Tips on Caring For Syrian Hamsters

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This article will be all about Syrian Hamsters, and in this section, you will find out all the basic things you need to know about your furry friends. This guide on caring for Syrian hamsters will be about proper cages, behaviour to watch out for, quirks, care sheet, and more.

The Syrian hamster is a rodent that belongs to the subfamily Cricetinae. They can usually be found in northern Syria and southern Turkey. 

They are larger than most dwarf hamsters, and they weigh about the same as a sugar glider. They typically live between 3-4 years; you can learn more about species of hamster here.

ALSO READ: Dwarf hamster care guide

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SYRIAN HAMSTERS

Caring For Syrian Hamsters

This part is going to tackle caring for Syrian hamsters. It includes discussing their size and weight, lifespan, domestication, personality, appropriate cages and even cage essentials. Basically, this will be your Syrian hamster care sheet, your go-to guide when you need to know something about caring for a Syrian hamster.

Size and Weight

The size of an adult Syrian hamster is between six (6) to eight (8) inches (16-20 cm), and they have a body mass of around 100 to 150 grams. Although the Syrian hamsters from private breeders can weigh anywhere between 175 to 225 grams. 

Lifespan

Syrian hamsters have a lifespan of two to three years, depending on various factors such as inherited and controllable factors. Inherited factors include breed, your furry friend possibly having faulty genetics or predisposition for an illness.

For example, hamsters from pet stores often don’t live long due to unethical breeding, affecting their health.

The controllable factor is the quality of care that you provide to your hamster. That’s why you have to make sure that your hamster is getting all the nutrients that it needs and has a balanced diet. 

Exercise is also essential for a hamster that’s why you need to make sure that their cages have ample space for running around, wheels, tunnels, and more to keep them busy and active.

Domestication

The wild hamster that looks relatively closes to a domesticated Syrian hamster is also known as a black-bellied or European hamster. They are native to grasslands which can be found in a large part of Eurasia.

They are considered farmland pests in areas where they are abundant. They have brown fur with white patches while their chest and belly areas are covered in black, hence, the name.

Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, are very popular hamster pets. They have a stout, stocky body with little tails, large eyes and tulip-shaped ears. The common fur colours of Syrian hamsters are golden brown, black, grey, or brown. They also come in regular length or long-haired Syrian hamsters.

Diet

A balanced diet amongst domesticated hamsters is not different in every species. The general rule of thumb is, a Syrian hamster diet should be high in protein (about 18%), low fat, low sugar, and balanced carbohydrates. Stay away from greasy, sugary, citrus-based, and high in water food.

MUST-READ: Best hamster dry mix food and safe and unsafe plants for hamsters

Personality

Syrian hamsters are the most social hamsters. They are sweet and thrive on lots of attention. They are also easy to tame and known for not nipping and for getting attached to their owners.

They are, however, solitary animals that’s why they need to have their own homes. Pregnant female hamsters who are pregnant or just gave birth also are very territorial. That’s why they should be left alone. 

With So Many Names

The Syrian hamster’s scientific name is Mesocricetus auratus. They are also called Teddy Bear, Black Bear, Golden Hamster, Angora hamster, Panda, Sable, Honey Bear or even Fancy. 

Big Running Wheels

Syrian hamsters need big running wheels, with a size of 28 cm (12 in) or bigger if your hamster is a pedigree. Here is a list of our recommended hamster wheels. Also, learn why hamsters like to run on wheels.

Do not use a flying saucer only; a saucer can be added to the cage but should not be the sole running source for your hamster because they wear down in time and take up more space compared to the traditional wheels. 

When buying running wheels, make sure that they are the low noise types for you to sleep soundly during the night as hamsters are awake and active during those times. 

Female Syrian Hamsters

Caring For Syrian Hamsters

They are known as escape artists – for some reason, female Syrian hamsters can find their way to escape their cage regardless of how secure it is.

In addition, if you had Dwarf hamsters before, you know you need lots of chew toys, right? Well, for a female Syrian hamster, you probably need to double that. 

A cage can never be big enough for a female Syrian hamster. They get bored quickly, which results in them wanting to escape.

Remember, female Syrian hamsters smell when they are in heat, which is every 4th day. The bottom line is that female Syrians want a lot of space, get bored quickly, need lots of chew toys, and smell when in heat. These are the reasons why they always try to escape more than any other species of hamsters.

Bedding

Make sure that your hamster’s bedding is at least 8 inches deep. There’s no need to cover the entire cage with bedding; you could focus on putting the bedding on the sleeping area, then just add stones on some areas to keep the nails trimmed.

Some of the safe hamster bedding include Aspen for wood-based bedding, paper-based bedding, toilet paper bedding and paper pellets. You can also freeze the bedding before using it to kill any harmful bugs. Just make sure that the bedding completely thaws and is clean before using.

CHECK OUT: Safest hamster bedding

Playtime

At least 10-15 minutes of playtime for your hamster outside of the cage per day is enough. You can either set up a playpen or simply lie on the couch or bed and cuddle with them while they enjoy their treat or run around. Just make sure that you lock other pets away in the meantime and always keep an eye on your hamster.

Tunnel/Tubes

The appropriate hamster tunnel or tube size is 2.36 for young Syrian hamsters and 2.5 inches for mature hamsters. A lot of tunnels and tubes designated for hamsters are too small for Syrians. That’s why if you can’t find big tubes, tunnels that are designed for guinea pigs would also work just fine, which is at least 3 inches n diameter.

Please be reminded to avoid using fabric material for tunnels because their nails might get stuck, resulting in an injury.

Dens and Sandbox

Most of the dens, hideouts, sandboxes entry/exit doors are too small for Syrian hamsters, that’s why you need to check if the size is indicated and if not, check if there is an indication that it is suitable for Syrian hamsters.

Make your life easier with our printable hamster task planner

LEARN MORE

CAGES FOR SYRIAN HAMSTERS

Size is essential for all types of pet cages, in this case, for Syrian hamsters. The appropriate size for male hamsters is 90x60x6o cm (35x20x30 in), while for female Syrian hamsters, it’s 100x60x60 cm (39x20x20 in).

To set an example, we compiled a list of our favourite cages for Syrian hamsters, complete with their features. 

Living World Deluxe Xtra Large

This elegantly styled wired cage is perfect for Syrian hamsters as it provides a safe and well-ventilated shelter for your pets. The door wire easily opens in two parts for easy access, and the cage can easily be assembled within eight minutes.

When purchasing this cage, choose the X-large size, there’s no such thing as too big for a Syrian hamster cage. This cage is also very durable, which means that it lasts for years, unlike other brands.

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Features: 

  • Size: 46.9 x 22.8 x 24 inches / 119 x 58 x 61 cm
  • food bowl
  • drip-proof water bottle
  • well-ventilated

Barney Cage

This fully-equipped pet cage is very easy to clean as it has a deep tray that will prevent dirt from being flung anywhere in the hamster enclosure when your pet is digging.

The cage sides are also interlocked using clips, making it easy to remove when sanitising the cages. If you are planning to purchase this cage, make sure that you will bend the clasps of the doors to make sure that they stay shut.

Features

  • Size: 100x54x45 cm or 39.4×21.2×17.7 in
  • has a platform, den, ladder and plastic play wheel (but you might need to upgrade it)
  • well-ventilated

 Zoozone Large

This cage is perfect for Syrian hamsters as it has a lot of floor space. It is also the answer to your dilemma of excessive cage bar gnawing. It is effortless to clean, and you can also allocate a burrowing space for your furry friend.

Features: 

  • Size: 101 x 51 x 22 cm / 40 x 20 x 20 in
  • includes a water bottle handle and compartment feeding dish
  • due to its design, no need to worry about bar biting (you probably need to remove the inside mesh wire)

Bookcase/IKEA Detolf

If you want to be more creative and don’t want your hamster to live in a standard cage, you can turn a bookshelf into an instant hamster cage.

A bookcase or an IKEA detolf is perfect. All you have to do is turn it upside down and remove the shelves, and voila, you have your hamster cage. Many people say that this is even better than the usual cages because aside from being less expensive, it is also way more spacious than the conventional cages and customises the considerable space to your heart’s content.

  • size: male hamsters is 90x60x6o cm (35x20x30 in), while for female Syrian hamsters, it’s 100x60x60 cm (39x20x20 in)

Bin Cage

A Bin cage is basically a plastic storage box that you can turn into a hamster cage. When doing so, just make sure to customise a top cover for ventilation but not big enough for your Syrian to fit and escape. A 40 gallon or 150L storage box would be great, don’t get the ones with wheels on it, as the corners can easily be chewed by your hamster.

  • size: male hamsters is 90x60x6o cm (35x20x30 in), while for female Syrian hamsters, it’s 100x60x60 cm (39x20x20 in)
  • size: 40 gal or 150L

Aquarium Tank

This is perfect for people who want to provide their hamsters with an intricate habitat, and if their hamsters love to escape, its width and depth will prevent hamsters from escaping.

They can also chew through wood and plastic but not through glass which the aquariums are made of. Like with the other DIY cages, make sure that there is proper ventilation on top and clean from chemical or food residues.

  • 150L / 40 gal / 100x60x60 cm (39x20x20 in)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Aside from what was tackled in this article, other things that you need to know are that hamsters’ teeth grow continuously. That’s why you need to constantly provide them with something to gnaw or chew on.

Hamsters are also susceptible to diarrhoea which can be caused by stress, food or even rough handling. When your hamster shows signs and symptoms, make sure to contact a vet immediately.

Last but definitely not least, during wintertime, make sure that your hamster’s environment is warm enough because if it’s cold, they tend to become lazy and lethargic and fall into torpor which can lead to death.

In summary, caring for Syrian hamsters is not that hard because they aren’t those types of pets that need to be pampered and looked after multiple times per day. As long as you know the appropriate diet and provide them with clean living conditions, basically knowing what’s good or bad for them, you’re on your way to being a great Syrian hamster pet owner. 

That’s it! We hope you learned something and enjoyed reading this caring for Syrian hamsters article as much as we enjoyed compiling these facts and creating this Syrian hamster care sheet.

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