The Eversmann's Hamster
The Kazakh hamster
Species: allocricetulus eversmanni
The Eversmann’s hamster is endemic to the central and northern parts of Kazakhstan, as well as to the areas along the Volga and the Lena rivers in Russia. They can be found in the steppes and sometimes in the outskirts of agricultural areas. They dig burrows that consist of one main tunnel and a nest chamber. In some Russian regions the Eversmann’s hamster is considered to be an endangered species. The species got its name after a famous Russian scientist and traveler Edouard Eversmann.
The Eversmann’s hamster is a bit bigger than the common house mouse: its body reaches 13 – 16 cm in length and the tail measures to additional 2-3 cm. Te tail is thick and is covered by soft fur. The legs are short. The back can be reddish, sandy yellow or black and white. The belly is always white which makes a sharp contrast with the color of the upper body. The legs are also white. The coat is very soft, velvet-like to the touch. On the chest there is a red or brown spot. The snout is sharpened, the ears are small with rounded tips.
Eversmann’s hamsters are not aggressive, they bite very rarely. They are territorial and adult specimens will constantly fight with each other for what they consider to be their area. They are active at dusk and at night. In October they hibernate, though the hibernation is often interrupted. Hamsters that live in the southern part of the habitat may not hibernate at all.
The Eversmann’s hamster feel quite comfortable in captivity. They need the same type of husbandry as the Djungarian hamster. It should be kept in a cage at least 50x30 cm, so that the rodent will have plenty of space to run.
It is strongly recommended to buy a house for your rodent (preferably made of wood or clay). It has to be spacious: the hamster has to be able to enter it with full cheek pouches. The house should have plenty of space for food storage.
It is best to use a ceramic food bowl since it is heavy and cannot be turned over. The hamster will also need a special water bottle with nozzle. Some people believe that rodents don’t need drinking water, but this is not true. The water has to be changed at least twice a week.
Your pet will also need an exercise wheel. Hamsters are very active, so a wheel and a ladder are essential in order for them to maintain their physical activity. In order for the hamster to grind its teeth, put in the cage a special mineral block for rodents.
You can also put in a special bowl with sand for the hamster to bathe in.
For bedding it is best to use wood cuttings. The room where the hamsters are kept has to be well ventilated. They cannot stand bright light, since they are most active in the evening and at night. So on sunny days it is recommended to put a piece of cloth on the cage.
Hamsters are very neat and hardly smell. You will need to clean the cage every third day.
Hamsters are omnivore, so they are quite easy to feed. In captivity they eat grains and seeds, cereals, bread. They can eat herbs, hay and fruit in moderate amounts. Also you can give the, lean cooked meat and insects for protein.
Hamsters are prone to overeating. They can suffer from allergic reactions to citrus fruit. It is a nocturnal species.
The most common diseases among hamsters are respiratory infections, flu, teeth problems, eye and skin diseases, digestive system disorders, tumors.