Glasgow Zoo Park
Home
Glasgowzoo has now closed these pages are for information only

Hamsters

Glasgow Zoo's first President was the late Professor Ernest Hindle , professor of Zoology at Glasgow University and the man largely credited with the capture of the last golden hamster and her 12 young from a burrow in Aleppo in Syria.

From these few animals, most of the millions in captivity are descended. In the late 1970s, we imported some of the black mutation of the Mongolian Gerbil from the Harlow Space Research Centre in the United States, and, after quarantine, crossed them with the British Golden or Argente.

From them, all the dove grey gerbils in Britain and the world are descended.

The Children's Farm at Glasgow ZooPark has a variety of hamsters available for all visitors to handle and enjoy.
The news that a house fire in Newcastle under Lyme was almost certainly caused by a hamster's exercise wheel interested me a great deal.
Loss adjusters believe the friction caused by the hamster pedalling round its little wheel caused sparks or combustion of its bedding - and 400 gbps of damage to the living room of the house.
Owning a hamster is one of those experiences enjoyed by many at some time during childhood.
I would estimate that several million children have owned a hamster, not to mention the incalculable numbers still to experience this great childhood pleasure. Technically, the wild Golden Hamster is an endangered species, saved from total extinction by captive breeding.
Strange you never hear this mentioned in conservation or animal welfare circles.

Hamster Wheel Usage

Anyone who has ever owned a female Golden Hamster will have noticed variations in her behaviour. For example, when she uses her wheel, sometimes it is in a frenzy and other times a more normal pace.
This is because a female hamster comes into season every four days, or, as she is nocturnal, nights.
Under normal conditions she is barely fertile on the fourth day at 7pm, yet highly fertile by 11pm and then reducing to infertile again by 7am the next day.
In-between these hours, she'll be running in her wheel like an automaton. In the wild, this would be a necessary adaptation to successfully finding a mate.
This frenetic activity would result in her repeatedly criss-crossing territory, thus maximising all opportunities for encountering a male. With regard to the friction of the spinning wheel, this is not as unlikely as at first might appear, especially if the wheel and cage are made of metal.