The European Hamster, Cricetus cricetus, also known as the Black-bellied Hamster or Common Hamster, is a species of hamster native to Europe. It is typically found in low-lying farmland with soft loam or loess soils, although 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 Belgium (e.g. Bertem with a thriving population) and Alsace in the west, to Russia in the east, and Romania in the south.

European hamsters are much larger than the Syrian hamsters or dwarf hamsters commonly kept as pets, being around 10-15 cm longer than guinea pigs.

In captivity, the European hamster has an unusually long life span, living up to eight years. They are very rarely kept as pets and have been known to attack large dogs if they feel threatened.

In 2007 the European Commission threatened to fine France €17m for failing to protect the last remaining colony of the Black-bellied Hamster in Western Europe[1].

The European Hamster, or Common Hamster, weighs 4-32 oz. and can grow to 8-14 inches long with a tail of 1-2 inches. They reach sexual maturity at 43 days old and breed through early April to August. The Common Hamster has a gestation of 18-20 days, gives birth to 4-12 and weans for 3 weeks after birth.

The Common Hamster lives solitarily but in a complex burrow system. It eats seeds, legumes, rooted vegetables, and grasses. There are 24 species of hamsters.