Hamster.-Size 8 X32 in.
HAMSTER, a European mammal of the order Rodentia, scientifically known as Cricetus frumentarius (or C. cicetus), and belonging to the mouse tribe, Muridae, in which it typifies the sub-family Cricetinae.
The burrow of the young hamster is only about a foot in depth, while that of the adult descends 4 or 5 ft.
The skin of the hamster is of some value, and its flesh is used as food.
Some of the poorer sorts of furs, such as hamster, marmot, Chinese goats and lambs, Tatar ponies, weasels, kaluga, various monkeys, antelopes, foxes, otters, jackals and others from the warmer zones, which until recently were neglected on account of their inferior quality of colour, by the better class of the trade, are now being deftly dressed or dyed in Europe and America, and good effects are produced, although the lack of quality when compared with the better furs from colder climates which possess full top hair, close underwool and supple leathers, is readily manifest.
All rodents, with the sole exception of the dormice, have a caecum, often of great length and sacculated,, as in hares, the water-rat and porcupines; and the long colon in some, as the hamster and water-rat, is spirally twisted upon itself near the commencement.
Besides these there are many useful, though commonplace, fur-bearing animals like mink, musquash, skunk, raccoon, opossum, hamster, rabbit, hares and moles, that thrive by depredations upon cultivated land.
Among the rodents the hamster and the field-mouse are a scourge to agriculture.