Besides a hamster being lost, nothing strikes fear into the heart of a hamster owner more than hamster health problems. Hamsters are so small, that it seems impossible for a sick hamster to overcome its illness.

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Hamsters are small rodents that are commonly kept as house pets. They are distinguishable from other rodents due to their short tails, stubby legs and small ears. Hamsters have many different colors, including black, grey, brown, white, yellow, red or a mixture of several colors.

Once the type of hamster housing is chosen, it’s time to outfit your hamster’s abode with bedding, toys, water bottles, an exercise wheel and other fun hamster home accessories. The choice of hamster beddingis important, because hamsters enjoy digging and burrowing in it.

Your goal as a hamster owner is to learn all about hamsters to make both your life and your hamster’s better.

Hamsters have very poor eyesight. Their scent glands on their backs secrete an easily identifiable smell. To find their way around, they leave a trail of scent by rubbing their backs against objects. When a hamster needs to find their way back home, they will use this scent trail as a guide.

Part of the fun of caring for hamsters is interacting with them. Keep in mind though that most hamsters enjoy doing their own thing and don’t often like to be cuddled or held.

Wild hamsters will hibernate if the weather gets cold enough. Hamsters will wake up from their hibernation periodically to eat. If there isn't enough food stored, hamsters will wait to hibernate until their surplus is to their liking.

Some hamsters are very social, while others are loners. For example, the Syrian hamster doesn't like living near other hamsters. They are very territorial and should never be put in a cage with other hamsters. It will bite the other hamster, and may even kill it. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, are social and like to have a friend nearby.

Hamster cages, hamster tanks, hamster habitats – many options are available for housing hamsters. The ideal hamster cage is safe and kept clean, and once those qualities are met, choosing which hamster cage or habitat is best for you and your hamster is often determined by available space and budget.

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Don’t forget the importance of water for hamsters. Water must be fresh, clean and always available.

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The Syrian hamster is one of the most adorable small pets that many American families love. These hamsters are also popularly known as Golden Hamsters or Teddy Bear Hamsters (the long-haired variety) and are likely the most popular hamster varieties kept as pets.

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In 1930, Israel Aharoni, a zoologist and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, captured a mother hamster and her litter of pups in Aleppo, Syria. The hamsters were bred in Jerusalem as laboratory animals. Some escaped from the cage through a hole in the floor, and most of the wild golden hamsters in Israel today are believed to be descended from this litter.[6]

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Hamsters are prey animals, so owners usually must work to gain their trust. Hamsters also seem to be masters at hiding and escaping, so keep them in a secure habitat and take care whenever you let them out to play.

The pet hamster species originated in arid areas that include Syria, Russia, China and Mongolia. The Syrian hamster was the first to arrive in the United States in the late 1930s and gained popularity as a pet in the 1950s. Since that time, many people have fallen under the spell of these furry busybodies.

Hamsters' name comes from the German word “hamstern,” which means “hoard.” This is a very apt way to describe how hamsters eat. They have pouches in their cheeks that they stuff with food. Then, they will carry their hoard back to their colony so they can eat it later. Pet hamsters will often store food under their cage bedding.

Here are some fun and interesting facts about these adorable and popular little pets you may not already know.

Hamsters like to eat seeds, grains, nuts, cracked corn, fruits and vegetables. Wild hamsters also eat insects, frogs, lizards and other small animals. A captive hamster's diet should be at least 16 percent protein and 5 percent fat, according to Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

Syrian hamsters mark their burrows with secretions from special scent glands on their hips. Male hamsters in particular lick their bodies near the glands, creating damp spots on the fur, then drag their sides along objects to mark their territory. Females also use bodily secretions and feces.

Golden Hamster

Since the species was named, the genus Cricetus has been subdivided and this species (together with several others) was separated into the genus Mesocricetus, leading to the currently accepted scientific name for the golden hamster of Mesocricetus auratus.[6][full citation needed]

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Although hamsters are pet rodents, they often can’t eat the same food as other pet rodents. Hamster nutrition needs might be similar to gerbil nutrition needs, but don’t ever feed a hamster food that’s made for a rat, chinchilla or other pet rodent. Hamsters need to eat hamster food.

Syrian hamsters are used to model the human medical conditions including various cancers, metabolic diseases, non-cancer respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and general health concerns.[10] In 2006-07, Syrian hamsters accounted for 19% of the total animal research participants in the United States.[11]

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Syrian hamsters originate from Syria and were first described and officially named in 1839 by British zoologist George Robert Waterhouse. Waterhouse's original specimen was a female hamster; he named it Cricetus auratus or the "Syrian hamster". The skin of the specimen is kept at the Natural History Museum in London.[6]

Once a hamster is added to the family, hamster owners soon realize that learning all about hamsters and becoming familiar with hamster facts helps in caring for hamsters. So be sure to check out all the hamster information on SmallAnimalChannel.

A safe hamster cage prevents escapes and injuries. Hamster owners play a vital role in their hamster’s health with proper hamster housing maintenance. Different types of hamster cages and housing require varying degrees of difficulty to clean. If lifting a heavy, glass aquarium once or twice a week for cleaning isn’t your thing, then avoid that type of hamster housing. Hey, no one said caring for hamsters came without a bit of work!

Syrian hamsters are less prone to diseases and infections. However, there are certain conditions that pet owners should watch out for. If your hamster has Wet Tail condition, consult a vet. Usually, keeping your hamster clean and quarantined is advised during this condition.

The size of adult animals ranges from 5 to 7 in (13 to 18 cm) long, with a lifespan of two to three years (3-4 years in domestic homes, 2-3 years in the wild).[3] Body mass is in the range of 120-125 g.[4]

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Here’s a video of a long-haired hamster (a.k.a “Teddy Bear hamster”)

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