What Family Do Hamsters Come From?

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Although you might think your sweet pet hamster's only real family is your own, that isn't 100 percent true. These fluffy, tiny mammals are members of the Cricetidae family, which includes a wide array of muroid rodents.

What Family Hamsters Come From

The Cricetidae family is varied in terms of its species. This family includes a vast 681 species, according to the website for the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web. Under the Cricetidea umbrella are six subfamilies, including Cricetinae, the subfamily of hamsters.

Appearance

Cricetidae family members often resemble rats and mice in that they are usually small with big eyes, circular ears and conspicuous, long whiskers. Animals that are part of Cricetidae typically look very different from rodents in separate families -- beavers, squirrels and groundhogs, for example. However, species in Cricetidae also can look very different than one another. For example, muskrats often weigh close to 4 pounds -- significantly more than the rest of the gang.

Examples of Cricetidae Creatures

Some other animals in the massive Cricetidae family include Eurasian water voles, Brazilian shrew mice, meadow voles, silver mountain voles and Myers' grass mice. Your little pet hammie is certainly in good company, familywise.

Diverse Natural Habitats

Animals in Cricetidae are native to several environments. These include tundras, swamps, rainforests, meadows, fields, beaches, rugged mountains, brooks, deserts, forests, marshes and even large cities. Members of this family also inhabit a very wide range of climates, including environments that are frigid, humid and hot, damp or very dry. These rodents are versatile.

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