Film: 9866

Natural History | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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Hamsters in the wild, mating habits etc 1950's

Deer grazing peacefully on the plains, several lying down to rest. Rabbits playing in the grass, nibbling at strands and conflicting with each other. A hamster emerges from a burrow surrounded by dirt and grass, close up of the animal. Male hamster rolls around in the grass marking his territory to warn away others. Another stands on their hind feet outside the burrow. The male finishes marking his territory and scampers off. Female hamster making her way across the terrain is followed closely by a potential mate, she sniffs around and turns back to him, they face each other for a few moments before she proceeds to bite him and he moves away. Shot of an alert hare who appears to have noticed something. The pair return to each other and the male patiently follows the female, they both stand on their back legs and make contact with each other, she proceeds to lead him back to her burrow. She digs out a covered up entrance without the males help. The male returns to her burrow and she is waiting just inside for him, he then moves away. Scenes to show the tunnels of a burrow and how long they are before getting to where the hamster will sleep. Close up of the male going down the tunnel to meet the female. She doesn't seem keen on having him there and moves away from him when he gets close to her. She bites him again and starts to groom herself. He moves into another section of the home and rubs up against the walls, leaving his scent there. He continues to follow her around but she still shows no interest. Farmer's wheat field is shown. Skylark flying down from the sky into the field. She appears to have made a nest amongst the wheat and tends to the babies inside it, feeding them. The hamster goes down into her home where there is a litter in a nest. She feeds her young and covers them with bedding to keep them warm, she carefully breaks up the straw to make a warm bed. The mother covers her young and makes her way back up to the surface. A young deer is waiting in the shrubbery appears to notice the movements of the hamster, she ignores the deer and proceeds to move off in another direction. Close up of the skylark sitting on her nest, she appears uneasy. The mother hamster stands on her back legs taking in her surroundings, she then moves off. The skylark leaves her nest and flies up into the air hovering and flapping her wings rapidly. The hamster continues to forage before coming to some clover. A baby hamster leaves the nest and makes his way into the storage, he eats and returns back to the nest. The hamster continues to eat away at the clover. 2 weasels stand to attention, they appear to have noticed something. A hawk is shown at a distance flying through the air. A weasel appears to call as though warning the others of the hawk’s presence. Hawk hovers overhead. The hamster is also aware of what is going on and makes a break for her burrow. She travels down the tunnels into her nest, she checks that her babies are okay, she moves down into the storage section and retrieves a baby that has made his way down there and returns him to the nest, she does this for the remaining baby too. Close up of the babies feeding, with one pushing his way in to get a feed amongst his siblings. A wheat field blowing in the wind with a shed in the middle, surrounded by trees. A close up of the wheat blowing around is shown. A rolling shot is then given of the wheat. The mother hamster emerges from her home and moves off across the field, nibbling at vegetation. One baby exits the burrow and joins her mum in collecting food for storage, they return back into the burrow. They are shown moving back along the passages and mum removes the food from her pouches. She grooms herself once back in her nest surrounded by the babies. A baby starts to make its way out of the nest. A sped up scene of the litter asleep shows them moving slightly and nibbling, most lay on their backs. The young are much more adventurous now and are moving about the burrow, they appear to be very inquisitive. The mother returns to the field and collects more food which she stores in her pouches. She returns down the tunnel and removes the food into the nest, the babies are quickly attracted to the food and begin to eat. The babies are keen to follow their mother up into the field to explore their surroundings, some appear more cautious than others. The earth moves and a mole appears, sniffing and making his way along the surface. Close up of the hamster. The mole shoots back underground backwards. An earthworm appears from under the soil and quickly disappears again. The mole is shown underground, he has caught the worm and is eating it. A baby hamster emerges from the burrow and takes a look around. A weasel pokes his head up from amongst a selection of rocks, he looks around his surroundings and scurries off. The weasel finds the hamsters burrow and makes his way inside, he gets to the nest and the mother attempts to defend her nest and gets into a fight with the weasel. The grain has now been harvested from the field, the hamster can now be easily seen and is foraging around the ground looking for any remaining food, she nibbles at some wheat that has been left behind. Another hamster is also looking for food and the 2 get into a fight. Another shot of the remaining wheat being eaten. The two hamsters continue to fight. Another shot of wheat being eaten. The mother hamster continues to fill her pouches with food before returning to her home. More foraging takes place amongst the remaining wheat and the hamster disappears down a hole, filling up the entrance with dirt once inside. The hamster makes its way down to the nest and settles herself down for hibernation.

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