Syrian hamsters, also known as teddy bear or fancy hamsters, are incredibly popular pets. They are ideal for new owners, as they are easy to tame and develop a strong bond with their human companions. These delightful creatures have their own unique personalities and quirky behaviors that make them a joy to be around.
Before You Buy: Things to Consider
When choosing a pet, especially a Syrian hamster, there are a few important factors to consider. Syrian hamsters are larger and more resilient than their dwarf counterparts, making them suitable for even younger children to care for. However, they still require supervision as they are fragile.
It is crucial to provide a spacious enclosure for your hamster to explore and play. Many commercially available hamster cages are too small and limit their mobility. Opt for a larger cage and add toys and exercise equipment to keep your hamster active and happy. Additionally, consider getting a large hamster ball to provide your furry friend with the opportunity to explore your home and interact with you.
The Price of Syrian Hamsters
The average price of a Syrian hamster ranges from $5 to $20. The cost may vary based on factors like color variations and hair length. However, the main expense of owning a hamster lies in purchasing suitable housing, toys, and quality food.
3 Little-Known Facts About Syrian Hamsters
1. All Syrian Hamsters Can Be Traced Back to a Single Mother
In 1930, a female hamster, along with her 12 pups, was captured outside of Aleppo, Syria, by scientist Israel Aharoni. Despite a rough start, this group of hamsters began breeding in captivity, and all domestic Syrian hamsters can be traced back to the female that was initially captured.
2. Syrian Hamsters Can Have Long, Silky Coats
Contrary to popular belief, not all Syrian hamsters have short hair. Some individuals can grow long, silky coats, especially males due to increased testosterone levels. These hamsters even have light-colored skirts around their backsides, adding to their unique appearance.
3. Syrian Hamsters Have Various Names
Syrian hamsters are named after their place of origin, but they are also commonly referred to as fancy hamsters, teddy bear hamsters, or short-hair hamsters. All-black Syrian hamsters are sometimes called black bear hamsters.
Temperament & Intelligence of Syrian Hamsters
Syrian hamsters share many traits with other hamster breeds. They are nocturnal animals, preferring to sleep during the day and become active at night. These clever creatures enjoy running in tube mazes and exhibit a preference for using a specific location in their cage for elimination, which simplifies cage cleaning.
Are Syrian Hamsters Good for Families?
Syrian hamsters are excellent pets for families, especially those with younger children. They teach responsibility, patience, and gentleness. These low-maintenance pets are a perfect introduction to pet ownership.
Can Syrian Hamsters Get Along with Other Pets?
Syrian hamsters are naturally skittish around larger animals, such as dogs and cats, and unfamiliar humans. They do not get along with other hamsters either, as they are solitary and territorial creatures. If you intend to breed hamsters, ensure they are separated before reaching maturity, as they can become aggressive and even fight to the death.
Things to Know When Owning a Syrian Hamster
To be a responsible owner, there are a few essential things to keep in mind:
Food & Diet Requirements
Syrian hamsters are omnivores and require a balanced diet. Besides commercial hamster food, you can offer them treats like nuts, grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and even small amounts of lean meat. However, moderation is key to prevent overeating and associated health issues.
Hamsters need plenty of exercise to stay healthy. Providing a spacious cage and an exercise wheel is crucial. Syrian hamsters can run up to 9 miles a day, so it’s essential to give them opportunities to expend their energy.
While not as trainable as dogs, hamsters can learn simple tricks and recognize their names through regular interaction. They also establish individual routines and tend to litter train themselves.
Hamsters are relatively low-maintenance and groom themselves. However, long-haired Syrian hamsters may require occasional assistance with grooming using a small brush or fine-toothed comb. Additionally, provide appropriate chew sticks to help them maintain healthy teeth.
Health and Conditions
Syrian hamsters are generally hardy, but there are some health conditions to watch out for. Older hamsters may develop tumors, which can be benign or malignant. Wet tail, a bacterial infection, can be a serious condition requiring veterinary treatment. Ear and fur mites are common but easily treatable.
Male vs. Female
Male Syrian hamsters tend to be more laid-back, while females can display spunky and quirky personalities. Females are usually larger than males and have a more noticeable odor due to their heat cycles.
Syrian hamsters are an excellent choice for new pet owners, both adults and children. Their docile nature and unique characteristics make them lovable companions. However, it’s important to remember that they are nocturnal animals and have a strong territorial instinct. Take things slow, provide proper care, and enjoy the delightful company of your Syrian hamster.
Featured Image Credit: Johannes Menge, Shutterstock