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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Longueur : 19,8-25,5 cm pour les mâles dont 3,9-5,9 cm de queue, et 18,1-22,0 cm pour les femelles dont 3,1-5 cm de queue.
Poids : 150-600 g.

Seule espèce du genre Cricetus, le Hamster commun est un rongeur de taille moyenne. Il a un corps trapu se prolongeant par une queue courte semée de poils courts. Ces oreilles sont petites et velues. Le Hamster commun possèdent des poches extensibles à l’intérieur des joues, appelées abajoues. Les pattes sont courtes et larges comptant cinq doigts chacune bien que le doigt interne de la patte antérieure soit réduit et ne laisse aucune marque sur l’empreinte. Cette espèce se reconnait facilement à son pelage bariolé : ventre noir, dos roux avec des taches blanches sur le museau, les joues, la gorge et les flancs à l’arrière des pattes antérieurs, extrémité des pattes blanche. Il compte 16 dents : I1/1, C0/0, P0/0, M3/3. Les mâles sont généralement plus gros que les femelles.

Le Hamster commun peut être actif à toute heure du jour, mais son activité à l’extérieur du terrier est essentiellement crépusculaire ou nocturne. Rongeur fouisseur, il passe 95% de son temps dans son terrier. Il hiberne d’octobre à mars-avril et se réveille de temps à autre pour consommer ces réserves (il a stocké en moyenne 12 kg de provision). Le sommeil débute lorsque la température de l’air atteint environ 10°C et que sa température corporelle soit descendue à 4°C. Solitaire, il ne vit en couple que lors de l’accouplement. La reproduction a lieu d’avril à aout. Polygame, le mâle visite les terriers de plusieurs femelles. La gestation dure vingt jours. La femelle met bas d’environ 7 petits de 7-8 g qui s’émancipent au bout de 3 semaines. La maturité sexuelle est atteinte vers 2-3 mois et il peut vivre jusqu’à 4-6 ans. Rongeur omnivore, ses réserves hivernales sont constituées de graines de céréales et de légumineuses mais c’est aussi un prédateur d’invertébrés et de petits vertébrés (campagnols, passereaux, lézards, couleuvres).

Originaire des steppes, il se retrouve dans des prairies steppiques et paysage agricoles. Il évite les prairies très pâturées et les milieux humides. Il est présent du niveau de la mer jusqu’à une altitude maximale de 650 m. Le domaine vital du mâle contient en général des terriers de plusieurs femelles et sa superficie est comprise entre 700 et 1 000 m2. En revanche, les domaines vitaux des mâles entre eux et des femelles entre elles ne semblent pas se recouvrir. Le Hamster commun creuse deux sortes de terriers dont l’entrée est toujours oblique. Le terrier d’été est court et peu profond (moins d’un mètre), avec une seule chambre à provision. Celui d’hiver est plus long et plus profond (jusqu’à 2 mètre sous la surface du sol) et comprend plusieurs chambres : une grande chambre centrale d’où partent plusieurs galeries, de 5 à 8 cm de diamètre, et un diverticule en cul de sac où le rongeur dépose ses excréments.

Référence : QUERE J.-P. & LE LOUARN H. 2011. Les rongeurs de France. Faunistique et biologie. Edition Quae, Versailles. 311p.
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Distribution

Range Description

Cricetus cricetus has a large global range, extending from western Europe, through central and eastern Europe, Russia, and Kazakhstan, reaching as far east as the Yenisey river (Asian Russia). In Europe, it occurs from Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France in the west to Russia in the east, and from northern Germany, Poland and Russia in the north to Bulgaria in the south (Panteleyev 1998, Weinhold 1999). It is found from sea level to 650 m (Nechay 2000).
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Geographic Range

Cricetus cricetus is found in Eurasia from Belgium to the Altai region of Siberia.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The fur is light brown on the back, white on the sides and black on the belly (hence the name black-bellied hamster). There is a wide range of variation, however, including both albino and melanistic animals. The small tail is mostly hairless. Cricetus has cheek pouches.

Average mass: 506.7 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 1.251 W.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Its original habitat was fertile steppe and grassland, but it has successfully spread into a variety of anthropogenic habitats including meadows, croplands (especially cereals), and field edges, road verges and scrubby fallow areas on farms. In eastern parts of its range it is found quite often in gardens and orchards, in close proximity to human habitation. It is more abundant in these man-made habitats than it is in natural grassland. It prefers relatively deep, heavy soils, in which it digs extensive burrows. Its diet mainly consists of the green parts of plants and seeds, supplemented by invertebrates and, occasionally, small vertebrates. At high densities, it can be an agricultural pest (Nechay 2000).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The habitat of the common hamster includes steppe, agricultural land and riverbanks. Burrows are usually in loam of loess soils in the western part of the range.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The diet is diverse and includes grains, beans, lentils, roots, green parts of plants, insect larvae and frogs.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
2.0 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
4.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 3.6 years (captivity) Observations: It has been estimated that they live up to 4 years in the wild (Bernhard Grzimek 1990), which is dubious. Record longevity in captivity belongs to one wild born specimen that was about 3.6 years of age when it died (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

The breeding season in Cricetus lasts from April to August. It is not clear if males are driven away by females after mating or if the pair remains together to raise the offspring. Females normally have two litters of 4-12 young per year, though captive animals are capable of reproducing every month. Gestation is 18-20 days long and birth weight is usually about 7 grams. Young are weaned at 3 weeks and attain adult size at 8 weeks. Female are sexually mature at 43 days.

Average birth mass: 7 g.

Average gestation period: 20 days.

Average number of offspring: 7.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
56 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
43 days.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cricetus cricetus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Kryštufek, B., Vohralík, V., Meinig, H. & Zagorodnyuk, I.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
The common hamster has declined in almost all European range states (with the exception of Russia and Ukraine), with very severe declines and local extirpations having occurred in some countries. However, the species remains abundant in some areas in the eastern part of its range, and at the global level it is not thought that declines approach the threshold of 30% over 10 years (or 3 generations) needed to qualify as Vulnerable according to criterion A of the IUCN Red List. This species has a very wide range and is considered Least Concern at the global level.

History
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
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IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
It has undergone severe range and population declines in western and central Europe, and it now has a highly fragmented distribution in these areas. Subpopulation extinctions have occurred in a number of countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Less is known about the status of the species in eastern Europe and Russia, but it is certainly more abundant there than in the west. Spring population densities of 0.5-3 individuals per hectare are reported in western Europe (Weinhold 1999), whereas densities of 3.4-37 occupied burrows per hectare have been recorded in Hungary (Nechay 2000). In Ukraine the species is considered abundant (I. Zagorodnyuk pers. comm. 2006). In areas where the species is abundant, periodic population outbreaks occur (Nechay 2000).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Its decline in western Europe has been attributed to a combination of persecution and agricultural intensification. It was trapped and poisoned to prevent damage to crops, and this practice continues in some parts of the hamster's range (although not in the western part of its range). In eastern Europe it continues to be trapped for the fur trade. Agricultural intensification, specifically the loss of perennial crops and small uncultivated patches of land, the introduction of autumn-sown cereals, and the increased use of pesticides, has had a negative impact on many hamster populations. Changing agricultural practices in eastern Europe, where the hamster population has traditionally been considered stable, may pose a threat in the future.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annex IV of the EU Habitats and Species Directive. Specific conservation recommendations to improve the status of the species in western Europe are detailed in Stubbe and Stubbe (1998) and Nechay (2000). These focus on subsidising farmers to manage agricultural habitats appropriately, and minimising use of pesticides. In the last few years, reintroductions have been carried out in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Monitoring is required in eastern range states to determine population trends.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

In the past Cricetus was considered a serious agricultural pest because of its impact on corn and other crops. Modern agricultural techniques have diminished its impact.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The common hamster is trapped in some parts of its range for skins.

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Wikipedia

European hamster

The European hamster, (Cricetus cricetus), also known as the Eurasian hamster,[2] black-bellied hamster[3] or common hamster,[4][5][6] is the only species of the genus Cricetus.[7] It is native to a large range in Eurasia, extending from Belgium to the Altai mountains and Yenisey River in Russia.[8] The animal is widely considered a farmland pest, and has also been trapped for its fur. Across its global range, it is considered of least concern, but in many individual European countries it is considered critically endangered.

Description[edit]

Skeleton

The European hamster has brown dorsal fur with white patches. The chest and belly are black. The tail is short and furred. It is much larger than the Syrian or dwarf hamsters, which are commonly kept as pets. It weighs 220–460 g (8–16 ounces) and can grow to 20–35 cm (8–14 inches) long with a tail of 40–60 mm (1.5–2.3 in). Its dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 3/3.

Behaviour[edit]

The common hamster is a nocturnal or crepuscular species. It lives in a complex burrow system. It eats seeds, legumes, root vegetables, grasses and insects. It transports its food in its elastic cheek pouches to the food storage chambers. These may be quite large and may consist of a total of 65g of food including 50g of potatoes and 15g of grain[9] It hibernates between October and March. During this time, it wakes every five to seven days to feed from the storage chambers. The adults reach sexual maturity when they are about 43 days old and breed from early April to August. The gestation period is 18–20 days and the size of the litter ranges from three to 15 young, which are weaned when aged three weeks. They are usually solitary animals. [9]

Distribution[edit]

It is typically found in low-lying farmland with soft loam or loess soils, although it may also inhabit meadows, gardens or hedges. It is found from Belgium and Alsace in the west, to Russia in the east, and Romania in the south.

In captivity, the European hamster has an unusually long lifespan, living up to eight years.

The Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the European Union's highest court, ruled on 9 June 2011 that France had failed to protect the European hamster. The court said that if France did not adjust its agricultural and urbanization policies sufficiently to protect it, the government would be subject to fines of up to $24.6 million.[10][needs update]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kryštufek, B., Vohralík, V., Meinig, H. & Zagorodnyuk, I. (2008). "Cricetus cricetus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Eurasian hamster". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Cricetus Cricetus – Common or Black-Bellied Hamster". AgroAtlas. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Common Hamster: Cricetus Cricetus". Habitats Directive. European Commission. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "hamster". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Cricetus Cricetus". IUCN Red List. IUCN. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Musser, G. G.; Carleton, M. D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1043. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  8. ^ "Cricetus cricetus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b MacDonald, David; Priscilla Barret (1993). Mammals of Britain & Europe 1. London: HarperCollins. pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-00-219779-0. 
  10. ^ Erlanger, Steven (9 June 2011). "France Is Scolded Over Care of Great Hamster of Alsace". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 

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