domestic hamster

All about the Syrian hamster

Among the large number of small animals that can be bred at home as pets, it is worth highlighting hamsters separately. Today in pet stores you can find a large number of different breeds of this rodent. The Syrian hamster is especially popular as a decorative pet, which stands out for its good immunity and unpretentiousness in care.


Mesocricetus auratus or the Middle Asian hamster is a fluffy rodent better known to everyone as the Syrian hamster. The individual belongs to the hamster family, stands out for its external attractiveness and intelligence, therefore it very often acts as a pet. This breed was bred by crossing two types of wild rodents that live in the East.

Animals were domesticated only at the end of the 19th century. Syrian hamsters are distinguished by their size, which significantly exceeds the similar parameters of decorative dwarf individuals. The body of an adult animal in length can reach 14-15 centimeters with a 1.5-centimeter tail. Its weight varies between 200-250 grams. It is noteworthy that this breed has more females than males, while males are inherently stocky in the body.

The animals are quite fluffy, their color can vary depending on the species, most often there are rodents with golden fur, but in pet stores you can see white, black and even gray hamsters. It is worth noting the structural features of the forelimbs of the Persian rodent – on the paws of the animal there are four full-fledged fingers. As for the hind legs, five small fingers with claws can be observed on them.

The hamster looks pretty funny due to the rounded muzzle and small ears. The peculiarities of the breed should also include the fact that rodents can be not only long-haired, but also short-haired with a thick coat of hair on the body. Animals have large pupils, in addition, rodents have symmetrical cheek pouches in which the animal prefers to store food supplies.

In the natural environment and in captivity, animals live about the same. As a rule, the life span of a golden hamster is 2-3 years. However, with home breeding, the life cycle of an individual will directly depend on the breeders and the living conditions of the pet. This breed is considered one of the best for breeding at home.

Such rodents can be kept even for small children, since the animals are distinguished by their docile disposition and the ability to learn and train. In addition, the Syrian hamster is not as nimble as other members of the family, and also fits easily in the palms.

The difference from other breeds of decorative rodents is the need to resettle animals in captivity one by one. When keeping even two individuals together, there is a possibility that they will cause serious injury to each other. Even if this does not happen, rodents in the same cage may experience serious psychological discomfort from the constant presence of another animal nearby.

Without risk to health and psyche, animals can be kept in the same cage until they reach the age of one and a half months. Like most rodents, Persian hamsters are animals that lead an active lifestyle exclusively at night. During the day, rodents usually sleep in their house.


The division into species in Syrian hamsters is based on the length of their hair. Today there are individuals with the following characteristic external features:

  • long-haired;
  • short haired rodents.

The first species is very often called Angora, since the animals show similarities with cats of the same breed. It is believed that this species was obtained artificially, therefore, it has low immunity.

The fur coat of these animals can be up to two centimeters long, which requires special care from the breeder. The second species will be less demanding in terms of care, but even the fact that such animals are classified as short-haired does not reduce their decorative appeal. There are also hairless Syrian rodents, which are the result of artificial selection. Furless animals were bred for those breeders who are allergic to animal fur.

In addition, the classification of the Near East rodents is based on the color of their coat.

  • Golden hamster. These are individuals with a reddish or even rusty coat color, in which blotches of a different color may be present only on the abdomen. The ears of such animals are gray.

  • Cream rodents. Unlike red, it is this color that is most in demand. The fur coat of the animal is monophonic, only the presence of some other shade is allowed on the stomach and ears.

  • White hamsters. In addition to the color of their coat, Syrian hamsters are distinguished by the red color of the pupils, as well as pink or gray ears. Such rodents are often referred to as albinos.

  • Gray rodents. The fur coat has a light smoky color, spots may be present on the abdomen. This animal sometimes has reddish spots around the eyes, which is considered normal.

  • Yellow hamsters. This category includes animals whose fur coat will have a color ranging from bright orange to yellow. This type of rodent was bred for decorative purposes with the help of humans.

  • Hamsters with honey coat color. These are yellow-brown individuals that are not able to transmit similar features of the breed to every cub. If a boy has such a color, then males born from him will not receive such a coat color. As for the female honey-colored individuals, they will transfer their qualities to the entire brood of hamsters.

  • Turtle animals. Individuals of different colors can be attributed to this type, the only condition is the presence of a pattern, stripes or spots on a fur coat. Sometimes it is possible to meet animals that have three primary coat colors.

  • Agouti hamsters. Such animals are distinguished by the uneven color of their coat. Color may vary from tips to roots.

How to choose a name?

There are a huge number of nicknames for hamsters, both for girls and boys. Among them you can pick up something creative and interesting. To solve this problem, you should be guided by the following tips:

  • a nickname for a pet should be chosen, agreeing on options with all family members in order to avoid disagreements;
  • it is best to name a rodent so that its nickname can be easily pronounced and remembered even by the smallest members of the family;
  • if there are several animals, it will be more correct to choose nicknames for them if they are radically different in sound from each other.

It is very important for the Syrian hamster to have a nickname as it will make it easier to tame and train it. You can base your choice on the color of the animal, and also study a little the names of this color or shade in different languages. Alternatively, a pet can be named after a cartoon character.

How to determine gender and age?

In Asiatic rodents, it will be possible to reliably determine the sex no earlier than a month after their birth. The determination of gender will be based on the placement of the genital and excretory organs on the body. As for the males, they will have visually distinguishable testes in the tail area. In addition, in males, the genital organ will be 1.5 centimeters away from the holes that remove waste products.

As for females, their cloaca and genitals will be placed almost close to each other. At the time of estrus in females, all organs will be moistened with mucus, and also noticeably increased in size, which will help determine their sex.

You can try to find out the sex of the animal by the presence of the mammary glands, which is sometimes somewhat difficult in light of the presence of a large amount of hair on the abdomen. For males, two pronounced nipples are the norm, when the female has twice as many of them. Based on the combination of the above signs, it is easy to distinguish a male hamster from a female.

Determination of age is an important point, especially when buying a pet. Experts conditionally divide rodents into three age groups:

  • young – less than one month old;
  • mature – from one to three months;
  • old individuals.

Young animals stand out for their modest size, it is not recommended to purchase such animals for breeders without experience, since specific care will be needed for the animals. And you should also refuse to buy old hamsters, they can be identified by faded fur, phlegmatic behavior. Optimal for the purchase will be animals related to mature individuals.

The mass of the animal will help determine the age of the individual. So, animals aged from one to three months will weigh in the region of 50-80 grams, old rodents gain weight up to 100-150 grams. However, such an indicator can be rather arbitrary, since the weight of the animal directly depends on care, nutrition and activity.

The most reliable characteristic in appearance, indicating the age of the Syrian hamster, is the hair near the ears and in the ear area. In young individuals, the coat of wool will be even and delicate to the touch. In older rodents, hairs may be completely absent.

Content Features

Hamsters can be kept in aquariums or cages. The second option is more convenient and popular. For a rodent, it is important to provide space and good bedding, since burrowing is a natural need for an animal. Paper, special filler, wood shavings can act as a substrate in the animal’s house.. The main thing is that the raw material is light and perfectly absorbs liquid.

Animals will also need material to build a nest. Paper cuts work well for this task.

The use of cotton wool, bandages and yarn should be abandoned, because in such raw materials the animal can become entangled and injure itself.

Inside the rodent house you will need to install a wheel. Unlike toys for dwarf hamsters, the Syrian will need a wheel with a diameter of at least 20 centimeters. As a rule, cages designed specifically for such pets already contain running wheels. In addition, the animals will be happy to spend time in a walking ball.

Water for the animal can be in a drinking bowl or in a bowl, containers with liquid should be washed regularly. If the water will stand in the bowl, then the container must be heavy so that the hamster does not turn it over. This nuance also applies to animal feed containers.

Another important point regarding the maintenance of a pet is the presence of wooden objects in the cage, on which hamsters can grind their teeth that grow throughout their lives.

In order for the Syrian hamster to live in captivity for as long as possible, it needs to provide a quality and balanced diet. So, for feeding, you can use specialized feed mixtures consisting of grains, seeds and nuts. For pregnant females, you need to take care of the proper protein content in the daily diet.

Hamsters are very fond of various delicacies, so animals can sometimes be pampered with them, especially as a reward if the breeder decides to train the pet.

Rodents can be given root crops, vegetables and fruits, but citrus fruits, exotic fruits, and overly acidic treats should be avoided. All food should be fresh, as hamsters like to store their food in their nests as supplies. All additional products must be washed without fail, those pieces that have lain in the cage for more than a day should be thrown away to prevent poisoning of the rodent. Syrian hamsters can be given once a week a boiled egg, cottage cheese, peanuts.

Since the animals are nocturnal and naturally shy, after acquiring them to a new place, they need to be accustomed gradually, not to make noise near the cage, and also not to expose the animal for show. From the transferred stress rodents bite and even faint.

With a hamster, you need to spend some time every day so that a shy pet gets used to its owner. If the animal is sleeping, then it is not recommended to wake it up, and you should not forcefully pull the hamster out of the nest.

Hamster houses do not smell if they are cleaned regularly. As a rule, hygiene measures are recommended to be carried out at least once every 2-3 days. It is forbidden to bathe Syrian hamsters in the water, and you should also avoid height differences on the surface where the rodent walks. If he falls from a height, he can cause serious injury to himself.

The desert rodent is able to monitor the cleanliness of its fur coat on its own; for hygiene procedures, it will be enough to place a container with sand in the cage.

Reproduction at home

The male Persian hamster reaches sexual maturity by three months, while the female must be at least four months old. For fertilization to occur, she must be in heat, which occurs at intervals of 5-7 days. For mating, selected rodents are deposited in a separate cage. After that, the offspring occurs. Pregnancy lasts 18 days.

One individual is born from 4 to 15 hamsters. For a successful birth, the female needs to provide clean bedding, as well as food in abundance. In the first few days after the birth of animals, it is recommended not to disturb the mother and offspring. For newborns, the main food in the first month will be mother’s milk. You can’t touch the hamsters, because if there are extraneous odors on the cubs, the female will eat them. When the babies reach one month and seven days, they can be transplanted into a separate cage.

How to teach to hands?

So that the animal is not afraid of its owner and calmly walks into his arms, you will need to gradually tame the animal. To do this, follow the following guidelines:

  • contact with a person should occur several times a day, but for a short time (a quarter of an hour will be enough);
  • a newly acquired rodent should not be picked up immediately, as the animal will be in a state of stress; it will take him a few days to get used to the new environment;
  • acquaintance with the hands is better to be postponed to the evening, when the animal is full of energy, which will help to eliminate bites.

Getting used to contact with a person should be regular. It is important to study the lifestyle of the animal, be sure to talk to him in a low voice, pronouncing his nickname. After that, you need to lower your palm into the cage, placing a treat for the hamster on it.

You can’t catch an animal, you should wait until the rodent shows interest on its own. This may require several attempts, in the intervals between them you can treat the rodent with a treat through the rods. When the hamster makes contact and sits safely on the palm of your hand, you can lift him out of the cage, perhaps for the first time he will jump off the palm of your hand. Therefore, attempts to tame should be continued a little later.

Take a hamster only with clean hands, so that they do not have any foreign smells.

Possible problems

Unfortunately, Syrian hamsters in captivity can suffer from several ailments. Among them, the following are the most common:

  • obesity associated with improper diet and lack of toys for physical activity in the cage;
  • dental problems arising from the fact that the animal has nowhere to grind growing teeth;
  • coli, which the animal was infected with through poor food or unwashed food.

Signs of poor health of the Syrian hamster will be changes in his behavior. He can become aggressive and restless, or, conversely, too passive. The animal may have bald spots on the fur coat, sores, tremors, itching. Self-medication is strictly prohibited.

Therefore, if any sign of malaise appears, you should immediately take your pet to the veterinarian.

Interesting Facts

Syrian hamsters, unlike their relatives, with proper training and taming, can establish fairly close contact with the owner and even fall asleep with him. It is also worth noting the well-developed intelligence of the animal, thanks to which it will respond to its nickname. Of all the breeds of hamsters, these rodents are famous for their complaisant and cheerful disposition.

In addition, individuals accustomed to family members will become very affectionate towards a person, not perceiving him as a threat. However, small animals can become depressed if kept in too small a cage. Syrian hamsters should have a cage size at least one square meter with a height of 30-40 centimeters.

Owner reviews

According to the responses of breeders of Persian rodents, it can be noted that animals in the dwelling manifest themselves as friendly and cheerful, which makes it possible to keep them in families with small children. However, care and attention for a pet should be dosed, since continuous contact with a person can provoke aggression from the animal, as well as stress.which will negatively affect its life expectancy.

For information on how to keep a Syrian hamster, see the following video.