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First brought to the US in the 1930s, Hamsters have since been domesticated to become one of the worlds most popular small pets. However, Hamsters are still found in large numbers in the wild, although sadly some of these are in decline. So, Where do hamsters live?
Are there Hamsters in the Wild?
Yes, there are lots of Hamsters in the wild. So, where do Hamsters live?
Syrian Hamsters, Russian Dwarf Hamsters, The Chinese Hamster. As these names suggest, Hamsters were first discovered in the wild in many places around the world, and still live there to this day.
Most can be found in similar climates, preferring the hot dry environment provided by the Steppe parts of the world. In geographical terms, the Steppe climate (pronounced Step) is a semi-arid low lying grassland. Not dry enough to be classed as a desert, but not wet enough to support trees.
These climates are typical of South East Europe and Asia, stretching across Russian as far as Siberia.
Where do Hamsters live in the Wild?
Widely believed to be the origin of the first hamster to be captured in the wild and domesticated, thus given the name the Syrian Hamster. However, they are also found in Greece, Romania, and northern China.
These Steppe environments have very hot days but very cold nights.
Syrian Hamsters dig deep borrows to keep cool during the hight temps of the days but maintain a thick coat to keep warm during the cold nights, when there leave the borrow in search of food.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Syrian Hamster is considered vulnerable. This is mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitat.
For a more in-depth look at the Syrian Hamster, check out our dedicated page here, Syrian Hamster Guide
Preferring a climate similar to that of the Syrian Hamster, the Campbells Hamster can be found in the semi-arid lands of Mongolia and Southern parts of Russia. And again, like its Syrian cousins, they have evolved with dense fur that keeps them warm during the cold evenings.
Thriving in the more temperate lands of China, the Chinese Dwarf Hamster doesn’t need to burrow so deep to keep cool, typically living in shallower nests.
And, as the temperature doesn’t drop so much as night, their coat isn’t as dense as those hamsters from Russian and Syria.
The larger European Hamster can be found in farmlands as far east as Belgium and stretch across Europe, reaching as far west as Eastern parts of Russia.
Not typically kept as pets, due to their size, which can reach as large as one pound and over a foot in length.