Syrian hamsters are beautiful rodents that can make excellent pets. They get their name from the Syrian desert where they originate. They are nocturnal and tend to live alone or in pairs, but can also be social animals. They are very gentle as pets, and despite their high energy level, are content to lounge around the house. Hamsters are extremely curious and love to investigate new things in their environment. They also appear to enjoy being handled (as much as a hamster can). When handled regularly they may even learn to tolerate it.
The Syrian hamster is a solitary animal and will not usually share a cage with another hamster of either sex. If two males or two females are caged together, they will fight until the weaker one dies. The Syrian hamster, also called the “teddy bear” hamster is one of the most popular species among pet owners because of its size and relatively easy care requirements.
In nature, hamsters are generally nocturnal. However, they will adjust to life in captivity and become more active during the day once they have been accustomed to their surroundings. Hamsters do not need to have a light on during the day but will appreciate one at night if they become accustomed to a regular daytime schedule.
All hamsters are essentially nocturnal, although there is some evidence that they become more active during the day if they receive at least 12 hours of light each day. Hamsters usually sleep during the day in a “den” that can take the form of a burrow in their habitat or an area hidden beneath some bedding in their cage. They are not prone to snoring, but will emit a soft rumbling sound when they run or eat. This is not a cause for alarm, however, unless the noise suddenly stops. Hamsters have been known to die without warning, so it is important to take care when handling them.
Syrian hamsters may live for up to two years in the wild and three years or more as pets. They breed easily and can produce up to four litters a year, with five or six babies in each litter. Their gestation period is between 16 and 18 days with an average of 18 days for Syrian hamsters. Babies are born without fur and their eyes closed. After about two weeks, the babies will begin to grow hair and will open their eyes. They become independent at about 5 weeks of age. They reach sexual maturity at four to five months old for females and six or seven months old for males.
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