Turkish Hamster (Mesocricetus brandti)


Hamster with Vegetables
mordilla-net / Pixabay

The Turkish hamster, scientifically known as Mesocricetus brandti, is a fascinating species of hamster native to Turkey, Armenia, and other surrounding nations. Also referred to as Brandt’s hamster, Azerbaijani hamster, or avurtlak, this species was first catalogued in 1878 and continues to captivate researchers and enthusiasts with its unique characteristics and behavior.


Golden fluffy Syrian hamster in hands of girl

The Turkish hamster possesses distinctive features that set it apart from other hamster species. It is known for its compact size, typically measuring around 5 to 7 inches in length. The species is recognized for its dense fur, which ranges in color from a rich golden-brown to a soft grey, often with a white underbelly. Its large, dark eyes and relatively short, furry tail contribute to its endearing appearance.


Cute hamster in a plastic clear ball
Monika / Adobe Stock

The Turkish hamster is primarily found in Turkey, Armenia, and the surrounding regions, including parts of Azerbaijan. It inhabits a range of habitats within these countries, demonstrating adaptability to various environmental conditions. Notable patterns in its population density include its presence in dry open steppe habitats at elevations ranging from 1000 to 2200 meters above sea level.

Habitat Preferences

The Turkish hamster thrives in warm, dry areas where it can burrow, run, and hoard food. It is adaptable and has been observed living in scrublands, sand dunes, and other similar environments. These ecosystems provide the necessary resources for the species to fulfill its biological needs, ensuring its survival and well-being.

As a conservation scientist with a passion for wildlife, it is crucial to continue studying and protecting the Turkish hamster and its habitat to ensure the preservation of this remarkable species for future generations.

Facts About Turkish hamster

  1. The average lifespan of the Turkish hamster is around 2-3 years (source: World Species).
  2. Turkish hamsters are primarily herbivorous, with a diet consisting of seeds, fruits, and some endothermic matter (source: World Species).
  3. They are native to Turkey and are also known as Brandt’s hamster or Azerbaijani hamster (source: iNaturalist).
  4. Turkish hamsters are solitary animals and are known for their burrowing behavior (source: Animalia.bio).
  5. The birth weight of a Turkish hamster is approximately 2 grams, and the adult weight is around 174 grams (source: World Species).
  6. Hibernation can increase the average lifespan of Turkish hamsters, with some individuals living up to 4.4 years (source: Genomics Senescence).
  7. Turkish hamsters have been studied in laboratory settings for various research purposes (source: Archive.org).
  8. The genetic structure of the Turkish hamster has been examined through the analysis of partial mitochondrial sequences (source: ScienceDirect).
  9. Turkish hamsters have a distinct natural population structure, contributing to their genetic diversity (source: ScienceDirect).
  10. Turkish hamsters are closely related to Mesocricetus newtoni, also known as the Romanian hamster (source: ScienceDirect).

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