Distribution and current status of Cricetulus migratorius (Mammalia: Cricetidae) in Bulgaria, with comments on its status in the Balkans


Abstract: During the last decade I collected extensive new information about the distribution of the Grey hamster (Cricetulus migratorius) in Bulgaria, mainly through the study of pellets of birds of prey and owls. New data about the dental morphology and morphometrics, distribution, and current status of the Grey hamster in Bulgaria are presented. The Grey hamster has been found in the diet of the Barn owl (Tyto alba), Little owl (Athene noctua), and Eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca). It contributed a negligible part of the studied pellets: only 0.06% of individuals from 27,449 small mammals. The presence of the species was confirmed only in south-eastern Bulgaria, while in northern Bulgaria the species went extinct. The species' distribution in the Balkans is discussed.

Keywords: Grey hamster, morphology, birds of prey, owls, distribution

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