Golden Hamsters live in arid
or semiarid areas in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. They
have a compact, rounded body with short legs, thick fur and large
ears. Their front paws are modified hands, giving great dexterity
when handling food. Hamsters are mainly herbivorous, eating
seeds, shoots and root vegetables.
Cheek pouches, consisting of
loose folds of skin, start from between the prominent incisors
and premolars and extend along the outside of the lower jaw.
These pouches expand when food is pushed into them, enabling
hamsters to carry large quantities of food to their storage
chambers. This is a useful adaptation for an animal which lives
where food may occur irregularly but then in great abundance.