Hamsters in the city: A study on the behaviour of a population of common hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) in urban environment

Autoři: Anna Flamand aff001;  Nancy Rebout aff002;  Camille Bordes aff003;  Lauréline Guinnefollau aff004;  Matthieu Bergès aff005;  Fanny Ajak aff004;  Carina Siutz aff006;  Eva Millesi aff006;  Christiane Weber aff007;  Odile Petit aff002
Působiště autorů: Laboratoire Image Ville Environnement, UMR 7362, Faculté de Géographie et de l’aménagement, Strasbourg, France aff001;  Cognitive and Social Ethology Group, UMR Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, CNRS, IFCE, INRA, Université de Tours, Nouzilly, France aff002;  Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, Castanet-Tolosan Cedex, France aff003;  IPHC- DEPE, UMR 7178, Université de Strasbourg-CNRS, Strasbourg Cedex 2, France aff004;  Université de Tours, Tours Cedex 1, France aff005;  Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse, Vienna, Austria aff006;  TETIS CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France aff007
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225347


Animals in urban environments face challenging situations and have to cope with human activities. This study investigated the ecology and behaviour of a population of European hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) living in the city centre of Vienna (Austria). We recorded the surface activities of 35 hamsters in May 2015. Each focal animal was observed for 15 minutes, and a total of 66 focal samples were analysable. As a prey species in an environment teeming with human activities, we predicted a high level of vigilance by the hamsters. The results show that while animals dedicated a lot of time to vigilance, most of their time was spent foraging. The study also explores whether the frequency of vigilance behaviours differ between males and females. We found that vigilance behaviours were expressed in a different manner by males and females. Finally, we investigated the distribution of the burrows on green spaces depending on proximity to trees and on noise levels. We found a biased distribution of burrows, with a spatial preference for location protected by the vegetation and distant to noise sources. Although burrows were located preferentially under vegetation cover, levels of noise did not determine their positions. Moreover, this species does not respond to disturbances like daily urban noises, probably due to habituation. The common hamster is an endangered species; our results lead to a greater knowledge of its behaviour in a persistent urban population.

Klíčová slova:

Animal behavior – Behavior – Biological locomotion – Foraging – Hamsters – Predation – Urban areas – Urban environments


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