- Scientific Name
- Mesocricetus auratus
- 2 years
- 12-18 cm (5–7”) long
Syrian hamsters are very energetic and like to run in a wheel or exercise ball. They can store a surprising amount of food in their cheeks. Unlike other hamsters, the special longhaired variety requires brushing to keep its soft fur in top condition.
Since hamsters are nocturnal, they need a home with plenty of room to run around while you sleep. Choose a multilevel hamster habitat with a water bottle, food dish, exercise wheel, hiding area, and material for nesting, as well as plenty of chew toys.
Hamsters hide and burrow, so line your pet’s habitat with one to two inches of clean paper bedding or wood shavings. Your hamster will shred this for a sleeping area. Bedding should be spot cleaned daily and completely changed weekly. Hamsters are very clean and like their home kept that way, too.
Syrian hamsters’ front teeth never stop growing, so they must continually grind them down on food, hay, and chews. When it comes to handling, hamsters can be tame but may bite if startled, especially upon waking from a deep sleep. Be calm around your hamster, and always handle small pets gently.
Pelleted hamster food should be your pet’s primary source of nutrition, but seeds, vegetables and fruit make tasty, healthy treats. Use a food bowl to prevent accidental ingestion of bedding, and remove uneaten fresh foods daily since they spoil quickly. Better yet, feed treats by hand during playtime to encourage bonding with your hamster.