The Golden Hamster (often times called the Syrian hamster) is the most popular species of hamster for small pet owners. Golden hamsters are easy to care for, easy to breed and fairly inexpensive for small pet owners to keep. However, many people get confused about the term “Golden Hamster”. In fact, a lot of people don’t know that a Golden Hamster is just another name for the Syrian Hamster, and does not necessarily need to relate to fur coloration. Golden Hamsters do require some specialized care, and will thrive when given proper pet care. Here is some general information about Golden Hamsters.
Why the Golden Hamster: In the earlier generations of the Syrian hamster, the most common color variation was either gold and white, or a combination of black, white and gold. This is the main reason why these hamsters are still referred to as “Golden” hamsters. Some people cite that the “gold and white” fur coloration is the classic appearance characteristic for the Golden Hamster, though this is still subject to personal interpretation.
Behavior: Golden Hamsters are fairly territorial, and may have problems sharing their cage with other hamsters. Because of this, it’s usually best to keep them alone, or in a large enough cage that they won’t feel the need to display territorial aggression. It’s usually best to avoid excessive handling of Golden Hamsters, since they prefer to be left alone. If you wish to interact with your Golden Hamster, you can place your hand in their cage for short periods of time, and gradually allow them to become accustomed to your scent.
Sexual Maturity: An interesting fact about Golden Hamsters is that once a female is sexually mature, she will “come into heat” about once every four days. The gestation period for a pregnant female Golden Hamster is extremely short, lasting only from 16 to 18 days. This is one of the reasons why hamsters are able to breed so quickly. However, it also means that a male and female hamster kept in the same cage will usually result in a pregnancy. If you are not prepared to care for a nursing female and her litter of hamster pups, it’s best if you separate your male and female hamsters. A single pregnant female Golden Hamster can produce litters of 20 or more babies, though most litters contain from 8 to 10 pups.