Syrian hamsters are what most people think of when they think of hamsters. They are the largest of the hamster variety and can reach sizes up to 18cm in length! Syrians are usually very well tempered and can be easily handled by people of all ages but care should be taken. Syrian hamsters must be kept on their own as they can be very territorial.
Our hamsters in store are fed on Harry Hamster and they should stay on this until they are 16 weeks. After this they can be transitioned onto another food such as Selective Hamster, which is a nutritionally balanced pellet food and can reduce the chances of your hamster just eating the few things it likes and leaving the rest, which can lead to them not getting all of the nutrients they need. At 16 weeks you can also start introducing treats and vegetables, but this should never replace the rest of their diet.
Hamsters are a prey animal and have quite poor eyesight, so are easily spooked. When handling your hamster we would recommend you rub your hands in their woodflake so that your scent matches theirs, then you should stroke your hamsters back to let it know you're there, then gently scoop the hamster into your hand.
Hamsters are a nocturnal species and are usually awake at night, then asleep in the day. In the wild they would often travel up to ten kilometers a night! Wheels are essential and we would recommend that you use a flying saucer, as the open design is better on their backs. You can also use a hamster ball (for around 20 minutes a day) and have the hamster get some enrichment outside of its cage in that. You should always supervise when a hamster is out of its cage in a ball, so that it doesn't get anywhere it shouldn't or make an escape.
FUN FACT: Hamsters can run at speeds of up to 4mph which is really fast for such a small animal!
Hamsters are burrowers by nature, requiring a lot of bedding and a nice deep substrate to be able to burrow into and feel safe. They feel nervous in large open spaces so you should provide lots of hides for them to retreat to. Syrian hamsters require a fairly large cage as they are large hamsters. This should include more than one level and enough space to move around. We stock a variety of suitable cages in the store and our staff will be more than happy to talk you through the benefits of each.
We also stock a selection of hamster treats, toys and accessories, which you can use to keep your hamster active and enriched. A hamster's teeth are always growing so we would recommend giving your hamster plenty to chew on to keep their teeth in shape and to keep them from overgrowing.
You should regularly health check your hamster when you are handling it. You should check that their eyes are bright and alert, the nostrils should be clean, their bottoms should be clean too. If you notice your hamster has diarrhea you should stop any treats, fruit and veg for 48 hours and just give them normal food. If it continues after this time, we would advise you get them checked by a vet. You should also check that your hamsters' teeth and nails do not become overgrown. We sell a range of mineral blocks and other wood chews that will help to keep their teeth short. If they do become overgrown, we recommend a vet visit. We sell nail clippers that are suitable if their nails become overgrown.
If you have any questions about the pet you have just purchased then please feel free to give the store you purchased it from a call.
We hope that you enjoy your newest companion.