Hamsters are small, furry animals
that are usually about six inches long.
They are fat, short tailed rodents.
They eat grains, carrots, and fruit.
They might also eat moths, beetles, grasshoppers and other
insects they find around their burrows.
at night and stuff their cheek pouches with plant food to take to
their nests. Stuffing
their cheeks is a handy thing when they have to travel a long way
back to the burrow. These animals will travel to find food for
winter but mostly stay close to home.
Hamsters live in burrows that are like underground tunnels.
The tunnels can be very large and have many rooms.
One room is used for sleep, one to store food, and
another to stay in for a short time.
Sometimes these tunnels are over 11 yards long.
They will cover the entrance with a stone. Burrows
might have more than one entrance.
Scientists disagree whether wild hamsters really hibernate.
They like to be in 65-80 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. When
the temperature goes below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they go into a
temporary hibernation, or torpor.
With torpor, their body temperatures drop lower, their heart rate
drops to 5-15 beats a minute [instead of 250-500], and they sleep
for long periods of time. Another sign of torpor is that
hamsters will wake up every week or so. They will stay awake
for about eight hours, eat, drink, and then go back to sleep.
The difference between hibernation and torpor is how long the sleep
times are and how much the animal's bodies slow down. Most of
our sources said that wild hamsters go into torpor like bears and
are not true hibernators.
kinds of wild hamsters and where they live are:
golden hamsters: parts of Europe and Asia.
These hamsters live in the Middle East desert and rocky
areas. They have hot
days and cold nights. There
isnít much food and water and the animal is nocturnal
so they can escape the daytime heat. Their burrows are in deep
sand and they live alone. The female will hoard
food so that when she has pups, there will be food in the
These hamsters live in Mongolia on deserts and sand
dunes. There are hot
days and cold nights there with very cold winters.
They are totally covered with fur.
They look for food at night and come home by dawn.
They use other animal's burrows and redecorate by adding more
tunnels for air and escape. They make an extra nest when
the female is pregnant
so that the new litter
gets its own. Nests are made with grass or wool.
Whites [Siberian]. These
hamsters live in Siberia. They
live on flat land with short grass.
There are not many people and these hamsters are not
afraid of humans. In
snow, they can change their fur color to white so that they
blend in better. The female will live with two males in a
burrow and the males will help with the babies.
These hamsters live on flat, sandy soil.
They are nocturnal. Their burrows are not deep and
enemies have an easier time preying on them. They can run
faster than most hamsters because they have longer legs.
Back to Hibernation