The word "hamster" comes from the German word "hamstern" which means to hoard. Most Hamsters have cheek pouches in which they carry food and bedding to their nest - even pups if they feel threatened. Syrian hamsters are from Syria and were originally called Golden Hamsters. They are from 6 to 8 inches long and weigh from 140 to 200 grams. The video below shows a Syrian pouching cookies.
They can be quite friendly and love to cuddle and explore their surroundings. Unlike most rodents, Syrian hamsters live a solitary life and get together briefly only for mating. The mother raises the young until they are weaned (about 3 weeks old) then the pups and mother want their own place.
They are nocturnal (sleep during the day) and have poor eyesight. If startled awake they may react before they realize it is their beloved owner. Because of their eyesight they also tend to walk off high places. They have scent glands on their hips and will rub their sides against their cage or tank to mark their territory. You can easily see the scent glands on this hairless male.
This girl figured out how to climb on top of her wheel to chew the screen cover. Secure housing is absolutely necessary for these pets.
Wet Tail - An excellent article written by Lari. Copied with permission HERE. I treat with one tablet of Ornacycline® for an 8 oz. bottle for 5 days. Care must be taken to make sure the Hamster drinks. Treat the entire tank (if pups) as it is contagious.
HaPV - An excellent article written by Liz Newbery. Copied with permission HERE.
Cushing's Syndrome - A progressive, degenerative disease. First symptom is hair loss but this can be caused by other problems. Bunsey has written an article for me based on her experiences. Click HERE.
Solitary not Social - The story of two Syrians kept together at a store with nearly fatal results by NE Hamstery. Copied with permission HERE.
6 months - Around this age the pelvic bones fuse together into one bone. If the female has not had a litter before then to spread the bones apart they will fuse with a narrower birth opening. This results in the loss of the litter and probably the mom too.
Prolapses - Uterus - Females that are bred too young are prone to a prolapsed uterus. This is when the uterus turns inside out and is outside of the body. Veterinarian care is needed since the hamster will attempt to chew the uterus off. Intestine - The same can happen with a constipated hamster.
This page was last edited on June 05, 2008