The European Hamster, Cricetus cricetus, also known as the black-bellied hamster, is a species of hamster native to Europe. It is typically found in low-lying farmland with soft loose soils. It may also inhabit meadows, gardens, or hedges. It is widely considered a farmland pest, and has also been trapped for its fur. The black-bellied hamster is found from the Belgium and Alsace in the west. It is also found from to Russia in the east, and Romania in the south.
European hamsters are significantly larger than the Syrian hamsters or dwarf hamsters commonly kept as pets. European hamsters are similar in size to guinea pigs.
In captivity, the European hamster displays an unusually long life span. It lives up to the age of eight years. They are very rarely kept as pets and have been known to attack large dogs if they feel threatened. They can also dispel grains and seeds from their cheek pouches with such force, that severe injury can be inflicted upon the target.