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How Do Hamsters Survive in the Wild?

Last Updated: 27.02.20


How we care for our hamsters is very important for their well-being, and that is why you have to make sure that his/her new hamster house will offer enough space. Also, choosing the right bedding for hamsters needs your utmost attention, too, because you want your little friend to enjoy maximum comfort.

When they live with us, we do our best to help them stay healthy and happy. In other words, our hamsters rely on us to make the best choices for them in terms of food and safety/security. And, we manage to protect them against potential dangers as we know best. But, what about when they are in the wild? How do they survive?



There are over 20 species of hamsters, but only some of them make excellent pets. The Syrian hamsters, for example, are very popular among small animal lovers and it is common for them to have one as a pet. This type of hamster is more active, and that is why it is recommended not to put more than one rodent in the same cage as they will fight.

Also, Syrian hamsters have great personalities and if they are raised with care, they will be your friends for life. They can be easily tamed and they make fantastic companions for anyone. Dwarf hamsters (Campbell’s and winter white Russian hamsters, Roborovski hamsters) are more sociable, and they do not fight that much.

That is why you can keep multiple of them in the same cage without worrying that they will hurt each other. But, do bear in mind that if you do not want baby hamsters in the near future you will have to separate the males and females. Also, this species is fast and agile which can make it a little harder for you to handle them properly.

Chinese hamsters can be easily mistaken for dwarf hamsters because they are very similar in size. When it comes to their aggressive behavior, they are somewhere in the middle. What this means is that they sometimes get along with other Chinese hamsters but sometimes they don’t. More often they are friendly, but sometimes they can be difficult to handle.




Food plays an important role in our lives, and the same goes for hamsters. They need to get all the necessary nutrients in order to live a long and healthy life. These rodent animals are omnivorous, which means that they eat both vegetables and small animals. And, their diet depends on the environment they are in – either in captivity or in the wild.

Typically, hamsters prefer to eat nuts, cracked corn, fruits, seeds, grains, and vegetables. But, when they are in the wild they also eat frogs, lizards, insects, and other small animals. According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, a hamster that lives in captivity should follow a diet that contains a minimum of 16% protein and 5% fat.

Hamsters have pouches in their cheeks which they use to store food and then carry it back to the tunnels to eat it later. This aspect makes them thrive in a sometimes cruel environment in terms of food. While there are times when they find plenty of food, there are others when they don’t find that much.

That is why they will be able to store it when they have a lot so they can eat it when it is less abundant. Over time their bodies have evolved so that they can carry even larger amounts of food in the cheek pouches and bring it to their nest in order to have it for rainy days.



Like many small animals, hamsters have a huge number of predators that are eager to make a meal of these adorable and almost defenseless little creatures. The most common predators are owls, weasels, storks, jackals, snakes, wild cats, and many more creatures that like to eat mouse-like little mammals.

Because they are larger than mice, hamsters are seen as a consistent meal for many of these above-mentioned predators. As if they didn’t have enough enemies, these little rodents are also delicious preys for pet cats, feral cats, and feral dogs. And, to be even more specific, in some parts of the world humans consider wild hamsters a dietary delicacy.

But, hamsters have their own ways of defending themselves against many of these enemies which have helped them survive for ages. They have the ability to scavenge for food quietly and safely so that the predators will not notice them. And, if they do attract some unwanted attention, hamsters will just run as fast as they can and hide in the burrows.

Also, when they feel threatened, hamsters will behave aggressively and sometimes they will even hiss, in order to scare their attackers away. And, hamsters can become even more violent and they can resort to biting.  



Pet hamsters (in the wild)

Many people may ask themselves if a pet hamster can ever survive in the wild. Well, the answer is most definitely no. What your hamsters learned in the time spent with you, was how to become better pets and not how to survive better in the wild. That is why they will most likely fail to adapt to the tough environment without protection from someone else.

You were the one who kept them safe, and you offered them all the necessary food in order to keep them strong. When they are in the wild, the will have to find the food themselves which can be very difficult most of the times. So, without food they will become weak and eventually if they don’t die from malnutrition, they can end up being eaten by predators.

Because they were kept inside, their natural resistance to various parasites is almost non-existent. This means that the chances for them to avoid getting ill are very low. Also, at some point, they will want to dig for warmth and safety but what they are used to, is the soft bedding.

While in the wild, the terrain is very different and it will be hard for them to dig. There are laws that forbid the releasing of hamsters into the wild because it is considered an act of cruelty against them.



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Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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