The golden hamster or Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a rodent in the subfamily Cricetinae, the hamsters. Their natural geographical range is limited to arid areas of northern Syria and southern Turkey. Their numbers have been declining due to a loss of habitat caused by agriculture and deliberate elimination by humans.
Thus, in the wild, they are now considered vulnerable by the IUCN. However, captive-breeding programs are well established, and captive-bred golden hamsters are often kept as small house pets. Additionally, they are also used as scientific research animals throughout the world.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Cricetidae
- Subfamily: Cricetinae
- Genus: Mesocricetus
- Species: M. auratus
- Binomial name: Mesocricetus auratus
Description Syrian hamster
The Syrian hamster is one of the most adorable small pets that many American families love. These hamsters are also popularly known as Golden Hamsters or Teddy Bear Hamsters (the long-haired variety) and are likely the most popular hamster varieties kept as pets.
Due to their docile nature, it is very easy to handle these wonderful pets. Even kids can easily handle these pets without any hassle. However, these animals are not as social as dogs or cats.
After they reach the age of 4 to 5 weeks, they should be kept alone in separate cages. If you are raising more than one hamster, then buy separate cages for them. Syrians are solitary and may kill or seriously injure one another if they are kept together.
Colour and looks
The color they usually come in however, is their “trademark” golden-brown coat, which has given them their nicknames, Golden and Teddy Bear Hamster.
In terms of body shape, the hamster has a stout, stocky body with a little tail barely visible underneath their fur.
Syrian Hamsters typically grow to a size of 5-7 inches (12-17cm) in length. This is roughly the same size as a human hand.
- At that size they will have a weight of 5-7 ounces (120-160g).
- The Syrian Hamster has large eyes and small tulip shaped ears that are covered with fur.
- The jawbone and their ears will often be dark brown.
- The fluffy cheek pouches are used to store food!
Hamsters are very territorial and intolerant of each other attacks against each other are ubiquitous. Exceptions do occur, usually when a female and male meet when the female is in heat, but even so, the female may attack the male after mating. Even siblings, once mature, may attack one another. In captivity, babies are separated from their mother and by gender after four weeks, as they sexually mature at four to five weeks old.
Same-sex groups of siblings can stay with each other until they are about eight weeks old, at which point they will become territorial and fight with one another, sometimes to the death. Infanticide is not uncommon among female golden hamsters. In captivity, they may kill and eat healthy young as a result of the pups interacting with humans, for any foreign scent is treated as a threat. Females also eat their dead young in the wild.
Care Syrian hamster
Basic Syrian hamster care is not complicated, and there are no excuses not to take care of your hamster. They are quite easy to look after and can become tame with daily handling. Syrians are solitary animals but are social and docile towards human owners. To avoid an unhappy hamster be sure to spend time with them every day and give them a large selection of toys to entertain them.
Some good cheap hamster toys and chews include cardboard boxes, toilet roll tubes, and cereal boxes. It is rare for a Syrian hamster to bite its owner, and they tend to react well to frequent handling.
Discovery Golden hamster
Golden hamsters originate from Syria and were first described and officially named in 1839 by British zoologist George Robert Waterhouse. Waterhouse’s original specimen was a female hamster; he named it Cricetus auratus or the “golden hamster”. The skin of the specimen is kept at the Natural History Museum in London.
Also more: Roborovski hamster
Syrian hamster images