Golden Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus)
This hamster is the same subspecies that you might be used to in a typical home in the UK and the US. However, that does not mean that they do not have anything that we can learn about them. So let's get to the research!
Physical Characteristics and Behavior
These hamsters can be up to 7 inches long but only live from 2-4 years on average. They have expandable cheek pouches, which they use to hold a large quantity of food. This was initially used to transport food from the wild to their burrows, without having to take too many trips.
They are omnivorous, although they eat mainly plant matter. Despite eating insects, mothers are also known to commit infanticide, eating her own young if they die or she feels threatened. Fighting is also not uncommon among Golden Hamsters as they are very territorial. It is not uncommon for them to even fight each other to the death over territory disputes.
Although usually a golden brownish color, these hamsters have been bred to have quite a variety of color combinations. They also have small eyes, a short tail, and long eyes.
Habitat and Location
This little guy lives on the border of Syria and Turkey. It is considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN Redlist, which claims that its population is currently decreasing. The main issue seems to be habitat loss, as well as them being trapped by hunters.
Despite their decreasing wild populations, they are well known as household pets in the US and UK, and are easily found in pet stores. They are also often used in research due to their short gestation and the fact that they ovulate as soon as they give birth.
Check this video below for a list of fun facts about this cute little guy!