Syrian Hamster

About Hamster

Scientific Classification

Syrian Hamster

Domesticated Relatives

Wild Relatives


Syrian Hamster

Adélka RikyThe Syrian Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is mammal appurtenant to the order of rodents. Its front teeth are constantly growing and they must be necessary regularly rasped to avoid some health problems. If it is necessary you must cut overgrown teeth to your hamster. Size of its body is 14 - 17 cm, females are bigger than males, hamster weighs 100 - 190 g and the average lifespan is 2 - 2,5 years. The babies are born hairless, blind and deaf, they grow very quickly and quickly sexually mature. Litters are very numerous. Female has more litters by the year, her gestation period is very short (16 days). The number of its chromosomes is 44.

The Syrian Hamster originates from semi-desert areas of Syria. It lives solitary life in burrows deep approximately 2.5 m, which consist of many tunnels and chambers, where the hamster sleeps and has its reserves of food. It is nocturnal sleeping during the hot days and awakes at coolish evenings when it goes for feed, which it gives into its big cheekpouches. During the night it comes back several times into its burrow to empty its cheekpouches, so it runs many kilometres. The Syrian Hamster has very poor eyesight but it has a very good hearing (hears even supersound) and smell.

Natural colouring is gold, that is why it is sometimes called Golden Hamster. Further they are known some others names joint with specific colour, pattern or duration of fur. So for example the Black Syrian Hamster is also referred to as the Black Bear or European Black Bear Hamster, Black Eyed Cream and Cinnamon are called Honey Bears, Dark Eared White is named Polar Bear, Sable is sometimes referred as Blue Sable, Black Dominant Spot Syrian Hamster is also referred to Dalmatian Hamster, Roan or Sable is sometimes called as Blue Hamster, Banded Black is named Panda Bear, Tortoiseshell is referred as Harlequin, Tortoiseshell with White pattern is named sometimes Calico, Long Haired Syrian Hamster is sometimes referred to as Teddy Bear Hamster. In addition the Hairless Syrian Hamster is sometimes referred to as the Alien Hamster. The word hamster comes from the German word "hamstern" which means "to hoard". I don't advise to use these terms because of in the end nobody knows what you are talking about.

The Syrian Hamster is very popular and modest pet suitable also for small children. If human handle it kindly, it very quickly become tame. Exception in this case can be hamster with bad experience, at its case it is needed more of patience and a long time for getting its trust. The Syrian Hamster lives solitary and it is meeting in nature only for short periods in mating seasons. Because of this it is necessary to breed it separately. If it is bred in multi in one cage, some fights occur, which can end death. If hamster mother has got her babies, it is necessary to detach them from her after weaning and in their age of 8 - 10 weeks there is the end of harmonious common life between brothers and sisters too. From my own experience I must note to this theme, that many breeders start with 2 - 3 hamsters and when their breed starts to rise, they examine to breed hamsters together in multi, but finally they mostly discover that it is not a good idea. I breeded my hamsters in multi too, so these are my experiences with it: I breeded together apart males and apart females, I gave them together in various age, during about half a year they never injured themselves seriously, but sometimes they fought. They had small injuries on their feet and occasionally some ear was ripped. Hamsters slept snuggled up to themselves, it seemed so harmonious. But it was clear that they were displeased and that hamsters canceled. So I started to buy many and many cages at that time. hamsters togetherThe same thing many of the breeders do in the end. The golden rule for breeding Syrian Hamsters is: one hamster = one cage! Don't compel Syrian Hamsters to live together! I wrote this in detail because of I very often read somewhere about if you give male to female which is not in season, they will start to fight hardly immediately. I think that it is not so dramatic. But if mainly two males are accustomed to be alone, they would to injure themeselves seriously. My males after they started to live alone, they became to be very intolerant to other males and they detest already only smell of other males from my hand and start to snap darkly immediately. I think they would kill themselves if it was possible. My females are fundamentally more mild. So in fine: I don't advise breed Syrians in multi in one cage and if you want to give some hamster to the other pay attention. Beyond this not too insignificant condition (1 hamster = 1 cage), the Syrian Hamster is not too exacting for keep. It needs some place without air draught, not too moist. It is breeded in room temperature. If in winter time will rest surrounding temperature for a long time under 10 centigrade and days will cut down, it should fall into winter dormancy, which is not needed to stay healthy.


Characteristics of the Syrian Hamster:

Average life span: 2 - 2,5 years
Body size: 14 - 17 cm
Weigh: 100 - 190 g
Pulse rate: 280 - 500/min (average 450/min)
Total volume of blood: 65 - 80 ml/kg
Blood pressure systolic: 20 kPa
Blood pressure diastolic: 14,7 kPa
Characteristics of blood: general data: 0,42 - 0,55 l/l haematocrit, 145 - 180 g/l haemoglobin
Characteristics of blood: cytology: 5,0 - 9,2 1012/l erythrocytes, 4,5 - 8,4 109/l leukocytes, 0,4 - 3,2 109/l neutrophyle granulocytes, 0 - 0,4 109/l eosinophil granulocytes, 0 - 0,1 109/l basophil granulocytes, 3,0 - 5,9 109/l lymphocytes, 0 - 1,0 109/l monocytes, 250 - 570 109/l thrombocytes
Characteristics of blood: biochemical profile: 45 - 78 g/l total protein, 26 - 41 g/l albumin, 27 - 42 g/l globulins, 3,3 - 8,3 mmol/l glucose, 2,0 - 4,1 mmol/l blood urea, 36 - 89 µmol/l creatinine, 4,3 - 10,3 µmol/l bilirubin, 144 - 152 mmol/l natrium, 5,5 - 7,2 mmol/l kalium, 1,2 - 2,9 mmol/l calcium, 1,1 - 2,6 mmol/l phosphorus, 86 - 112 mmol/l chlorides
Respiration rate: 35 - 135/min (average 74/min)
Rectal temperature: 36 - 38°C
Standard laboratory photoperiod: 14 h light/10 h dark
Water consumption: 30 ml/day
Food consumption: 10 - 15 g/day
Type of ovulation: spontaneous
Estrous cycle length: 4 days
Length of receptive period: 12 - 29 h
Time of ovulation: 10 - 12 h after onset of receptivity
Length of pseudopregnancy: 8 - 10 days
Length of pregnancy: 16 days
Length of parturition: 1,5 - 2,5 h
Postpartum estrus: none
Number of pups in litter: 4 - 15 (average 8 - 9)
Sex ratio at birth: 106 males : 100 females
Pups begin eating solid food: 9 - 10 days
Eyes open: 14 days
Weaning age: 21 days
Sexual maturation of males: earliest onset of copulatory behavior: 30 days
presence of sperm in penile smear: 42 days
maintenance of full reproductive activity: beyond 30 months
Sexual maturation of females: vaginal opening: 8 - 14 days
first ovulation: 26 - 30 days
earliest onset of copulatory behavior: 28 days (average 34 days)
recommended breeding age: 4 months
onset of reproductive deficiencies: 10 - 12 months
(cycle regularity, number of ova,
 maintenance of pregnancy)