The steppe hamster (ordinary) is a large, self-dispersing species of rodents, which has virtually nothing to do with pets. He is distinguished by small ears, well-developed toes, he does an excellent job of digging holes and does other things. But the most important thing is that he is able to live independently, he doesn’t just need a human help, he will aggressively accept a hamster. Sometimes it is much safer to meet a snake or a poisonous spider than this wild and evil rodent.
Description of the species
You can see quite a lot of features with one look at such a rodent as a steppe hamster. The description of its appearance is as follows:
- a stocky body with a thick head and short neck,
- small ears, shiny and relatively huge eyes,
- short paws with well developed toes and short claws.
The fur of this animal includes two elements: the base and the undercoat. Thanks to the last hamster can easily tolerate winters and sub-zero temperatures. The color is usually light yellow or brown. Often there are dark and black spots.
A characteristic feature is that the feet of hamsters are white. But the front and rear limbs on the inside are black.
But this does not mean that it will not be possible to meet the steppe hamster, which will have a completely different color. Sometimes you can see completely white or, on the contrary, completely black members of the family.
Separately, it must be said about the size. Males reach a length of 34 cm without tail. The latter can be up to 5 cm in length.
The steppe hamster is spread over quite extensive territories. He lives on land from Europe to China. In particular, in Russia it can be found on the expanses from Smolensk to the southern taiga.
For this hamster does not require any special living conditions, which is why he can live virtually everywhere. For the most part, animals are found near bread and wheat fields. Some individuals dig their burrows directly on these arable lands. The rest prefer to live closer to the person. They settle near villages and villages. Food is made up of various products from the garden.
There are frequent cases when hamsters visit barns and storerooms. Like domestic mice, they carry stock into their burrows. But, unlike them, hamsters are much more dangerous, since they are aggressively opposed to humans. Therefore, it is necessary to set traps, if suddenly such a "neighborhood" was noticed.
The steppe hamster spends most of his life in the burrow. This is not due to the fact that he is afraid to leave the limits of his home. The animal is quite fearless. But for the hunt he needs a lot of rest.
Hamster Hole goes into the ground by 1-2 meters. It all depends on how easy it is to dig the soil. The basis of the house are:
- residential camera,
- sloping exit,
- sheer entrance.
The living chamber, in turn, has three "doors". The first two are designed to ensure that the animal can freely go home and go out if necessary. And the third door is focused on the room with stocks. Only in winter and early spring time does a hamster use food from there, on other days its diet consists of fresh grains, vegetables and fruits.
How to identify a hamster? You can do this by the characteristic buildings. They are easily recognizable by small piles of land located directly next to the inlet / outlet. They are covered with husks of grains on top.
With the help of a small stick you can find out whether the rodent lives in the hole found. It must be placed inside and then pulled out. If a web, moss, husk or grass is found on it, the dwelling is abandoned. No hamster will keep his house in disarray.
Steppe Hamster Feeding
What does a hamster eat? You can not somehow flesh out this moment. It all depends on the place where he lives. If its habitat is focused on places near grain fields, then it will mostly feed on cereals. Moreover, his harm to agriculture will be minimal. Moreover, often during their campaigns for supplies hamsters eat small insects and animals, which make it easier for humans to get rid of them.
If the animal settled near the village, then the basis of its diet will be vegetables and those cultures that are most popular in the area. But they can not be collected as supplies for the winter, so hamsters have to ravage the warehouses and sheds of people to find the grain.
It is not uncommon for hungry animals to attack chickens, especially if there are no hens nearby that can protect them or at least make a noise.
The wild hamster is prone to hibernation, since it has no other option than a slower metabolism to endure harsh weather conditions. He begins to wake up when the earth is dispersed. This usually happens in February, sometimes a little later.
A remarkable feature is that the hamster will not immediately open its entrances and exits. At first, he will sit in a hole for some time, eating up the remains of supplies, and only a month later the holes will be open.
Females come out later, closer to mating time.
First, after hibernation, the animals begin to eat the seeds and grains that they find in the fields. Then they start young shoots. But at any time after hibernation, hamsters are ready to eat meat. They will not hunt on their own, their diet will be varied only on the condition that a weak or wounded animal gets in their way.
The hamster is the most aggressive and evil rodent. If other types of his family prefer not to appear on the eyes of man, then this will rush into battle at the earliest opportunity. Moreover, these animals rush to dogs, which are several times larger than themselves.
If you even consider what a hamster eats, you can immediately recognize its evil nature. For example, if a male encounters a female not during mating, he will bite her to death. If during the mating process several applicants are lined up, rarely the weaker manage to survive.
It is impossible not to note the love of animals for territorial division. Males can control the land to 12 hectares, females - a little less. If another animal enters the territory of one hamster, then a fight will start. And the owner of the land will be the most jealous defense.
Thus, a meeting with a steppe hamster does not bode well. The only way to make a good pet out of him is to bring a very small individual into the house who will not know how her relatives live.
At the end of May, when it passes 4-5 weeks after mating, the female goes to her nest. 6-18 cubs can be born there. At first, the babies will be bald and blind, but each of them already has teeth. Children grow up quickly, literally on the 3rd day, the first down appears. After a week, they open their eyes and slowly crawl along the nest, getting used to mastering the world.
Steppe hamster shows its loyalty only during mating and raising offspring. Males take care of several territories of females. This is done so that in the event of a defeat in a fight with an opponent, there is an opportunity to continue the race with another female. Mothers love their babies. And they will accept for feeding even other pups, regardless of their age. But kids can negatively treat new neighbors. If the inferior child is smaller, then it will most likely be crushed.
Catching steppe hamsters
Steppe hamsters in nature breed quickly. They cannot be called an endangered species, although in many reserves their life is strictly protected. For this reason, some areas of Russia are engaged in "hamster" fishing.
Animals are caught in spring and autumn. This is done until molting occurs. Moreover, if during the fights, which is often observed among hamsters, the skin was damaged, the animal is released into the wild.
Animals are caught in special traps. They are installed near the burrow, slightly dripping. Such devices can slightly damage the limbs, but not the skin. After installing the trap in the hole water is poured. The animal can be saved only under the condition that at this time it went for supplies.
Skins are used in the clothing industry. Some hunters eat meat that is said to resemble a squirrel. It is considered very tasty, and most importantly - nutritious.
Interesting facts from the life of the steppe hamsters
There is no more unique animal than the steppe hamster. Interesting facts from the life of this rodent are common. For example, biologists were very surprised at their great love and ability to swim. In the process, the animal inflates the bags, which are located in the cheeks (it also places the supplies there), and keeps it afloat.
Speaking about what a hamster eats, one cannot lose sight of his poaching acts. There were cases when these animals attacked rabbits listed in the Red Book, gnawed their necks and calmly savored the meat.
Because hamsters are very aggressive, they have many enemies. And it is good in relation to man. The fact is that if you do not engage in extermination, which is excellent for predatory birds, then the population will become too large. But in some lands a person has to work independently in order to clear the territory.
In conclusion, I must say that there are many features that a hamster has. The steppes and forest-steppe territories received an excellent unique inhabitant, despite all its aggressiveness and nastiness.
Description and brief description
Hamster rodents are spread throughout the planet. Their usual habitats are fields, meadows, forests, steppes, deserts and even mountains (up to an altitude of 5000 meters). The color and size of the animals depend on the species, age and habitat.
The smallest representatives of one of the 19 known subspecies of hamsters weigh less than 10, and large ones more than 1000 grams.
Adults in length up to 34-40 cm, weight up to 0.7-0.9 kg. No, this is not Jungar. In this case, females are larger than males. Wild rodents inhabit the forest-steppe zone. The carby has a dense constitution, rather short thick fur, a small tail (0.5-0.7 cm), short limbs with sharp claws. Round head with neat ears, pointed nose framed by a mustache. In the mouth of 16 teeth, 2 pairs of sharp incisors (upper and lower) in front draw special attention.
Wild hamsters have a fairly extensive habitat.
It is noteworthy that the incisors grow throughout the life of the animal, so he has to grind them constantly.
The color of the skin is predominantly fawn-red (brownish, grayish) with a faint dark stripe on the back, abdomen of a dark (black or coal-gray) tone, on the cheeks, sides and muzzle light spots.
A distinctive feature is the presence of stretchable pantry bags on the sides of the head, formed by folds of muscle tissue. This is an effective way to transport food to the burrow.
Life expectancy in the wild is approaching 4 years. At home with good care, he can live up to 5 or, in rare cases, 6 years.
Wild Hamster Origin
Distant ancestors of rodents lived on Earth 80 million years ago in the era of dinosaurs. Rapid development occurred in the Pliocene era (40 million years ago) in the collision of the Asian and European branches of hamsters. Natural conditions were the dominant factor in the development of hamsters, determining the lifestyle, size, color and diet of rodents.
It is noteworthy that in all European countries the word hamster, which means a rodent, is spelled and pronounced the same way (a difference of 1-2 letters).
Experts are inclined to the origin of the name from:
- Old Russian words Homyky, homystor, homy, hamster - loafer, bummer (for a long period of hibernation).
- Ancient Iranian and Persian hamaēstar - hostile (adversary), dropping on the ground (about ears of cereals).
- Old Slavic Hamka - greedily eat (for the ability to quickly fill the food on the cheeks).
- Polish skomleć - shout, scream, moan (for the piercing sounds of rodents).
The distribution of hamsters was so significant that the land (dry loams) in which they were found in abundance, was called hamster.
The diet of hamsters includes both plant and animal food.
Peak activity of wild rodents occurs at the time of twilight. They collect supplies, they hunt early in the morning and when darkness falls in the evening. It is believed that these rodents are nocturnal, but it is not uncommon when the carby leaves the burrow during the day.
Males and females are tolerant to each other for a short mating period. Couples are formed in March-April. One male can fertilize several females per season. Pregnancy lasts 2-3 weeks.
The rodent's dwelling is easy to recognize by the impressive earthen mound on the surface.
Nora is a deep (1.5-2.5 meters) underground labyrinth, which includes:
- Stocks for stocks (at least 2-3).
- Nest (female) or residential camera.
- Hygienic cavity (toilet).
- The entrance is a vertical hole in the ground.
They are wonderful diggers, but they never miss an opportunity to occupy another's hole and adapt it to their own needs.
The rodent is omnivorous, up to 80% of its diet comes from food of plant origin. When the storerooms of the animal are filled for the winter, preference is given to grain, wild-growing cereals, legumes and seeds of plants.
One animal stores for the winter from 12-15 to 90 kg of provisions.
These are the most aggressive members of the family, and sometimes they even attack rabbits.
The animals eat berries, fruits and vegetables that they manage to find. They gnaw seedlings of vegetables, fruit seedlings and young branches of shrubs. Do not hesitate planting onions, carrots, beets, potatoes. Insects, lizards and small mouse-like rodents enter the protein food section.
Enemies hamsters in nature
An adult healthy female brings from 2-3 to 4 offspring per year, 12-18 young. They are born blind pink lumps, but grow rapidly. The population of rodents is increasing exponentially.
Restrain the increase in the number of wild hamsters in their natural environment:
- All large birds of prey: owls, hawks, kites, ravens, rooks.
- With great pleasure hamsters eat the representatives of the cat family, as well as ferrets, weasels, foxes, wolves.
With the onset of these colds in October-November, the Karbych falls into hibernation, which lasts about 5 months. The sleep is shallow, and the hovering animal wakes up from time to time and cleans up stocks from the storerooms.
Cats and dogs also pose a threat to wild hamsters.
Relationship with a man
Steppe hamster is distinguished by aggressive behavior. When the animal protects its territory, the size and personality of the enemy does not matter to him. The rodent rises in a rack, squeals and boldly rushes at the offender. The wild hamster is dangerous to humans, after its bites remain deep lacerated wounds. He is a carrier of many infections. Such meetings are best avoided.
Carbysh, like other rodents, prefers to be nocturnal. During the day, hiding in the mink, and in the evening goes outside to inspect the property and replenish stocks. The “warehouse” at the field hamster is designed for a comfortable existence for several months.
Hamster burrows are 5-10 meter labyrinths with separate compartments for stockpiling, resting and sleeping, and even a toilet. Karbysh prefers to use ready-made tunnels that have already been dug by gophers or other rodents. The hamster can easily expel them, but more often he picks up the abandoned burrows, which he then skillfully modernizes. In the holes of the animal pure. The animal is a sample of the zealous owner.
In the warm season, he is actively engaged in the replenishment of stocks, the expansion of the territory, cares about the continuation of the species. Slow metabolism allows him to sleep in winter.
In Russia, field hamsters are common in the Caucasus, Altai and Siberia. And the habitat of the animal includes Kazakhstan and China, many European countries.
Why bite field hamsters?
Legends tell about hamster aggressiveness. The animal actively protects its life and fights for survival, which many do not like, especially farmers.
The rodent has sharp and strong long teeth, which it keeps “in shape”. This is his only weapon, because he does not possess such strength and power, like other predatory animals, for example, a lion or a tiger.
But biting for a field hamster does not always mean being unfriendly. The fact is that in rodents hearing and sense of smell are not developed, it is common for them to try everything “to the tooth”. But more often he uses sharp teeth when he senses danger.
Fans of starting rodents in their homes need to be prepared for the fact that a step hamster can easily bite a finger, or feel a new smell and want to figure out what it is.
General characteristics of the field rodent
Полевые хомяки относятся к крупным породам грызунов. В природе встречаются взрослые особи поменьше (20 см в длину) и побольше (34–40 см.)
Вес среднего животного 650–750 грамм, но при хорошем питании могут быть и до килограмма.
Как выглядит хомяк? Хвостик у зверька мощный, в длину 3–10 см, в основании широкий, к кончику сужается.
Примечательны усы: жесткие, как металлическая проволока.
Ears of a rounded shape, small, the muzzle is not strongly elongated. The beautiful bags on the sides, where the hamster is putting stocks, are a constant subject of cartoonists. But they play a role not only storerooms. If a rodent needs to swim across the river, he picks up air in them and these “balloons” allow him to float.
Paws are wide, strong, with tenacious elastic fingers that have dangerous sharp claws. This is a magnificent tool of labor at the carbs for digging underground tunnels.
The animal has a soft, thick, beautiful coat. Undercoat protects against cold weather. The color of the field hamster is bright. It can be different: red, black with spots, brown.
Often on the sides in the area of the front paws, behind the ears or behind the shoulder blades of a hamster there are two bright spots. The hamster of the steppe zone with such marks is very beautiful.
Secrets of survival
In field hamsters, life is not sweet. The dangers of them lurk everywhere, at any time of the year. No matter how the carbs hid, it can become prey to fox, marten, birds of prey, especially kites. In the wild, the animal lives for 2–3 years; at home, its eyelids can be extended twice.
The field hamster is classified as an aggressive animal, but upon closer examination of its habits, it becomes clear that, like Wolverine, it will never be the first to attack. When they are threatened, they take a belligerent posture and try to make it all look like, “Don't touch me, when I'm angry, it's very dangerous!”. He until the last one drives away the uninvited guest, starts biting when he has no way out. The bites are very painful, for many animals the meeting with a rodent ends pitifully.
The defensive aggression in a field hamster is forced; it is impossible to blame the animal for this. This is his principle of survival.
Nature took care of a small creature and gave him the opportunity to transfer the winter cold in a warm mink. From October to February, the steppe hamster hibernates. He can sometimes wake up, eat and sleep again. The animal recovers its strength in order to fight for survival again with the onset of spring.
A rodent wakes up when the earth warms up. This is usually the end of February or the beginning of March. But he does not immediately come to the surface. About a month will be intensively eating stocks and only then opens the entrances and exits.
Females come out of the burrow in the spring after the males, when the mating period approaches.
While the hamster in the steppe sleeps sweetly in its winter mink, its relatives at home are awake. In hibernation "domesticated" animals do not fall.
Field hamster care and maintenance in the wild
In the wild and at home, the animal differs in that it has to get food and drink on its own, risking its life. In the hole he cleans himself. Aspires to clean up the cage and the home hamster.
Rodents are unpretentious to food, can eat a small mouse, lizard or insect, but plant food is the main one. These are roots, herbs, seeds of plants, root crops. Autumn-spring stocks of a rodent on average reach 25 kg, they are also considerably large.
At home, the rodent is fed all year round. In the diet should be peas, rice, buckwheat, lentils, corn, potatoes, any greens, and insects. You can not feed the sweet and salty foods, oranges and tangerines.
It is interesting to watch and care for these animals, so many people strive to make it at home. A hamster caught in the country can bring great joy to all family members. But we must bear in mind that he will never be tame.
Breeding field hamsters
Karbysh has time to start several families over the summer. Each female produces 2–3 offspring per year. In the cage, the carbs can breed throughout the year.
The pregnancy of the female has a duration of 20-25 days. For one offspring can appear from 4 to 12 babies. Cases of birth of 20 cubs were registered at once.
Mother-hamster is engaged in feeding babies up to a month. At the age of 2 months, hamsters become sexually mature.
If during the mating period the female becomes the subject of a dispute between the males, then the battle for her is not for life, but for death.
To make a field hamster a good pet, you need to bring it to your house at the age of 10–15 days. There is a chance that the animal, which will not know how to live it to gather, will succumb to education and will take the host for a friend.
Harm to man - farmer
Karbyshi often settle near fields and cottages, farms. With large populations, they are able to cause great damage to the crop. Anything that a rodent will find on the field is edible for him.
It is easy to detect the presence of a rodent: you can see teeth marks on fruits and vegetables, bark is eaten at the bottom of trees and on bushes. On the planting of potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables are visible traces of undermining.
Hamsters breed with a geometric progression. If you do not take action, they will fill in their fields all fields.
Hamsters bring not only harm, but also benefit, destroying on the fields larvae of beetles, eating insect pests, including locusts, which brings great damage to farmers.
Ways to fight and protect
Ordinary domestic cats who like to hunt rodents can protect the house from hamsters. There are many ways to deal with rodents on farm plantations.
The most humane and modern way is the use of ultrasonic devices that deter rodents. The method is common throughout the civilized world. To arrange the scares, financial costs are required, but time and effort will be saved.
At the heart of the device is the use of ultrasound of a certain frequency, which only hamsters catch, and this instructs them to take flight.
The wild hamster has environmental status in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Belarus, Ukraine, and in five regions of Russia.
Where does the hamster live
In which natural zone a hamster lives depends on its belonging to one or another species. They can be found in most of the territories of the Russian Federation, China, in most European countries and even in countries with a desert climate - Syria and Iran. An attentive traveler can easily find them in the suburbs, squares and fields.
They are also called ordinary. They differ markedly from the next of kin, which can be found in pet stores. Features:
- males exhibit aggressive behavior towards their own kind, they also often attack larger animals,
- nightlife. The burrows can go underground to a depth of 8 meters, at night they leave them in search of food, avoiding the attention of most predators,
- cleanliness. The burrows of hamsters are divided into several chambers - for sleeping, storing food, managing needs.
Males live with several females, sometimes rodents settle in small colonies, creating large holes.
They are found in the forest belt, but are rare. Representatives of this group prefer well-protected zones in the forests of the Americas, Europe and Asia. Such hamsters do not have a clear lifestyle - males and females can live both separately and together. If they settle not far from human habitation, they go to the night “hunt”, making their way to the storerooms. Such hamsters live on trees, hiding their homes with dried sprigs.
Video: forest hamster
Natural habitat area - marshland. Such hamsters carefully avoid such places. They have a scaly tail and appearance, thanks to which they can be confused with ordinary vole mice. The maximum length is 20 centimeters, they settle the dwelling in the thickets of reeds or fasten the stalks of the plants.
Modern science is known 19 species representing the family of hamsters. Only on the territory of the Russian Federation there are 12 species, divided into six genera:
Each of them has unique external features due to which they can be classified. The largest of them reach a length of 34 centimeters. In Russia there are some of them:
- These. Weight is about 500 grams, yellow-brown color, on the sides are visible white markings, small ears, paws look like human hands,
- Mossy. Weigh no more than 30 g, have a sand-gold color. Small white spots can be found on the muzzle near the eyes and on the abdomen. Ears are large, stand upright,
- Rat-like. Medium size, weight up to 240 g, gray-brown color, turning to belly in white. The tail in appearance resembles a rat.
Almost all males are smaller than females. Rodents have four teeth, sharp enough to crack hard objects. The teeth do not have roots, and their growth does not stop throughout life.
Eating hamsters in nature
Hamsters are omnivorous animals, but they give preference to food of plant origin. In the summer, they eat roots, herbs, seeds, and, if possible, prey on insects. Larger individuals may eat smaller mice, lizards, or amphibians. Considering the hamsters lifestyle, in winter they feed on what they managed to stock in their pantries:
One individual can accumulate up to 20 kilograms, and in rare cases, the mass of foodstuffs stored for the winter period reaches 90 kg.
Enemies hamster in nature
Wildlife is a dangerous place, especially for animals with small sizes, unable to protect themselves from the attacks of large predators. However, the natural enemies of the hamster only keep the rodent population in acceptable numbers, but they cannot destroy them as a species. Who eats hamsters:
- predator birds. During the day, representatives of the hawk family pose a threat, owls hunt for hamsters at night,
- land predators. Wolves, lynx, foxes, etc. By waiting or chasing game animals, these animals are able to satisfy their hunger by catching several rodents,
- Pets. In the suburban area, hamsters can be attacked by cats and some breeds of hunting or service dogs.
Cats and dogs also pose a threat to domestic hamsters, so the cage must be kept out of the reach of dogs or cats, otherwise they can attack and eat a smaller pet.
Eating hamsters in the wild
What do field hamsters eat in field conditions? Field hamsters are omnivorous, but plant food is preferred. In the summer, rodents mostly feed on roots, herbs, seeds of plants, often catch and eat insects, and sometimes small mice, amphibians, and lizards.
In the autumn and spring, they fully switch to the food stored in the pantry:
Hamster stocks are 16-20 kg. They found storage rooms where grain and potato stocks amounted to 90 kg.
Field hamster than to feed at home?
If you decide to settle the field hamster at home, you should consider that you have to feed the rodent all year round, since at home the field hamster does not hibernate.
In the diet should include peas and rice, buckwheat and lentils, lupine and corn, potatoes and greens, as well as insects. You should not feed sweet and salty, citrus and exotic fruits and many other products that a hamster does not receive in the wild.