Biology and Behavior of the Hamster

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The hamster is a small mammal that belongs to the rodent family.

In their natural state, most hamsters live in areas with steppes and deserts. There they live in a network of underground passages with their own rooms to sleep and store food in. The hamster lives by itself and does not seek contact with other hamsters outside of the mating season. It acquires a territory which it aggressively defends against intruders.

The hamster is a nocturnal animal that sleeps for large parts of the day. This also applies to domesticated hamsters. The sight is poor, but in return it has good hearing and sense of smell. Most hamster species have large cheek pouches in which they hoard food and nesting material. They take this back to the tunnel they live in and store it in the various rooms.

The hamster’s long incisors grow throughout its life. It has to gnaw to prevent its teeth from getting too long. Hamsters come in various color combinations of brown, white, black and grey.

The hamster is sexually mature at 3 – 5 weeks of age. The male and female communicate using scent signals. After mating, they separate too well. The cubs are born after about 20 days, and the female takes care of them alone. Wild hamsters have young two to three times a year. Usual lifespan is 2 – 4 years.

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