How Do Wild Hamsters Live?

A surprisingly robust creature.

At home, our darling, pet hamsters let us pamper them. But in nature, wild hamsters thrive in the roughest terrains, temperatures, and food shortages. Their innate adaptability and habits allow them to survive in nature!

Many of the pet hamsters are native to countries like Russia, China, and Syria. These locations vary widely in terrain, from grassy steppes, to clay soil, sandy desserts, and rocky grounds. The natural resources play a paramount role in what a hamster needs to do to survive in the wilds.


Temperatures in these locations can range from 60° F/16° C to extreme lows -5° F/ -25° C. To survive, hamsters build excellent burrows with their strong forefeet. Their burrows may be 3 ft./1 m deep on rocky terrains and up to 6 ft./183 cm for softer ground.

If you ever wondered why your hamster loves to dig and stay under a hideout, it's their survival instinct at work.

Some Hamsters Survive in Desert Lands

wild hamsters in desert land


There are many predators such as weasels, owls, and foxes who can easily overpower a poor hamster. Hamsters have poor eye sight. They use their sense of smell and whiskers to quickly navigate miles away from their burrows. They are far sighted to watch for predators.

When chased down their burrows, hamsters would often have an escape route built in! And if snatched from behind, hamsters can still turn their body back and bite the predator. Their loose, pouches allow for this maneuver.


In winter times when the temperature drop is freezing, some hamsters will hibernate. Others may just sleep more than usual. If you find your hamster sleeping in more than usual in winter, don't be too alarmed.

Nocturnal. Running. Hoarding.

Ever wonder why your hamster loves running on the wheel? Wild hamsters wake up at night to look for food. They will routinely run miles away from their burrows. When they do find food, they carry it with their cheek pouches to store at their burrows. Hamsters love hoarding food afterall.

Their diet consists of seeds, vegetation, and insects. Because food and water may be scarce, hamsters will eat their own feces to absorb more nutrients. Their urine is also condense because their bodies try to retain as much moisture as they can.

This may sound pretty gross. But if you do see your hamster reingesting their feces, know it's a survival mechanism.


These facts about hamsters shows how amazing they can be in tough conditions. It also explains why hamsters love waking up at night, hoarding food, burrowing in bedding, eating feces, and other hamster habits Next time you hamster acts silly, you'll get a better idea why!

Top Questions:

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