Hamsters are fantastic animals, they are cute and can be found in pet shops all over the world! However, some people don’t know that hamsters actually live in the wild! There are plenty of hamsters that live in the wild all over the world in diverse habitats! Whilst they may be hard to find, they are widespread across many parts of Europe and the Middle East! This article will be telling you about a hamster’s natural habitat and where they love to live in the wild!
What do hamsters eat in the wild?
Hamsters have a much more varied diet in the wild than they do as pets! They can eat grass and seeds as well as tiny animals such as frogs. Hamsters are omnivores and will practically eat anything that they can see! Wild hamsters spend most of their day collecting food in their poaches for their stash! This enables them to survive the winter months, where there may not be as much food. Our pet hamsters are a lot different, check out our articles on what food our hamsters can eat.
Where do hamsters live in the wild?
Hamsters have been found all over the world but some of the exact locations include:
Different hamster breeds live in different parts of the world though!
So where do our favourite domesticated hamsters live? It’s important to know that our pets once came from the wild before they were domesticated! Here’s where your favourite hamster lives!
As you might guess, Syrian Hamsters come from Syria! They are native to the Middle East and have adapted well to the hot desert landscape which they are native to. Syrian hamsters have also been spotted in southern Turkey. However, they are classified as an endangered species due to the loss of their habitat.
Campbell Dwarf Hamsters
Campbell Dwarf Hamsters are native to Mongolia and were discovered in 1902. They are present all over central asia and are not viewed as an endangered species. Some of the nations that host Campbell Dwarf Hamsters include China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where Chinese hamsters come from! They are native to Northern China and are not viewed as an endangered species. These tiny hamsters can be distinguished by their long tail, which is unusual for a hamster!
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Robo Dwarf Hamsters are found in desert areas of Asia including Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China! They are classified as least concern for extinction and are known for their lightning-fast running speed! They were first discovered in July 1984 by Lt Vsevolod Roborovski, which is where the name comes from!
Russian Dwarf Hamster
Russian dwarf hamsters, also known as Winter White dwarf hamsters, are found in areas of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia! They are classified as least concern for extinction and they are known as hamsters who are easy to tame! This hamster was first discovered in 1773 but the discoverer assumed that it was a mouse!
Although there’s a few hamsters that are domesticated, many hamsters are completely wild! This means that many people have never heard of them! Here’s the history of some of our favourite wild hamsters!
European hamsters are often forgotten about, mainly due to the fact that they aren’t typically kept as pets! These hamsters are massive and are much larger than a Syrian hamster! They are native to Eurasia and can live in central Europe all the way up to Western China!
Tibetan Dwarf Hamster
Tibetan Dwarf Hamsters are tiny little dwarf hamsters who live in the mountains of Tibet. They are not endangered but they are extremely small! They have a head to body length of around 100mm!
Turkish hamsters are native to Turkey and Armenia and were first developed in 1878! They are a close relative to Syrian hamsters but they are rarely kept as a pet due to their increased aggression. The population of Turkish hamsters is sadly decreasing.
Lama Dwarf Hamster
Lama Dwarf Hamsters live in the North of China. They are not endangered and lives in the grasslands in the mountains! They are 103mm long and have an especially thick tail! There are not many studies on this type of hamster.
Sokolov’s Dwarf Hamster
A Sokolov Dwarf Hamster used to be seen as the same as Chinese hamsters but they are declared a separate species 30 years ago! They live in China and Mongolia. They are of least concern for extinction but there is some worry about the threat caused by droughts.
What is a hamster’s natural habitat?
So we know about where exactly in the world hamsters live. So what is their natural habitat based on that? It varies hugely! The hamsters that we typically have as pets prefer arid conditions such as deserts. This is why so many hamsters live in areas such as China and Central Asia! They are able to regulate their temperature well and their complex burrow systems mean that they are always able to stay at the right temperature
However European hamsters are incredibly adaptable and can live in various places. They are able to live in the cities of central Europe and in the mountains of Russia! European hamsters love to burrow in gardens and in hedges, which makes them a lot more different from their desert-inhabiting counterparts!
How are hamsters adapted to their natural habitat?
As you can tell, hamsters can live in fairly extreme conditions! Deserts are often quite hostile to life which means that it is impressive that hamsters can survive and thrive in these locations! So what are some of the adaptations that hamsters have to help them survive?
Hamster poaches are a great example of how hamsters are adapted to their environment! The poaches allow hamsters to collect large amounts of food and take the food back to their stash! This means that during the winter, where food may not be plentiful, hamsters will have a store of food that will allow them to survive the winter months. The poach also allows them to store air if they need to swim!
A hamster’s claws are made for digging! This is because their habitat requires them to build big burrows where they can store food and raise their children! Deserts are perfect for hamsters in this regard. Hamsters can quickly burrow underground where the temperature is less extreme than it is above ground! This is why you should get a sand bath in your cage, it enables them to replicate this!
Hamster fur is incredibly dense! You can tell when you stroke your hamster. This fur allows a hamster to survive the extreme temperatures that are common in their natural habitat. It gives them protection when the night-time temperatures go below freezing!
A hamster’s nose and ears are their greatest weapon when it comes to surviving in their natural habitat! Their nose and whiskers are super sensitive which allows them to spot prey and allows them to find their way back to their tunnels. Their ears are super sensitive which means that they can protect themselves against predators that are common in desert environments!
Can pet hamsters survive in the wild?
Remember that you should never release your hamster. Even when wild hamsters can survive and thrive in the wild, your pet hamster is domesticated and therefore relies on you for its safety. Pet hamsters would not be able to forage for food and would be a victim for various predators, including hawks. It is likely that they would die a sad and slow death.
There are plenty of places that you can go to if you want to re-home your hamster. Facebook groups are often full of people looking for hamsters. You can also contact your local shelter and they may be able to take your hamster from your hands. Releasing your hamster into the wild is cruel and will kill your hamster, they will not thrive!
Is it possible to have a wild hamster as a pet?
No it isn’t. Domestication is a process that can take years over many generations of hamsters. This is also done by professionals with skills in this particular area. If you were able to take a hamster from the wild, you would likely cause it a lot of distress. Wild hamsters are also more aggressive and are extremely solitary, they will not want your company. There are plenty of places where you can find a hamster, don’t go to the wild!
Conclusion – What is a hamster’s natural habitat?
In conclusion, hamsters live all over the world! They are known to live in China, Russia, central Asia and even central Europe! The hamsters that you and I own are native to deserts and arid regions whilst the more wild European hamsters can live in very temperate climates. Hamsters prefer to live in warm conditions due to this. A hamsters’ poach, claws, fur, ears, and nose allow them to survive in these extreme environments. These adaptations are crucial to a hamsters’ survival!
Did you know this about hamsters? Got anything to add? Let us know in the comments!