Hamster in Turkey

Does anyone know what Hamster species this might be? Or indeed is it a hamster at all? Photographed in Southwestern Turkey at around 1000m in saline steppe. Colonial. Doesn’t seem to have the dark markings I would associate with brandti the hamster generally known from this area

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Ian Greentours


  • JanEbr

    Grey Dwarf Hamster I guess. There is really no other rodent I know in Turkey that would even remotely fit.

  • Tim Meschke

    This is clearly a vole, but I’m not that knowledgeable about the species occurring there. Maybe something like Microtus socialis/guentheri.

  • vnsankar

    I don’t think this is a hamster at all. Looks like one of the Microtus voles that occur in steppes throughout the Irano-Anatolian plateau. Cricetulus migratorius (Gray Dwarf Hamster) is nocturnal and grayish, with smaller ears.

  • Ian Greentours

    Thanks everyone. I think I need someone to help me on the external differences between hamsters and voles? Any help there please. Looking at the field guides again I can see the ears look larger and differently placed on the head in Mesocricetus and this therefore does look more vole like. Would the sharpness of differentiation between the paler underbody and the rest of the fur be a help. Any pointers gratefully received. The animals were living in a very large colony so that points also to one of the Social Voles – guentheri? Grey Dwarf Hamsters are not social as far as read.

  • JanEbr

    Haha I would never guess that this is a Microtus, the snout is completely out of place for me. But I always ever see them from the top! Social Vole is a good suggestive common name, but as far as I know, more different Microtuses are colonial in Turkey. They are a nightmare to ID and their ranges heavily overlap, I have several down as “it’s this or that”.

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