The Syrian hamster is the most popular type of hamster worldwide. This is mostly due to the many different variations of the Syrian hamster breed. Syrian hamsters are the most common type of hamster seen in pet stores, often being kept in groups before their sale. When caring for a Syrian hamster, it’s important to be familiar with some of the unique behavioral traits that your Syrian hamster may display. Here is some general information about Syrian hamsters.
Appearance: The Syrian hamster is generally seen in a wide variety of color variations, which can range from many different patterns and markings. Syrian hamsters have the characteristic tapered head, small, circular ears and tiny nose that is characteristic of most all rodents.
Interesting Facts: Syrian hamsters, like all rodents, have special expandable cheek pouches that allow them to transport food. Since captive hamsters usually have a constant supply of food, your hamster may not always use their cheek pouches. Another fairly interesting fact about Syrian hamsters is they are considered to be vulnerable as a wild species, as they are frequently poisoned by farmers attempting to protect their crops.
History: Syrian hamsters, as their name might suggest, are originally derived from Syria. They were first found by a British Zoologist named George Waterhouse in 1839. In Syria, Syrian hamster thrive in a hot and dry climate, similar to the desert. Hamsters are traditionally nocturnal, since their small size makes them vulnerable to predators during the day. In 1937, a small stock of hamsters was transported from a research facility in London to some private breeders. It’s said that all of today’s hamsters can be traced back to a single female, who is speculated to have been one of the original hamsters captured in Syrian in 1930.
Behavior: Syrian hamsters are large, which makes them fairly easy to handle. Syrian hamsters tend not to bite often, though they may bite when they feel threatened. It’s important to handle a Syrian hamster with care, since this can prevent your hamster from becoming agitated. Syrian hamsters love to nest, and will do well in a cage that allows them to construct their own nests out of various materials. Syrian hamsters do like to be active, and prefer a large exercise wheel instead of a wheel with a smaller diameter. It’s possible to pick a Syrian hamster up by the scruff of their neck, which is sometimes referred to as the “Scrap”.