Maintaining a quality syrian hamster

Now, finally after you have brought home your new friend, the most critical step next is how you as an owner, planned to welcome your new pet.

A lot of syrian hamster owners failed to realize the importance of providing good bedding and proper balance diet as the standard maintenance for the syrian hamster. One can successfully adopt a healthy syrian pup, but eventually failing to maintain a good diet and proper lodgings will ended up creating a poor quality syrian hamster as a pet. When this happens, the common questions which will come from owners are " How come my pet is not big and chubby? Has the breeder trick me into thinking the syrian is of a good quality? This syrian hamster cannot be coming from a good syrian line" 

All of the above blames, sadly will be pointed on either the breeder or the poor creature but never on the owner.

Now the question is:

How does a good quality syrian hamster look like?

Below are its criteria:

Physical Appearances

1) Round body with broad steady shoulders.

2) Rounded face with button nose

3) Round alert eyes with no third eyelids.

4) Round & non- pointed shaped ears with approximately two fingers spacing apart from each other.

5) Adult syrian hamster size should at least be between 10 to 15 cm, with an average weight between 140 to 200 grams. (Any adult syrian hamster which falls under a smaller size may actually indicate that the mummy syrian had been breed at an early age of below four months old, which is not the right age for syrian hamster breeding)

6) Do not be confused between a huge size syrian hamster with an obesity.

Signs of an inbreed syrian hamster

1) Odd eye (The color of the hamster eyes are different from each other)

- If both its parents had been properly breed, one of its line generation must have been an inbreed hamster)

- It is important to get to know the syrian pup's line background before it can really be classify as healthy.

2) The spacing between the two ears are less than two fingers spacing and the shaped of the ears are pointed. 

3) Flat and pointed narrow face

4) Small eyes

5) Kinked tail

(More information can be obtained from the NATIONAL HAMSTER COUNCIL)

Proper Lodgings 

To be able to provide your pet with the proper place to live in is most important to determine its life span. Of course an average syrian hamster can live up to three years old, but failing to give the creature the correct living condition will actually shorten its lifespan to only one year. 

What a syrian hamster requires:

1) Spacious cage is very much advised, preferably at least a one feet aquarium tank with lots of accessories and toys. This is an important factor to prevent hamster boredom,, avoiding bad habit for instance "the bar cage biting" This habit is bad for the syrian hamster, physically teeth growth and can cause severe injury to its mouth and nose.

2) A 21 cm Wheel will create a contented and stress free pet.

3) Chew Sticks or Hay is recommended for teeth growth 

4) Fresh food and water to be top up regularly.

5) Fresh vegetables, fruits and boiled eggs at least once a week.

6) Its owner's quality time together. 

- YES! It needs love and affection in order to be happy and healthy.

What kind of bedding is recommended and which type of bedding to avoid.

1) Carefresh, kaytee and other recycle paper bedding are strongly recommended for small animals. For owners or breeders who have large collection of syrian hamsters and are on the budget, Aspen wood shavings can served as the alternative bedding choice. However, no matter how small the budget is, NEVER lay Pine or Cedar wood shavings as an option for their bedding. Pine and Cedar bedding will cause skin allergies, eye irritations and cancer to these little creature in long term effect due to the dust and other chemicals in its content.

2) Please be generous enough to provide ample bedding for the syrian hamster. These creatures love to burrow and dig. Too little of bedding layout in the cage can cause discomfort and cannot restrain odors. If you cannot afford the minimal budget for this creature, the best is not to keep one or switch to a cheaper maintenance creature as your pet.

3) Most importantly, please ensure you change to new set of bedding and clean the cage thoroughly at least once a week. 

Grooming creates bonding.

1) A lot of owners tend to leave the pet unattended after owning it for a while or simply regard grooming as something which is minor. Even though, hamsters are clean and independent creature by nature, they do require human assistance once in a while. Imagine this, they are kept in a captivity by human, in a constrain area where they consume their meals, sleep and pee / poo. No matter how frequent they are able to groom themselves, bacteria is still within their living environment. Therefore a bit of human grooming will really be appreciated to help minimize the germs and bacteria.

a) Once a week of grooming with water- less pet shampoo.

b) Frequent brushing especially for long hair syrian hamster.

c) Routine check on its ears, eyes & teeth. 

Well, having mentioned all of the above, if you are truly a genuine pet lover , you will find the above said simply a brush and nothing so complicated. Syrian hamsters are exotic pets and require high maintenance to remain beautiful and tamed. 

The Efforts and Patience

So, finally after getting comfortable with your new companion, there is the last and most important steps that you as an owner got to be prepare of. Their health. Like many other pet animals, they are bound to fall sick and exposed to several common illness and challenges. Most owners eventually took the easy way out when this healthy pet turned to become sickly and is affecting their family health. This easy way out requires no hard word or money involved : Abandoning the poor creature to the wild. 

Frequent picked places are, 

a) Dustbins /  Rubbish Chutes

b) Bushes / under big trees in the parks 

c) Void decks

d) Drains 

e) Small forests

f) Playgrounds


Bar Chewing

Syrian hamster loves exploring and has lots of energy. It requires lots of chew toys and proper tubes to keep them busy. Lacking of attention and a bored living conditions can lead to  picking up of bad habits which can affect their physical health. One of the common bad habits in syrian hamster is bar chewing and once it has started, it is almost impossible to stop this habit. Severe bar chewing habit can cause injuries to the hamster's gums, teeth, nose and mouth area. Any untreated cuts or wounds can cause infection and skin diseases, which can endangered us human especially to young children.

Great Escapers

Syrian Hamster is known to be good in escaping. A large aquarium tank will make a suitable housing for syrian hamster but even that does not guarantee this creature will stay contented in the cage. The cage needs to be carefully itemised and positioned. 

Weather Condition.

A constant temperature is what we are looking for: Avoid direct sunlight and radiators. In very cold weather, provide more bedding or move the cage somewhere warmer. Having a temperatures below 10°C, your pet may hibernate, becoming very still but you can help by warming him up gently by holding him in your hands. 

Common health problems

!) Diarrhea- Syrian hamsters are prompt to diarrhea caused by overfeeding of too much green food, fruit or it can be due to stress. Ensure the pet gets a well balanced diet which include greens, good brand of hamster mixed food and plenty of clean water. Timothy hay may also helps to give the creature an extra good supplement and it is good for teeth grin and weight gain. 

2) Wet Tail - A bacterial infection which causes severe diarrhea, and is mostly seen in young Syrian hamsters, especially a syrian pup which is trying to settle down in its new environment.


a) A stickiness of the bottom and tail area

b) Pet may appear as though it has stomach ache, hunching itself up. It is highly contagious so ensure you wash your hands and clean out the cage thoroughly. A sanitizer will helps a great deal to re ensure cleanliness and germs free living environment.

3) Skin irritation / Infection

a) Skin irritation is very common issue in syrian hamster. It is caused by negligence of the owner and usage of poor quality bedding. This unhygienic living condition can welcome the growth of bacteria known as fungus, which in time multiply, causing mites / skin allergies. This disease is contagious to human and the infected human will suffer skin problems known as Scabies. This bacteria is commonly cause by lack of pet grooming and unclean cage area.

4) Dental problems - Syrian hamsters' teeth grow continuously and can become overgrown unless proper care is taken to keep them ground down. Provide gnaw blocks, gnaws sticks or wooden toys for your pet to chew on. 

Constance weekly health check & grooming

Get into the habit of examining your pet carefully every week. It is also a good idea to keep a constant monitoring on its weight. Constant grooming creates good bonding between pet owners and the animal.

Check that your Syrian hamster's behavior is normal - active and playful in the evening. 

Gauge how they walk, look out for limping, or signs of pain. A sick pet will be irritable and may bite more frequently.

1) Mouth and nose - the nose should be clean and dry - sneezing and runny nose are signs of cold or flu. 

2) Check to ensure that your pet's teeth haven't grown too long. See whether they're misaligned or chipped

3) Eyes - The eyes should be bright, and not runny / watery, which could be a sign of an allergy or a cold.

4) Cheeks - Any presence lumps in the cheeks indicate an abscess. It is likely to be an impacted cheek pouch. The lump may be so large it may force the eye to close. This will need professional treatment, be emptied and rinsed, with the help of a vet.

5) Fur - Screen for patches of hair loss, which could be the result of rubbing against the cage or fur chewing. This can be a sign of boredom or the result of abrasive bedding. Hair loss is also linked to protein deficiency. Check for signs of itching combined with any hair loss - this could be a symptom of parasites or ringworm.

6) Nails - Nails grow continuously. Playing with wooden toys will keep them short, but check to make sure they're not overgrown. If they are, your vet / groomer will clip them safely.

Round body, Round & alert eyes, Clear & Dry nose, Round & Non- Pointed ears with approx 2 fingers spacing apart from each other. Round face.

A spacious cage will create a comfortable pet

21cm wheel helps promotes a long life & healthy pet

Fresh vegetables will contributes 60% to the growth of the syrian pup.

Timothy hay & good quality syrian hamster food mixed helps build a strong immune system

Good Bedding & frequent Grooming helps maintain a quality syrian hamster

Problems with bar cages

Importance of human bonding creates trust and understanding between a human & the rodent

With the proper care, syrian hamster makes ideal pet for children.