Hamsters are rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae. The subfamily contains about 18 species, classified in six or seven genera. Because they are easy to breed in captivity, hamsters are often used as lab animals and kept as pets. The word is rather frequently misspelled as hampster . This may have been popularized by The Hampster Dance meme. Hamsters are stout-bodied, with tails much shorter than body length and have small, furry ears, short, stocky legs, and wide feet. Their thick, long fur can be black, gray, white, brown, buff, yellow, and red depending upon the species; underparts are white to shades of gray and black. The Dzhungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus) and the striped dwarf hamster (Cricetulus barabensis) have a dark stripe down the middle of the back. Dwarf desert hamsters (genus Phodopus) are smallest, with bodies 5 to 10 cm (about 2 to 4 inches) long; the largest is the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus), measuring up to 34 cm long, not including a short tail of up to 6 cm. As hamsters have live birth (i.e. do not lay eggs) and give milk, they are considered mammals.
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