.
This little creature has a fairly compact body and short legs that are wide compared to its silhouette. His tail is very thick and small. But the peculiarity of this animal are its cheeks: these are scalable, they are cheek pouches. This enables them to carry food, but also to theor his cubs when it feels threatened! Did you know that it can fill these "mouth pockets" with air to float in water? Yes, the Hamster is a good swimmer and resourceful! Contrary to what one might think, it does not hibernate but sleeps a lot, especially in winter. It has good vision and a highly developed sense of smell and hearing. Between them, they most often communicate by scent marks.
Hamsters feed mainly on grass, corn, flax, sunflower, wheat etc. ... but they also enjoy fruits and vegetables. You can also give them leaves, roots, stems to diversify their diet. Some hamsters also eat insects or small animals like frogs: they carry them in their cheek pouches to their burrows. It would appear that we discovered burrows sometimes with almost 90kg of food reserves!
Hamster burrows are sophisticated: they generally have multiple entries with lots of different rooms: rooms, attics and even toilets! These burrows can be more than 2m underground. It grows throughout the life of the hamster, although a hamster lives alone. The usually go out in the evening.
They are polygamous animals: they have no significant others in particular. During the rut (between February and November), the males will seek receptive females in their burrows. The latter generally gives birth to 6 cubs, and can have up to three litters a year. In general, it is the females who are dominant.
They are sometimes considered harmful: in fact, they can devastate fields of corn or beans! For example, in Maryland, Australia, the animal is prohibited in order to preserve the local fauna and flora. Hamsters are routinely used for scientific experiments, including behavioral and physiological research. But they are also happy pets, popular due to their small size. In captivity, they will need a roomy cage: 70cm x 40cm x 40cm for dwarf hamsters up to 50cm x 80cm x 50cm for golden hamsters (these are the most common). If the cage is too small, the animal will be unhappy, if you have 2 of them, they could attack each other because they are territorial animals.
Now you know a few things about our friend the Hamster! Persevere, and you will become unbeatable on knowledge of our favorite rodent!