Caring for a Syrian Hamster – What You Should Know
Bringing home a new animal is always exciting. But if you’ve never owned a Syrian hamster before, you’re undoubtedly wondering how to care for them, whether they’re playful, and identifying their diet needs to make sure they live a healthy and happy life.
In this Syrian hamster care guide, we’ll cover all these points and more. If you’re nervous about caring for these beautiful mammals, we’ll ease your worries. Syrian hamsters are low-maintenance, so they’re an excellent fit for first-time pet owners.
What are the Origins of the Syrian Hamster?
It may not surprise you that the Syrian hamster originates in Syria, although you can also find them in southern Turkey. Sadly, these animals are vulnerable in the wild because of increased land clearing for agriculture and intentional human destruction.
However, you won’t notice this shortage if you step inside a pet store, given that domesticated breeding has been ongoing since Syrian hamsters first arrived in the United States in 1938.
During its domestication as a beloved family pet, the Syrian hamster has taken on several nicknames. Examples include:
● Golden Hamster
● Teddy Bear Hamster
● Fancy Hamster
● Short-haired Hamster
Although traditional Syrian hamsters have short hair, there are also long-haired varieties.. Scientists also created inbred Syrian hamsters, so hamsters today come in a wide variety of colors and fur coat styles.
Syrian Hamster Characteristics
Syrian hamsters are rodents, which isn’t a word that conjures up thoughts of cuteness for most people. However, take one look at a cute Syrian hamster, and you will understand why people rave about their adorable appearance.
What Colors do Syrian Hamsters Come in?
If you have your heart set on choosing a unique-looking hamster, here’s some good news: Syrian hamster colors run the gamut. Below are some of the coat colors these animals have:
● Golden brown
Syrian hamsters come in many patterned varieties with a near-endless combination of colors from above. So, you don’t have to worry about confusing one hamster for the other if you welcome more than one into your home.
How Much do They Weigh?
You won’t need to flex your muscles to hold hamsters. Syrian hamster weight typically ranges from four to seven ounces, with an average of five ounces. Keep in mind, though, that hamsters can easily get overweight if they do not exercise enough and have a diet that is too rich in fat and sugar.
How Big do They Grow?
Syrian hamsters are the largest of of all hamster breeds and can grow between five to nine inches long, which is twice as big as other breeds such as the Russian winter white or the Roborovski breeds.
Interestingly, you can expect female Syrian hamsters to grow larger than males, largely due to the fact that they need the strength to give birth to possibly hundreds of pups in a lifetime.
The Temperament of Syrian Hamsters
Syrian hamsters are an excellent fit for anyone having a busy schedule during the day because that’s when they will be sleeping. Therefore,they will be cranky and challenging to play with if you try pulling them out of their cage in day time.
But at night, Syrian hamster behavior changes, and they come alive by exploring their cage and running through any tunnels and wheels you give them. Needless to say, an excited Syrian hamster will do quite a bit of noise at night while the whole family is trying to rest, so you will need a special place for them to stay and expend their energy all night long.
Do Syrian Hamsters Bond With Humans?
Syrian hamsters have varying degrees of bonding with humans, as they are solitary creatures. So, they don’t crave love like certain domesticated animals. Nevertheless, if you handle your Syrian hamster with care, you can expect them to greet you at the entrance of their cage during their waking hours.
Below are some tips for ensuring your Syrian hamster develops a good temperament:
● Handle them frequently – roughly one hour every day if possible
● Never disturb them when they’re sleeping
● Use gentle movements
● Keep them away from other pets
Just like you’d react poorly if someone woke you up out of a deep sleep, Syrian hamsters often do the same. Therefore, the early morning and evening are ideal for interacting with them as that’s when they’ll have the best temperament.
A Syrian Hamster’s Diet
Syrian hamsters are omnivores, meaning they thrive off a combination of vegetarian and meat-based meals. The good news is that high-quality hamster blends at pet stores should provide all the nutrients that your hamster needs.
Let’s explore a hamster’s dietary needs in more detail.
Healthy Food is a Must
According to a study that analyzed wild Syrian hamsters burrowed eight feet deep in a city in Syria, these animals eat every two hours during their waking hours and a few times during their sleeping hours. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your hamster always has food in its food bowl.
Some of the foods that Syrian hamsters love to eat include:
● Eggs (hard-boiled)
● Insects (such as mealworms)
You can also supplement their diet with fresh food, including:
It’s important to remove any uneaten fresh food within 24 hours. Otherwise, it will get moldy and could cause health issues for your hamster, such as diarrhea and lethargy.
Syrian hamsters are natural hoarders. Therefore, it’s common to see them shove their cheeks full of less perishable foods, bringing them back to their nesting area to save for a rainy day.
They will stash the seeds and grains as a food reserve in several corners of the cage so you should make sure you live a little bit of that food left for them when you change their bedding. A Syrian hamster left without food reserve might soon become anxious and restless.
Dangerous Food Are To Be Avoided Entirely
Feeding your Syrian hamster food they shouldn’t have might spark serious health issues. Examples of food that can damage their health include:
● Citrus fruit
Syrian Hamsters’ Water Requirements
Males only drink about five milliliters of water a day while females can drink up to 14 milliliters. So even if you don’t exactly need to pull out a measuring tool, it’s better to offer your hamster too much water than not enough by means of a hamster water bottle.
Make sure it does not leak though, since wet bedding could trigger a cold or even some respiratory infection. Some hamsters do go through a learning period of figuring out how to use a water bottle, so you can entice a thirsty hamster by placing some peanut butter on the water bottle’s nozzle to help him figure out how and where to drink from.
Syrian hamsters are truly endearing creatures that will steal your heart in no time. They are cute but have a big personality, so be prepared for the unforeseeable when you take a hammy out of his cage!
These fragile little furries do have special requirements to thrive, so keeping in mind these reminders about their temperament and diet will ensure your hamster stays healthy during their – unfortunatley too short – life.