How to Maintain a Syrian Hamster as a Pet

One of the most common selections for tiny pets is the Syrian hamster, sometimes referred to as the golden hamster. It's a great pet for novices because it's generally low-maintenance, entertaining to watch, and easy to tame. These hamsters are native to the desert parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria. Most have a lighter belly and are golden brown. However, a number of variants in color, pattern, or hair length have been created by selective breeding. Due to their widespread popularity as pets, most pet stores carry diets designed specifically for Syrian hamsters. Additionally, their home is rather easy to put up and maintain, and it doesn't take up a lot of room.

The Temperament or Behaviour of Syrian Hamsters

Syrian Hamster

Syrian hamsters are active at night and sleep during the day. Even though they are mostly peaceful companions, if you keep them in your bedroom, their nocturnal antics may keep you up at night.

A rodent that is a member of the Cricetinae hamster subfamily is the golden hamster, often known as the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). Due to intentional human elimination and habitat loss from agriculture, their numbers in the wild have been dropping. The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently classifies wild golden hamsters as endangered. 

The majority of the subfamily's species, including the golden hamster, have expanding cheek pouches that reach from their cheeks to their shoulders. In the wild, hamsters are hoarders of food; they carry food to their burrows with their cheek pouches. 

Since Syrian hamsters are a solitary animal, they are frequently attacked by one another and are fiercely territorial. A female may still attack a man after mating, though exceptions do happen occasionally, generally while a female and male engage if the female has reached heat. After four weeks, when they sexually develop at five weeks, newborns raised in captivity are taken from their mother and given sexual freedom. Siblings of the same sex can coexist until roughly eight weeks of age, at which point they become territorial and may even fight to the death. Female golden hamsters are notorious for committing infanticide. Because they interpret any alien scent as a threat, they may kill and consume healthy young in captivity as a result of the pups associating with humans. In the wild, females consume their dead young as well.

Syrian hamsters do not always develop a strong relationship with their owners as pets. However, if you are around, they frequently approach the edge of their enclosure, and many of them will take pleasure in relaxing in their hands or on their shoulders. 

You should budget a few hours per week for feeding and upkeep of your hamster's environment. After that, all you need to do to keep your hamster tame is make sure you set aside some time every day to interact with it.

Details of Size

Golden Hamster

In adulthood, golden hamsters (Syrian hamsters) grow to a maximum length of 7.1 inches (18 cm). At 100–150 grams (3.5–5.3 oz) in body mass and a 1.5–2 year lifetime, females are typically larger than males. 


Golden Hamster

The calm, curious, cute, and petite size of golden hamsters makes them appealing house pets. But in order to ensure their health, these animals have some unique needs that must be satisfied. In addition to being a good size, cages should be secure, cosy, and engaging. A hamster needs extra stimulation or a bigger cage if it is gnawing on the bars of its enclosure or climbing on them all the time. A hamster cage should have a continuous floor area of at least 775 square inches, or 5,000 cm2.

One typical form of environmental enrichment is a hamster wheel, which is why it's crucial that hamsters have one in their cage. TVT suggests that wheels for Syrian hamsters should have a minimum diameter of 30 cm, as smaller sizes can result in chronic spinal curvatures, particularly in juvenile animals. Additionally, they advise against bumblefooting or jogging on surfaces with rungs or netting because they can result in damage. It should be possible for a hamster to run on its wheel without straining its back. A hamster with back pain and spine issues may be forced to run with an arched back. Given that they are active and require room to exercise, a range of toys as well as cardboard tubes and boxes might aid in providing enrichment.

Unique Substrate Requirements

Golden Hamster

The RSPCA advises against giving hamsters "fluffy" bedding items like cotton, wool, or other materials that break into tiny strands for use as nesting materials. They could entangle or ingest them, which puts their health and welfare at grave risk. For years, people have disregarded this warning, and some manufacturers have even gone so far as to declare their products to be safe! Numerous public testimonies allege that their pet's damage or death was brought on by fluffy bedding. According to one explanation, the tiny fibres cling to the inside of hamsters' cheeks before being consumed. Naturally, the ingestion problem is invisible to the unaided eye, but recently, groundbreaking research has emerged.

What foods and drinks do Syrian hamsters eat?

Golden Hamster

Feed nuts, grains, and seeds to your Syrian hamster along with fruits and vegetables like pears, apples, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. As omnivores, Syrian hamsters can also benefit from an extra protein boost by occasionally receiving a hardboiled egg and feeder bug. Generally speaking, the additional foods should not account for more than 10% of the hamster's total diet if you use a commercial food blend. But, as this might vary depending on age and size, speak with your veterinarian about the ideal amount and type of food to feed.

Always keep a dry food bowl inside the enclosure, and after a day, throw away any food that hasn't been consumed. Generally speaking, hamsters enjoy grazing; they store food in the cheek pouches to be used at a later time. It's possible that your hamster will occasionally wake up for food and then return to sleep. When the hamster is ready to eat in the evening, while it is waking up after a long sleep, it is usually better to serve fresh foods in a separate dish. After a few hours, remove any uneaten fresh food to prevent spoilage.

In addition, make sure your hamster has access to fresh water every day. Water bottles are a popular choice because they are simple to maintain and hygienic. However, until the pet learns how to drink from the bottle, you may substitute a shallow dish filled with water.

Training the Syrian Hamster

Syrian Hamster

The majority of people start their hamsters with hand-taming as their main form of training. Starting early is the best way to ensure that the hamster becomes used to being around people. When handling the hamster, sit on the ground in a safe location because even a small fall over a few feet might cause injury. The hamster will appreciate sitting in its hands more if you hold a favorite treat for it. Replace it in its cage if it appears stressed.


Syrian Hamster

The hamster ought to be able to stay in shape with the help of an exercise hamster wheel and a roomy enough habitat. In order to avoid obesity and other health problems, exercise is essential. Hamsters are active and require room to exercise; a range of toys as well as cardboard tubes and boxes might aid in providing enrichment.


Golden Hamster

Self-grooming hamsters are relatively clean creatures. For baths, they do not require water. You can assist them in removing any dirt or debris that may become lodged in their fur by gently massaging the affected region with a moist towel.

Maintenance Expenses

Syrian Hamster

The biggest expenses you will incur each month for a hamster are food or bedding. Depending on the style of bedding you select as well as the enclosure's size, budget between $20 and $40. After that, you may need to swap out chew blocks, nesting sites, and various other enclosure contents from time to time. You should also account for the cost of emergency medical care as well as a yearly veterinarian checkup.

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