Where Are The Wild Hamsters?

GNC

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The usual excuse for seeing big cats in Britain is that they're escaped pets, or from circuses, but if that were true, why don't we have a population of wild hamsters in Britain? Loads of the small furry creatures have escaped from homes over the years, but I've never seen a hamster in the wild. Shouldn't they be more common than panther sightings?
 

escargot

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The place where they originally came from doesn't have any either. I seem to remember reading that there are no wild hamsters in the world as they are a mutation of some kind.

Or maybe aliens brought them to see what we'd do with them, the same way they taught us to make crop circles?

Or maybe the hamsters make the crop circles, as a signal to the aliens that they've finally escaped, and the aliens pop over and collect them. Yup, that'll be it.
 

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escargot1 said:
The place where they originally came from doesn't have any either. I seem to remember reading that there are no wild hamsters in the world as they are a mutation of some kind.

I heard that too, but that shouldn't prevent them existing in the wild if they escape, should it?

Or maybe aliens brought them to see what we'd do with them, the same way they taught us to make crop circles?

Or maybe the hamsters make the crop circles, as a signal to the aliens that they've finally escaped, and the aliens pop over and collect them. Yup, that'll be it.

Perhaps it's the hamsters conducting the abductions in a sort of "revenge for Richard Gere" kind of way?
 

escargot

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:shock:

D'you think they... :(
 

Graylien

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Domestic Hamsters wouldn't last very long in the wild. For starters, the damp and cold would finish them off in winter, if not before. And if the neighbourhood moggies didn't snap them up, they'd probably fall prey to wild rats. (Rats - even tamed domestic rats - will instinctively attack any smaller species of rodent they run across.)
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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The hamster, or the 'korenwolf', is native to South Holland, in the province of Limburg.
http://www.korenwolf.co.uk/

The Hamster Story:
Background
Korenwolf, is brewed in the Gulpener brewery in the Dutch town of Gulpen, near Maastricht - the gastronomic heartland of Holland.

Gulpener is a family-owned brewery that has been run by seven generations of the Rutten family. Established in 1825 the brewery is dedicated to developing high quality, inimitable beers that are environmentally friendly and made from locally grown crops.

The name "Korenwolf" refers to a wild grain-eating hamster, indigenous to the Limburg region. The beer was launched in 1994 to save the creature from the threat of extinction -a donation was made from every sale to contribute towards the hamster's breeding programme. The programme was successful but unnecessary - a colony was subsequently found over the border in Germany. Today both the hamster and the beer flourish and Korenwolf is the fastest-growing wheat beer in Holland.
 

rynner2

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Pietro_Mercurios said:
The hamster, or the 'korenwolf', is native to South Holland, in the province of Limburg.

But it originated elsewhere:
Origin and Habitat

The Syrian or golden hamster is native to southeast Europe and Asia Minor (northwest Syria). In 1930, a female and her litter were obtained in Syria and brought to Israel, and, from this family, the domesticated hamster was developed. Syrian hamsters were brought to the United States in 1938.

In the wild, hamsters are nocturnal animals that live on brushy slopes and steppes. They generally live alone in deep tunnels (burrows) that insure a cooler temperature and higher humidity than that of a desert environment. Hamsters are omnivorous, making vegetables, seeds, fruits, and meat part of their diet; they store grain in their burrows.

http://www.lvma.org/hamster.html
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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rynner said:
Pietro_Mercurios said:
The hamster, or the 'korenwolf', is native to South Holland, in the province of Limburg.

But it originated elsewhere:
Origin and Habitat

The Syrian or golden hamster is native to southeast Europe and Asia Minor (northwest Syria). In 1930, a female and her litter were obtained in Syria and brought to Israel, and, from this family, the domesticated hamster was developed. Syrian hamsters were brought to the United States in 1938.

In the wild, hamsters are nocturnal animals that live on brushy slopes and steppes. They generally live alone in deep tunnels (burrows) that insure a cooler temperature and higher humidity than that of a desert environment. Hamsters are omnivorous, making vegetables, seeds, fruits, and meat part of their diet; they store grain in their burrows.

http://www.lvma.org/hamster.html
That's the domesticated one alright.

The Dutch/German one is the 'Common', or European hamster, apparently. The European variety appears to be quite a different kettle of fish. Quite ferocious! :shock:
http://www.hammyworld.de/sp_europ.html

tn_euro1.jpg


This is the European Hamster, aka "Fieldhamster", "European black-bellied Hamster", Scientific name: Cricetus cricetus

Natural environment:
European lowlands, originally in the central and eastern parts of europe (Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, northern Spain, northern Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Russia).

Fieldhamsters are living in burrows up to 2m deep, building colonies that way, each burrow is in sight of others. Their behavior is very territorial and not sociable. They´re aggressive against humans and an encounter with them could result in serious injuries ! Invaders will be attacked - they don´t fear humans or other bigger animals.

So avoid invading their territory !

...
I certainly learn a lot on this Site. :)
 

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Yep, those buggers can break a child's arm with one flap of their wings.
 

escargot

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The sabretoothed ones're pretty fierce too.
 

escargot

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And why d'you think there are so few ABCs? Hamsters, that's why.
 

TheQuixote

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Loads of the small furry creatures have escaped from homes over the years, but I've never seen a hamster in the wild. Shouldn't they be more common than panther sightings?

I knew I'd only recently read a book that had something on 'wild' hamsters in the UK but I've had to wait to get home to find it out.

From p24 - 26, Strange But True - The World's Weirdest Newspaper Stories (1983), an 'invasion' of hamsters in 1982 at Burnt Oak, London that made the papers.

Hamster Horror - Superhamster feared screamed the headlines. At Burnt Oak, Hamsters were taking over. Some terrified residents had to be moved from their homes as hordes of these small, normally timorous creatures infested the council estate at Hook Walk. Hamster shields were set up to protect houses, especially around television aerial lines which the animals used as routes up walls and into bedrooms. One resident, with his son, aged 15, told reporters that they had trapped and killed nearly 200. The council was besieged with complaints.

Hamsters were first introduced into Britain as pets in the 1930s; it was thought that those of Burnt Oak were descended from the normal species but had somehow escaped captivity and gone wild, thriving in rubbish bins, adapting to the harsh English winter. The Ministry of Agriculture was consulted and a number of poisons tried - all without success. Experts feared that the hamsters' ability to resist both poisons and cold weather showed that they were on their way to becoming superhamsters. Unchecked, they could spread problems for the rest of the country, disturbing the food chain and posing serious problems for agriculture.

Barnet council ordered an all-out offensive. Officials came in gumboots, armed to the teeth with traps and bait. But the hamsters were too quick for them. Zoologists blamed the council's methods; tractor mowers had been used to clean overgrown gardens, driving the hamsters underground. One expert, quoted in the Hendon Times said: 'Barnet council really don't know much about the habits of hamsters at all - hamsters burrow several feet down.' [...]


There's also the type of news story that occasionally crops up where hamsters or similar pets have overrun a block of flats such as this but I'd love to know if there's still a colony of these 'superhamsters' in London. Does anyone local to Burnt Oak remember the incident from the 80s or indeed have any other info on it??
 

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They've probably interbred with the squirrats by now. ;)
 

GNC

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TheQuixote said:
[From p24 - 26, Strange But True - The World's Weirdest Newspaper Stories (1983), an 'invasion' of hamsters in 1982 at Burnt Oak, London that made the papers.

I have this book and started flicking through bits of it recently! There's a big picture (obviously staged) of a hamster peeking through a letterbox to accompany that bit in my edition. Unfortunately the story sounds hard to believe when they don't find any creatures. Could be silly season stuff. I'm willing to be proved wrong, though.
 

TheQuixote

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gncxx said:
TheQuixote said:
[From p24 - 26, Strange But True - The World's Weirdest Newspaper Stories (1983), an 'invasion' of hamsters in 1982 at Burnt Oak, London that made the papers.

I have this book and started flicking through bits of it recently! There's a big picture (obviously staged) of a hamster peeking through a letterbox to accompany that bit in my edition. Unfortunately the story sounds hard to believe when they don't find any creatures. Could be silly season stuff. I'm willing to be proved wrong, though.

Lol! cool, I only bought it the other week for 25p!!

I'd like the story to be true. The idea of the OOP hammy appeals to me.

What about the Filigree Siberian Hamster?

As an aside, I used to have a pair of Siberian hamsters when I was younger and when they died I bought another, what I thought was a bog-standard baby Syrian hamster.

I swear (and everyone who saw it said the same) that it was just a rat with a docked tail! It was a muddy-brown colour all over and it grew far, far larger than any hamster I've ever seen. It was a friendly thing though.
 

GNC

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TheQuixote said:
Lol! cool, I only bought it the other week for 25p!!

I was skimming my shelves and it leapt out at me a couple of weeks ago. Expect me to post bits and pieces out of it over the next few weeks!

Anyway, on with the hamster dance. Sorry, hamster thread.
 

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TheQuixote said:
I swear (and everyone who saw it said the same) that it was just a rat with a docked tail! It was a muddy-brown colour all over and it grew far, far larger than any hamster I've ever seen. It was a friendly thing though.
hamster2.jpg


They can look rather rat like - however, I think the rat has a more pointed snout.

Did your pet ever grind its teeth together when it was being petted? This is something a lot of rats do (it's known as bruxing) but I'm pretty certain Syrian hamsters don't. Rats will also groom you by licking your hand - and again, I'm pretty sure Hamsters don't do this.

Rats also tend to bound around snatching up pieces of paper and taking them back to their nest (mine will even steal paperbacks if I leave them lying around on the floor). Plus they're very curious, and will generally make a bee-line for anything (or anyone) new in their territory. Hamsters seem to be generally more passive and not particularily interested in strangers.
 

TheQuixote

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Graylien - He didn't have a pointed snout although for a hamster it had a longer than usual tail - a good inch or so. It was an odd-looking creature.

The Siberian hamsters that I had (lovely things) were very expressive and didn't mind being handled at all. Much better than the Syrian or Golden hamsters I'd had previously. They had a tendency to bite.


Going back to the 'superhamsters'

Unfortunately the story sounds hard to believe when they don't find any creatures. Could be silly season stuff. I'm willing to be proved wrong, though.

It does have a rather sensationalist feel to it but again, if anyone from that area can shed any light on it, it would be great if it had indeed happened. An estate being overrun by the blighters and fears that they would end up destroying the countryside!!! Guy N Smith should have written about them instead of those bloody crabs or James Herbert, those rats.
 

James_H

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My sister had two siberian dwarf hamsters, one of which ate the other.
 

sisiphus

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Perhaps the Russian Hamsters are running some sort of vice ring for the Syrians?
 

McAvennie

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Hamsters rule!

I've had a pet hamster since about 1987, obviously not the same one, been through about 12 of them!

I'd suspect that if one did escape from a home it'd be killed of by predators or the weather fairly quickly and given that they only last about 2 years anyway they'd be a goner fairly quickly.

Plus, they would have to luck out and find another escaped one to mate with in order for any wild hamster population to develop.
 

PeniG

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I know nothing about hamsters, except that there seems to be an Evil Hamster Mastermind Meme going around.

Brain (of Pinky and) found his archnemesis in the rival evil genius Snowball, a hamster.

More obscurely, the ubervillain in the webcomic Fuzzy Knights is the evil plush hamster Hamaestra (who, among other things, murdered Santa and stole his bag; alas, this storyline is not archived conveniently and I couldn't link you to an example).

And currently (July 2006), over at Narbonic, Artie the Superintelligent and Occasionally Shapechanging Gerbil is attempting to talk the Hamster Conspiracy out of wiping out the human race except for a carefully-managed reserve population of non-mad geniuses to be located on Madagascar.

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenong ... pter=10366

So the question is - what exactly do the cartoonists know that the rest of us do not?
 

FelixAntonius

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TheQuixote said:
......Does anyone local to Burnt Oak remember the incident from the 80s or indeed have any other info on it??

I was working just down the road, in Brent, when the hamster story first hit the news, it made it as far as London regonal TV.

The houses with a hamster "problem" were council houses, built with a outside layer of rough cut timber cladding, which meant that the creatures could live between this & the inside wall, in the insulation.

There was also a claim that some people thought the hamsters were so cute they released them from traps or stole the traps themselves!!!!!
 

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Hamster Horror - Superhamster feared screamed the headlines. At Burnt Oak, Hamsters were taking over. Some terrified residents had to be moved from their homes as hordes of these small, normally timorous creatures infested the council estate at Hook Walk. Hamster shields were set up to protect houses, especially around television aerial lines which the animals used as routes up walls and into bedrooms. One resident, with his son, aged 15, told reporters that they had trapped and killed nearly 200. The council was besieged with complaints.
Hmmm. This does sound odd to me, especially the bit about the hamsters scaling walls via telephone lines. I kept hamsters in my girlhood years, as did any self- respecting eleven year old girl- calling them a silly gooey name was pretty much compulsory.
But one thing hamsters are shite at is climbing; they easily lose their footing and tumble arse over tit like a little round croquet ball. Even the hamster care book I had described them as being "sturdy creatures, built like little tables- a short leg at each corner, not designed for climbing but for tunnelling".
As for trapping and killing over 200, why didn't he take them alive to the pet shop and make a fortune?!
"I bought a female hamster from your shop and look what's happened!"
All a bit silly to my mind :)
 

OldTimeRadio

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gncxx said:
The usual excuse for seeing big cats in Britain is that they're escaped pets, or from circuses....

In the US and Canada, too.

Skeptics postulate more careless circuses prowling the back roads of North America than exist in the complete ouvre of Ray Bradbury.

And zoos, too. It's obvious that many Skeptics must believe that professional zoo-keepers let the lions and tigers out at night to feed on the passersby. it keeps expenses way down.
 

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Hamster Life Expectancy?

McAvennie_ said:
I've had a pet hamster since about 1987, obviously not the same one, been through about 12 of them!

Am I correct that the life expectancy of a hamster is about two years?
 
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