Mouse-like hamster

Mouse-like hamsters are a group of small rodents found in Syria, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. They are found in rocky outcrops and semi-mountainous areas in desert regions.

Mouse-like hamsters
Temporal range: Late Miocene–Recent
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Calomyscidae
Vorontsov & Potapova, 1979
Genus: Calomyscus
Thomas, 1905
Type species
Calomyscus bailwardi

Calomyscus bailwardi
Calomyscus baluchi
Calomyscus elburzensis
Calomyscus grandis
Calomyscus hotsoni
Calomyscus mystax
Calomyscus tsolovi
Calomyscus urartensis

Mouse-like hamster using its tail for balance while standing on a branch (a feat difficult for hamsters)

The mouse-like hamsters are not true hamsters, but represent an early split from the rest of the mouse-like rodents. They were once thought to be hamsters based on the shape of their molars, but they lack the cheek pouches, flank glands and short tails of the true hamsters. The closest relatives of the mouse-like hamsters may be the extinct Cricetodontidae. Because of their seemingly early break from the rest of the mouse-like rodents, mouse-like hamsters have been placed in a family of their own, Calomyscidae, and have been referred to as living fossils.

All members of the genus were once considered part of the same species, Calomyscus bailwardi, but the two are now referred to as separate species due to major differences in chromosome number, skull measurements, and other features.[1]

In Europe, a species of Calomyscus is available as a pet. They are labelled Calomyscus bailwardi mystax or Calomyscus bailwardi. They are generally only available from dedicated breeders, not pet shops.


Family Calomyscidae


  1. ^ Steppan, S. J., R. A. Adkins, and J. Anderson. 2004. Phylogeny and divergence date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes. Systematic Biology, 53:533-553.
  • Jansa, S. A. and M. Weksler. 2004. Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 31:256-276.
  • Michaux, J., A. Reyes, and F. Catzeflis. 2001. Evolutionary history of the most speciose mammals: molecular phylogeny of muroid rodents. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17:280-293.
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. pp. 894–1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

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