It is important for animals to adapt to changes in food availability in order to survive. Hoarding is one method of accomplishing this and the golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is particularly adept at hoarding. Previous literature suggests a connection between hoarding and stress. To further examine this connection, the present study looked at the effects of illumination and food deprivation on the hoarding behavior of male golden hamsters. The within-subjects design allowed each of the 12 subjects to be tested in each of the 4 conditions: 1) illumination and food deprivation, 2) illumination and no food deprivation, 3) food deprivation and no illumination, and 4) no illumination and no food deprivation. The results show 3 significant findings: 1) hamsters moved less food when food deprived than when not food deprived, 2) hamsters ate more food when food deprived than when not food deprived, and 3) there were fewer droppings in the foraging cage when illumination was present than when it was absent. These findings were opposite of those suggested by previous literature, thus providing more questions than answers about the hoarding behavior of the golden hamster.
Smith '02, Erin, "Illumination and Food Deprivation as Determinants for Hoarding in Golden Hampsters" (2002). Honors Projects. Paper 35.