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Hamster - Syrian Breed Profile

Other Names
Golden Hamster, Fancy Hamster, Teddy bear Hamster and Standard Hamster 
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. 
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. 
On average the Syrian hamster is 15-20cms long and the female is larger than the male. 
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. 
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. 
Suitability For Children
The Syrian hamster is suitable for both children and adults. They are probably the best size of hamster for small children.< 
Character & Temperament
The Syrian hamster is quite a solitary individual by nature. If you have more than one they will have to be kept in separate cages after about 10 weeks of age. If they are not separated they will fight causing severe injuries, and one may even kill the other. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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