general info about Theriologia Ukrainica

Theriologia Ukrainica

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) • ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2021 • Vol. 21 • Contents of volume >>>

download pdfStanytsina, H., I. Zagorodniuk. 2021. The European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) in captivity: keeping and breeding experience. Theriologia Ukrainica, 21: 152–164.



The European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) in captivity: keeping and breeding experience


Halyna Stanytsina (,
Igor Zagorodniuk (


Institute of archeology, NAS of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine)
National Museum of Natural History, NAS Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2021. Vol. 21: 152–164.




Ukrainian, with English summary, titles of tables, captures to figs


Hamsters have long been considered agricultural pests and their abundance has been controlled. Now in many countries they are recognized as rare and endangered species that are at a risk of extinction. Among conservation measures to preserve and restore the population of many species is to gain experience in their keeping and reproduction in captivity. The experiments were carried out with hamsters obtained from the Crimea at different times. The keeping experience of hamsters in an ordinary residential apartment and the specifics of domestication of the animals caught in the nature are described. Their captivity, cage arrangement, nutrition, reproduction, specifics of communication, seasonal and circadian rhythms, territorial behaviour, threats and factors influencing their well-being are described in detail. Practice has shown that these are friendly and interacting animals to kee at home, and their breeding as pets is promising. Even adults caught in a trap get used to people in 2–4 weeks, take food from hands, go to the cage door when they are called, remember their nickname, calmly walk on the hands and do not bite at all, even when their babies are taken to the hands. Although hamsters are nocturnal in the nature, they are often active during the day at home. They do not hibernate and are active all-year-round, and even breed in winter. Hamsters are highly sensitive to overheating and draft; both are harmful to them and lead to death. In the evenings, while walking around the room hamsters do not run away and do not hide; the cage is considered their territory, safe, and cosy. Therefore, after walks, they go to the cages themselves or ask to be placed in the cage. Quickly master the treadmill and run in it for hours. Hamsters are very different by their individual behaviour and preferences. The purpose of keeping hamsters in captivity is to introduce the species as pets and to form so-called ‘reserve populations’ to restore populations of the species in the wild. Being among the pets, this species will be preserved in the culture and will be able to be released in places where their existence would be desirable. Based on the experience gained from keeping hamsters in captivity, steps to form "wild" behaviour are recommended. The formation of artificial breeding groups, which together form a reserve population, is an important measure in restoration programmes of natural populations of Cricetus cricetus.


hamster, taming, keeping in captivity, ex situ conservation, behaviour, breeding in captivity



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