Syrian hamsters, also known as “golden hamsters,” are beloved family pets for their adorable appearance, compact size, and sociability. These fascinating creatures come in various coat lengths, textures, colors, and patterns, making them even more captivating to observe. If you’re curious about the different types of Syrian hamsters or want to identify the type you have, this guide is for you.
How Are Syrian Hamsters Classified?
The Syrian hamster, scientifically known as Mesocricetus auratus, is the largest of all hamster species, measuring around 6-8 inches in length. Originally from the Syrian deserts, these rodents adapted well to survive in arid conditions. Wild Syrian hamsters, though rare due to habitat loss, live in cool, humid tunnels. As pets, they typically have a lifespan of 2-3 years. Syrian hamsters have almond-shaped eyes, rounded ears and bodies, and short, blunt tails. Females are usually larger than males.
The 4 Syrian Hamster Coat Types
Some Syrian hamsters have short, smooth coats. These coats require minimal maintenance as they don’t easily tangle or get dirty.
Long-haired hamsters, also known as “teddy bear hamsters,” possess a recessive gene that gives them long hair. Some have tufts, while others have a “skirt.” Taking care of long-haired hamsters involves regular gentle brushing and choosing appropriate bedding to prevent tangling.
Satin hamsters have a very fine, soft, and shiny coat due to the satin gene. Breeding two satins together is not recommended as their offspring will have sparse, thin hair.
Rex hamsters have distinctive wiry, curly, or wavy coats, including curly whiskers. Inheriting the recessive rex gene gives them this unique appearance. Breeding two rex hamsters together can increase the risk of eye conditions.
The 5 Syrian Hamster Patterns
Banded hamsters have a wide band running around their middle. The length of the band can vary, and perfect bands are not always passed on to their offspring.
Roan hamsters have a white coat with color on their heads that spreads down the body. The amount of color varies, and breeding two roans can result in eyeless whites.
3. Dominant Spot
Dominant spot hamsters are mostly white with random color patches distributed evenly. The number of patches can range from a few to covering the entire body.
Piebald hamsters have white patches on their base color rather than patches in another color.
Tortoiseshell hamsters have distinctive yellow patches on their base color. The shade of the yellow spots depends on the base color. Some tortoiseshell hamsters also have white patches.
The 11 Common Syrian Hamster Colors
Golden hamsters have hairs tipped with gold/ginger, with a gray base. They also boast white crescents and black cheek flashes. Some golden hamsters have a smokier color, known as umbrous golden.
Cream-colored hamsters have light orange/apricot coats, with variations in eye color. Their ears darken with age.
Black hamsters have black coats, eyes, and ears, which may darken to a browner shade with age. They sometimes have white markings on the tummy and chin.
Gray hamsters come in light, dark, and silver shades, often with black markings on their cheeks. Some are a mixture of gray and cream.
Sable hamsters have cream-colored hairs with sooty or smoky tips. Their eyes have cream rings around them, and they possess gray ears.
Cinnamon hamsters have gray/slate-colored base hairs and an orange topcoat that becomes more pronounced with age. They also have ivory-colored markings on their cheeks and belly.
Chocolate hamsters have rich, deep brown coats and black eyes. Their paws are pink.
Mink hamsters have a beige-colored coat that turns into a warmer orange tone with age. They can be distinguished from other variations by their eyes and ears.
Yellow hamsters are similar to golden hamsters but lighter in color. They have black eyes, white cheek crescents, and black cheek flashes.
Yellow hamsters with black tipping are referred to as yellow-black, with the yellow remaining noticeable underneath the darkening tips.
White hamsters come in three varieties: dark-eared, flesh-eared, and black-eyed, with each having distinct characteristics.
Are Syrian Hamsters Friendly?
Whether or not Syrian hamsters are friendly depends on their socialization from a young age. It’s crucial to hand-tame them properly to prevent fear or biting. With proper socialization and respectful handling, Syrian hamsters are likely to be friendly, confident, and companionable. Some may even climb onto your hand or fall asleep in your lap. Begin by sitting close to their cage, talking softly to let them become accustomed to your presence. Hand-feeding treats is an excellent way to build trust. Remember to avoid sticking your hand straight into the cage without taming them, as this may frighten them and lead to bites.
In conclusion, Syrian hamsters come in a wide variety of types, coats, patterns, and colors, making them particularly appealing as pets. However, due to their territorial nature, they may not be suitable for very young children. It’s important to handle them respectfully and confidently under supervision.
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Featured Image Credit: Johannes Menge, Shutterstock