Hamster Facts

Hamster Facts
Hamster is small rodent that belongs to the family Cricetidae. There are 25 species of hamster that are native to Europe and Asia. Hamsters can be found in dry, open habitats such as deserts, steppes, open plains, rocky foothills, gardens, orchards and agricultural fields. Starting from the 1939, hamsters are kept as house pets and used as laboratory animals. The most popular species of hamster is Syrian (also known as golden) hamster, followed by Roborovski, Campbell's Dwarf, Chinese and Russian Dwarf winter white hamster. Most species of hamster are widespread in numerous in the wild. Syrian hamster is classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss (as a result of expansion of human settlements and agricultural fields).
Interesting Hamster Facts:
Hamster can reach 2 to 13 inches in length, depending on the species.
Hamster has thick, silky fur that can be uniformly black, grey, creamy, white, brown, yellow or red colored, or multicolored (mix of some of these colors).
Hamster has large eyes, small, furry ears, stout body, short legs with wide feet and short tail.
Hamster has sharp incisors (front teeth) that never stop growing. That's why hamster chews various items most of its time to "trim" its teeth naturally.
Hamster is active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular animal).
Hamster is nearsighted and colorblind, but it has excellent sense of smell and touch (on the whiskers) which facilitate detection of food and navigation in the wild. Scent glands on the flanks are used for marking of trails.
Hamster is an omnivore. Its diet is based on seed, fruit, vegetables and insects.
Hamster has large cheek pouches which are used for storing and transfer of food. Fully expanded cheek pouches can increase head size two or three times.
Hamster uses its front and hind feet and teeth to dig burrows in the ground. Burrows have several entrances and separate chambers for storing of food, nursing of babies and resting.
Syrian hamster hibernates during the winter hidden inside the underground burrow.
Hamster is solitary and territorial animal.
Mating season of hamsters takes place during the spring and summer. Females produce few litters per year.
Pregnancy lasts 16 to 30 days and ends with 7 babies on average (up to 24 babies in rare instances). Female can get pregnant immediately after giving birth (later that same day). When litter is too big, mother eats some of the babies to ensure enough resources for the remaining babies.
Babies are naked and blind at birth. They depend on the mother's milk until the age of 3 to 4 weeks. Some species of hamster reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 5 weeks, while others start to breed at age of 4 months.
Hamster has an average lifespan of 2 to 2.5 years. Some species (Russian hamsters) can survive up to 4 years.

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