When I started keeping a hamster, I only understood what it looks like, what food is used for its nutrition, and some of its habits for easier keeping at home.
As time went by, I became more and more interested in learning more about them, where they lived in nature, whether they still exist in the wild, and similar questions.
That’s why I made a research that I want to share so that we can all learn something more about hamsters together.
Where do hamsters live in the wild?
Hamsters live on the edges of deserts, they prefer to live in a warm and dry places mostly in Europe and Asia. Hamsters can be found in northern China, Romania, Greece, and other places around the world.
The first ones were discovered in Syria and that is why they are called Syrian hamsters. There are several types of hamster breeds, which differ in their size, color, and shape.
Hamsters living in Europe are much more aggressive than those in other parts of the world.
Where do hamsters live in the wild?
Hamsters in the wild usually live in underground tunnels, they do this every day because it is their survival instinct in the wild.
Hamsters are usually prey in nature, and therefore they must always make tunnels to escape from predators.
If they do not live in tunnels in the wild, hamsters will not be able to survive and their survival will be in question.
Domestic hamsters hide in tunnels in cages, but hamsters in the wild cannot roam freely like domestic hamsters when we let them into our rooms.
In order to dig tunnels, hamsters have an adapted body that helps them more easily pass through the holes they dig.
The claws of hamsters are shaped so that they can be perfectly suited for constructing tunnels, i.e. habitats for hamsters in the wild.
Hamsters can judge with their whiskers how wide the tunnel they dig should be, so they don’t get stuck in it.
Do hamsters live alone in the wild?
Hamsters in the wild usually live alone, although it can be noted that some of them can live together, but this rarely happens.
In order for them to succeed in living together, it is necessary for them to be together from a young age so that they can get used to each other, although this is not necessarily a requirement.
Although hamsters in the wild mate very often, they still want to live alone, the mother hamster raises her babies alone. Male and female hamsters are only together for mating, and then they separate and live alone.
This behavior of hamsters is their natural way of life because they are territorial and do not want to share their territory with other hamsters.
Syrian hamsters in particular always like to live alone, while smaller dwarf hamsters can still be seen living together.
What is the diet of hamsters in the wild?
Hamsters in the wild eat vegetables, fruits, and insects. However, hamsters in the wild may not have as good a choice of food as domestic hamsters, because sometimes they cannot get a variety of food.
They may eat the same food for a longer time, which is certainly not good for their health because they will lack certain nutrients.
That is why hamsters in the wild do not have the same lifespan as domestic hamsters, who have a far better and more varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
When hamsters in the wild eat some food that is not good for them, they also have problems with their digestive system, which then leads to disease.
Unfortunately, many hamsters living in the wild often die due to a lack of food or diseases due to poor nutrition.
Obviously, hamsters in the wild have very difficult living conditions, but that’s the truth.
How did hamsters survive in the wild?
The life of hamsters in the wild is very difficult, much more difficult than the hamsters we keep in domestic conditions.
Hamsters manage to survive in the wild thanks to the fact that they dig tunnels, which protect them from predator attacks.
Since hamsters spend most of their time underground, it protects them from the weather. Rapid and frequent reproduction is another reason why hamsters manage to persist and survive in nature.
When were hamsters discovered?
In the 1930s, an Israeli biologist managed to find hamsters in the historic city of Aleppo, he found a female hamster and several beds of hamsters.
Before the Israeli biologist, Aharoni found the hamsters, local people were mistaken when they saw hamsters, they thought they were ordinary mice.
The biologist took the hamsters he found and took them to the university in Jerusalem, the next thing is to establish a foundation for breeding hamsters.
A large number of the baby hamsters were eaten by the mother, but the researchers managed to keep a certain number of them.
Then the hamsters began to reproduce and thus the domestic hamster breeding industry was born.
In the 1970s, hamsters gradually became popular pets, which to this day are found in many homes all over the world, especially in the United States.
Who are the ancestors of hamsters?
There are about 26 species of hamsters, hamsters that have not been obtained by selective breeding.
All breeds of hamsters have their own characteristics that distinguish them from each other. Hamster behavior differs for different breeds of hamsters, although they all have some things in common.
Different breeds of hamsters have different ancestors. However, let’s learn a little more about the most popular breeds.
Origin of Syrian or golden hamsters
Syrian hamsters also called golden hamsters are the most popular breed and they were discovered by the Israeli biologist Israel Aharoni.
He discovered the Syrian hamsters in 1930, and then the industrial exploitation of hamsters started from them.
Syrian hamsters are today one of the most popular breeds that are bred in domestic conditions and are very rare in the wild.
The last time a Syrian hamster was seen in the wild was in 1999.
Syrian hamsters are very friendly and that is why they are a favorite for breeding at home, they look very nice and attract the attention of the owners or those who want to buy a hamster.
Syrian hamsters are usually golden in color, but can also be found in white or black.
The lifespan of Syrian hamsters is about 3-4 years if they are raised in home conditions with a healthy and varied diet.
Origin of Roborovski hamsters
Roborovski hamsters were found in 1894 in Northern China by Lieutenant Vsevolod Roborvski from whom they got their name.
This breed of hamsters is dwarf and due to their small size, they become more popular in the USA in 1998.
Since then, their popularity has been increasing and many owners choose them to keep in their homes.
Roborovski hamsters are small, but very fast, and therefore you have to watch out for them because they can easily run away from you, and then it is very difficult to find them and bring them back.
This breed of hamsters is very friendly and does not bite, so they are excellent for keeping at home. With proper and varied nutrition, this breed of hamsters can live for about 3-4 years.
Origin of Siberian Dwarf Hamsters
As their name suggests, this breed of hamster is found in Siberia, Russia.
They are characterized by their small size and are great for keeping, especially interesting for families with small children.
Siberian hamsters have an interesting fact about their fur, which changes color to white in winter, while in summer it changes color to brown again.
This change in the color of their fur helps them to survive in nature more easily because they are camouflaged and predators cannot easily recognize them to attack them.
Siberian and Roborovski hamsters have similar behavior as both breeds are very calm and do not show aggression, except in rare situations.
This breed of hamsters does not have a very long lifespan, they live for about 1 year, although with good nutrition they can live up to two years.
Are there still hamsters in the wild?
Hamsters still live in the wild or about 20 species of different breeds of hamsters, while we keep 5-6 breeds as pets in cages.
Hamsters live in the wild, but unfortunately in very difficult conditions, but fortunately they survive due to rapid reproduction.
Domestic hamsters and hamsters in the wild have many common behaviors that they have retained since the very beginning of their evolution.
Therefore, we should not be surprised because domestic hamsters still have the same natural instincts as hamsters living in the wild.
Can I let my hamster go into the wild?
Releasing the domestic hamster back into the wild is not a good choice.
Hamsters that we keep at home cannot get used to the wild and survival in it and will probably be a quick target of predators or parasites in a short time.
Releasing the hamsters into the wild is not the right way for your hamster, it is better to give it to a relative or friend to keep it.
Hamsters in the wild live in tunnels or hiding places that they constantly dig.
It is the only way they can survive attacks by predators and extreme external conditions such as too-cold or too-hot weather.
Hamsters were found in the wild in 1930, more specifically, Syrian hamsters were found, which today are the most popular breed for keeping at home.
Hamsters still live in the wild today, although their living conditions are much more difficult than the hamsters that we keep at home.
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