Facts about Syrian Hamsters, "Scientific name for Syrian Hamster is Mesocricetus auratus". Syrian Hamsters are more commonly known as the golden hamster. Syrian Hamsters are one of the most commonly kept hamsters in the world.
Appearance of Syrian Hamster
Syrian Hamsters have rich gold or golden brown fur. Other colors of the Syrian Hamster are cream, blonde, white, black, gray, banded, and a multi-shaded color. Long haired or agora hamsters have been bred; they have much longer, velvety hair than most Syrian Hamsters.
Adult Syrian Hamsters are five to seven inches long. Syrian Hamsters have large eyes, tulip shaped ears, and a somewhat rounded body.
Syrian Hamsters live two to three years in captivity. Syrian Hamsters are mature in only a month and have pregnancies of only sixteen days, the shortest pregnancy of any known mammal. Syrian Hamsters have litters of eight to ten babies on average.
Behavior of Syrian Hamster
Syrian Hamsters are territorial and don’t tolerate each other. Even siblings that grew up together may attack each other. Separate the babies from the mother after a few weeks; siblings of the same gender can stay together as long as two months before fighting each other. Females will even attack a male except when in heat. This is why Syrian Hamsters should be housed individually.
Young mothers and those who are stressed, such as lacking in food, may eat some or all of their young. When the Syrian Hamster has had babies, don’t let your children pick her up and play with the pups until they start exploring on their own. Mothers may kill young that have taken on the smell of the humans who handled them. Syrian Hamsters will also eat dead young.
Syrian Hamsters will hoard food if they have a lot of it. However, in the wild, Syrian Hamsters sort through the food and eradicate that which is rotting or moldy.
Syrian Hamsters are inquisitive and cute. However, they will bite if trapped or handled too much.
Care and Raising of Syrian Hamster
Syrian Hamsters, like mice, enjoy running in a hamster wheel. They prefer large hamster wheels over smaller ones. Be careful with the type of wheel you give a long haired hamster; those with spokes or gaps in the wheel can cause the long fur to get tangled up in it.
The SPCA recommends cages that are at least 29” by 16” by 16” inces (73 by 40 by 40 cm). You can use a rat cage instead of a hamster cage if that is all that is available.
Syrian Hamsters prefer bedding material that lets them build nests, if nesting material is not available.
Give Syrian Hamsters a lot of chew toys and things they can chew into bedding like cardboard tubes to create bedding. Give them lots of space in the cage to explore and variety in the environment to prevent boredom. Be careful of plastic tubes; while these provide stimulation and a place for the hamster to explore, check to make sure the hamster is not growing so large that it won’t fit or sleeps in tubes that may not provide enough ventilation.
Long haired Syrian Hamsters need their fur brushed with a toothbrush every few days to prevent matting. Some Syrian Hamsters like to be brushed, while others will learn to like it if given a treat after the grooming. Short haired hamsters can groom themselves.
Trivia of Syrian Hamster
In the wild, the Syrian Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) is considered vulnerable though not endangered.
The species name means golden hamster in Greek.