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Breed Profiles
Small Animal Breeds

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Select the small animal breed you are interested in from the list below.

Hamster - Syrian

You can find the contact details for specific breed societies local to you by going to the Your Territory area.

You may want to post any specific questions that you have about this breed in our Pet Talk area to ask people with first hand experience.

Hamster - Syrian

General
Other Names Golden Hamster, Fancy Hamster, Teddy bear Hamster and Standard Hamster
Lifespan On average the Syrian hamster can live 2 to 2.5 years, there are exceptions to this with some living longer and others shorter lives.
Breeding The ideal age for the female Syrian hamster to start breeding is between 4 and 6 months of age. The Syrian Hairless hamster variety should not be bred from as the female hairless can have problems producing milk for young.
Average Litter Size The Syrian hamster can produce, on average, 8 young. Litters of up to 20 or more have been recorded.
Gestation Period The gestation period is 16 days.
General Physical Description The Syrian hamster exists in many different colours, from self-colours to patterns, and in different hair types.
Size On average the Syrian hamster is 15-20cms long and the female is larger than the male.
Feeding A well-balanced dry hamster mix will contain all the necessary nutritional requirements that a hamster needs. They do enjoy the occasional treat in the form of fruit and vegetables. Do make sure these are limited as too much can cause diarrhoea. Avoid giving too much lettuce as this can lead to liver problems. An earthenware bowl is the best type of feeding dish to use, as they are harder to knock over than the plastic ones, also they not chewable. A water bottle fixed to the outside of the cage, with the water tube going into the cage, ensures a fresh water supply is available.
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Cage & Bedding A basic standard hamster cage is adequate for the Syrian hamster. This standard cage is made up of a plastic base with a rigid wire top that secures to the base. Glass or plastic aquariums also make suitable cages for this hamster. Some of the more expensive hamster homes can consist of multi level cages with inter-connecting tubes and compartments. Some of the larger Syrian hamsters may be too big to go through the connecting tubes. Wood shavings should be used for the floor of the cage. Fine sawdust can cause eye irritations and cedar shavings can cause allergic reactions and irritations to the hamster due to the oil it contains. Bedding material should be provided and the best thing to use is shredded paper or hay. Do not use straw as it can cause eye injuries. Other bedding that is not suitable is any man made fibres and materials that can, and will, become stuck in the cheek pouches and cause stomach blockages. The hamster can also get its limbs stuck in the bedding. The cage should be cleaned out weekly and any old food removed. If it is necessary to wash the cage then only use a cleaner specifically designed for cleaning small rodents cages. An earthenware food bowl and a drinking bottle will also be required to feed and water the hamster.
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Characteristics
Suitability For Children
Character & Temperament
Sleeping Habits
The Syrian hamster is nocturnal, which means that it is active at night, so this is the ideal time for them to be fed.
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Toys & Exercise
The cage itself could be furnished with items, such as a wheel, to provide exercise for the hamster. Some hamsters do not like wheels or the hamster balls that they can run around the house in. The ball is better suited to the larger hamsters like the Syrian. As hamsters love to burrow a box filled three quarters full with shavings is ideal so they can burrow and tunnel as much as they like. They also like to climb. It is possible to provide plenty to entertain this hamster with using household items, such as toilet roll tubes and boxes.
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Grooming
Types of Coat The coat comes in various lengths and textures. They can be shorthaired, longhaired, rex, satin and hairless. The rex coat is slightly curled or wavy depending on whether the hamster is short or longhaired. The satin coat is glossy.
Colour The Syrian hamster comes in a variety of colours some more commonly seen than others. The most common colours are golden, cinnamon, black-eyed cream, red eyed cream, sable, mink, dark eared white and flesh eared white. The rarer colours seen are ruby eyed cream, dark grey, light grey, silver grey, blonde, black eyed ivory, red eyed ivory, black, beige, blue mink, chocolate, dove, smoke pearl, lilac, rust, copper, yellow, honey, tortoiseshell, yellow black and mosaic. The hamster coat also comes in patterns, which are white based and combined with another colour. These are known as dominant spot, banded, roan, white bellied and piebald.
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Other
Intelligence Hamsters can become accustomed to the sound of your voice, and will show various degrees of response. It may even be possible, using treats as rewards, to train the hamster to carry out some of its natural activities.
Show Characteristics
Country of Origin Syria

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