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Anyone ever had a Syrian hamster?

Zonlover

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What was/is your experiences in their personality, difficulty in owning, etc.?
 

Sylvi_

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I’ve kept Syrians for years. They’re really such amazing animals with a lot of character! They do need a decently large enclosure and daily interaction. Minimum requirements in the US for hams are 450sq inches.
I use a 55 gallon tank which is roughly 620sq inches, but another similar-sized choice is a 40ga breeder. Some owners even use IKEA detolf’s which measure almost 1000sq inches.

I haven’t found them to be difficult to keep. But they do need a lot more then they’re commonly “marketed” to need. If you’ve had rodents before, you won’t find anything substantially different with these guys.
Onto personalities! I’ve had 4 Syrians now so I’ll share my experiences with them.

My first was from a reputable breeder and I had her for just under 2 years. Kirika never truly cared for humans and had one heck of a bite, but I loved watching her & carefully offering her treats.
My next, Calla, was a very docile and mild-mannered female who passed away at around 2 1/2. She enjoyed having me talk to her and being held for short internals before bed.

My first male was Oliver, he was similar to Calla in enjoying some attention but he was also very energetic. He would much rather roll in his sand bath and bolt around in his play area. I adopted him from a woman who got a pet store hamster who happened to be pregnant, and sadly he passed in his sleep soon after his first birthday.

My current Syrian is Lua. She was a returned impulse-buy at a pet-shop so I went ahead and brought her home last January. (Once they’re returned, they can no longer be sold for profit so it’s worth calling and seeing if they have any for adoption.)
She’s by far been my most cuddly hamster. She loves attention and will crawl up to ride around in my sleeves.

All in all, they’re amazing animals and a joy to get to know. I’d absolutely recommend them.
Hope I could help! I’ll add some cute pics of Lua and my set up. :heart: 369E5D1A-E9A8-4271-99D6-C36F32A40183.jpeg E36438AC-25EC-47A4-AA71-EE69B4FA2E0A.jpeg 4AE59F7A-4540-4449-8515-481691456F3B.jpeg 1F48B889-4BA5-48CB-B7AD-BB150072D309.jpeg
 

Zonlover

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What do you think is the minimum bedding depth? The cage I have(currently unoccupied) is the Prevue 528. The base is 6 inches deep. I'm worried about the required bedding depth vs. the amount I could put in this cage.
 

Sylvi_

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What do you think is the minimum bedding depth? The cage I have(currently unoccupied) is the Prevue 528. The base is 6 inches deep. I'm worried about the required bedding depth vs. the amount I could put in this cage.
It depends on how I have it arranged but most of my tank is 3 inches except for the the side with her hides, which is closer to 6-7. Every other time I re-arrange I’ll take those out and put up to 9in on one side just so she can get some tunnel action.

I checked out the cage. It could work for a chill Syrian but a better alternative would be a tank or even a bin cage. They’re pretty economical to make and offer a ton of burrowing opportunities.
Bar chewing & climbing is a common problem with hams and with the added difficulties of the bedding depth, I’d recommend a bin or tank.
 

Birdlee

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It depends on how I have it arranged but most of my tank is 3 inches except for the the side with her hides, which is closer to 6-7. Every other time I re-arrange I’ll take those out and put up to 9in on one side just so she can get some tunnel action.

I checked out the cage. It could work for a chill Syrian but a better alternative would be a tank or even a bin cage. They’re pretty economical to make and offer a ton of burrowing opportunities.
Bar chewing & climbing is a common problem with hams and with the added difficulties of the bedding depth, I’d recommend a bin or tank.
I've kept both dwarf and Syrian hamsters (although I haven't had them for several years), and I agree- tanks are much much better than cages for hamsters, especially Syrians. I was given a massive setup of hamster tubes and two cages I connected to make a large home for my dwarfs, but after they passed away I got a Syrian and got a 60 gallon tank at a yard sale, and tried out a tank. And by far, a take was WAY better. Easier to clean, easier to see how my hamster was doing, and honestly I was always worried that my dwarf hamsters would get stuck in their tubes, so having a tank was a relief. I later rescued a couple dwarfs again, and bought another tank, and they loved that as well. I had no issues personally with Crittertrail style cages, but I've always felt safer with tanks.
 

WeasleyLover

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I had an awesome Syrian named Hambert. He was adopted from Craigslist and the poor guy was in a tiny little cage infested with bugs and had a tiny little wheel that he couldn't even fit his body in. We made him a cage out of a huge bin, a wire fry basket/tray (the bin was tall, he couldn't reach to chew it), and some zip ties. He loved his cage and had plenty of room to move around in there. The only downside to the bin cage was that no matter how well I cleaned it, it always retained a little bit of a pee smell.

Ham had an awesome personality. I could handle him easily, although he would rather run around than be held. He loved treats and would put his cute little paws on my hand while he grabbed one. He had one heck of a stink face and looked so disheveled. I loved him! He lived a good life and passed away from old age.

One thing my guy really loved was his ferret tunnel. I buried it under his bedding with just the openings exposed, and he liked to to hang out and sleep in there. He even customized it by making an extra hole out the top that went right into his hut! :roflmao:

Wheels are really important, and Syrian hamsters need big wheels so that they don't hurt their backs. The bigger the better. No mesh or wire wheels because their feet could get stuck. Also, balls are bad for hamsters! I know it sounds cute to have a hamster running around the floor in a ball, but they are stressful and bad for their backs.
 

Zonlover

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I had an awesome Syrian named Hambert. He was adopted from Craigslist and the poor guy was in a tiny little cage infested with bugs and had a tiny little wheel that he couldn't even fit his body in. We made him a cage out of a huge bin, a wire fry basket/tray (the bin was tall, he couldn't reach to chew it), and some zip ties. He loved his cage and had plenty of room to move around in there. The only downside to the bin cage was that no matter how well I cleaned it, it always retained a little bit of a pee smell.

Ham had an awesome personality. I could handle him easily, although he would rather run around than be held. He loved treats and would put his cute little paws on my hand while he grabbed one. He had one heck of a stink face and looked so disheveled. I loved him! He lived a good life and passed away from old age.

One thing my guy really loved was his ferret tunnel. I buried it under his bedding with just the openings exposed, and he liked to to hang out and sleep in there. He even customized it by making an extra hole out the top that went right into his hut! :roflmao:
Awww, he sounds adorable! Pictures?
Also, balls are bad for hamsters! I know it sounds cute to have a hamster running around the floor in a ball, but they are stressful and bad for their backs.
I agree 100%.
 

Birdlee

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I had an awesome Syrian named Hambert. He was adopted from Craigslist and the poor guy was in a tiny little cage infested with bugs and had a tiny little wheel that he couldn't even fit his body in. We made him a cage out of a huge bin, a wire fry basket/tray (the bin was tall, he couldn't reach to chew it), and some zip ties. He loved his cage and had plenty of room to move around in there. The only downside to the bin cage was that no matter how well I cleaned it, it always retained a little bit of a pee smell.

Ham had an awesome personality. I could handle him easily, although he would rather run around than be held. He loved treats and would put his cute little paws on my hand while he grabbed one. He had one heck of a stink face and looked so disheveled. I loved him! He lived a good life and passed away from old age.

One thing my guy really loved was his ferret tunnel. I buried it under his bedding with just the openings exposed, and he liked to to hang out and sleep in there. He even customized it by making an extra hole out the top that went right into his hut! :roflmao:

Wheels are really important, and Syrian hamsters need big wheels so that they don't hurt their backs. The bigger the better. No mesh or wire wheels because their feet could get stuck. Also, balls are bad for hamsters! I know it sounds cute to have a hamster running around the floor in a ball, but they are stressful and bad for their backs.
Tunnels and sturdy plastic wheels were by far my little guys' favorites! And I agree on the hamster ball front- they're common for kids with hamsters because parents may not trust that the hamster won't get lost or dropped if it's just being held by a kid and see a ball as a way to keep them safe. I kept hamsters as a kid as well, but my dad didn't trust hamster balls because he'd heard about injuries from them, so we took a large cardboard box and cut it in half horizontally to make a play area so I could spend time with them out of their cage while decreasing the risk of younger me accidentally losing them. The walls were tall enough to keep them in while being low enough that I could reach in and feed treats or pet them while sitting down while being wide enough for them to run around. The downside is that they can chew through cardboard, but they shouldn't be left in there alone long enough to chew through it. Also, your Hambert sounds like a delightful little guy, and my Syrians also had disgruntled little perpetual "stink faces" as well!
 
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Sandoval

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Hi, I haven't owned a Syrian hamster, but I bought a golden hamster some years ago. It was all new for me, but I needed a friend to spend time with.
 

Sandoval

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Hi, I haven't had a Syrian hamster, but I bought a dwarf hamster a few years ago. It was all new for me, but I needed a friend to spend time with. Of course, there are a lot of platforms that can inform and teach you a lot of things. I've looked through multiple blogs, but cutepetcare.com works the best for me. I love the way it looks, the information they share, and how well-structured it is. You can give it a look, and I'm sure you'll find answers to a lot of your questions. The best thing is that they have real professionals who provide the information.
 

mubinkhan

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Hey there! I used to have a Syrian hamster and I absolutely loved her. She was such a little ball of energy and had the cutest little personality. In terms of difficulty, I didn't find it too hard to take care of her, but there are definitely some things to keep in mind, like making sure they have enough space to move around and play.
 

Spearmint

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Never owned a hamster, but I've done loads of research.
On terms of difficulty, upkeeping them isn't super hard, it's the initial setup. Tanks are expensive! Spot cleaning should be done for pee stains and other messes of course.
 

H.Z

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I used to own a black syrian hamster male named Mole. He was just the sweetest little guy. He had issues with his private parts and had to get ultrasounds every 3 months. He was so brave during his vet visits he never bit anyone. Syrian males tend to usually be pretty mellow, whilst females may be a lot more hyper.
 

Emma&pico

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I had Syrian hamsters when I was younger and they were amazing little pets

lighting and fudge were so sweet fudge used to escape his cage and sit at top of stairs or climb downstairs to find us scared my auntie to death one night just sat on top of stairs on his hind legs :rofl:

I will agree with @H.Z Males are a lot calmer than females my female domino/ Nancy were crazy still super lovely still but wasn’t as laid back as males definitely had to read their body language or their would nip males were tolerant
 

Emma&pico

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They definitely need a lot more space than you think super active on a night
 

NBGwen

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My 'old' girl, Shakira, has been one of the best Syrian hams I've been around (I had two as a child). I say old as she's about 2. She has a huge lump that I'm taking her to the vet for (everything crossed it's 'just' an abscess). My first one lived almost 4 years - that was about 40 years ago! The information out there now is fantastic compared to when I was young. Syrians are worth it, but you have to give them proper attention to ensure they don't get nippy. My girl is nippy with strangers, but I handle her daily and she's fantastic.
 

Xoetix

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I did years ago! He was a doll - and an escape artist. NOTHING could keep him contained. Dude was Houdini reincarnated. But friendly as all get out.
 

mubinkhan

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Hey there! I used to have a Syrian hamster and I absolutely loved her. She was such a little ball of energy and had the cutest little personality. In terms of difficulty, I didn't find it too hard to take care of her, but there are definitely some things to keep in mind, like making sure they have enough space to move around and play.

Speaking of play, I actually found this great article on thepetproperty that helped me find the best toys for my hamster. It made such a big difference in her happiness and well-being.
 
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H.Z

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Speaking of play, I actually found this great article on thepetproperty that helped me find the best toys for my hamster. It made such a big difference in her happiness and well-being.
@mubinkhan this article actually promotes a lot of dangerous misinformation:

- Hamsters don't chew on the bars of their cage from the lack of chew toys. It's a stress behaviour common in hamsters living in too small cages. Giving them chew toys propably won't help much.
- Hamsters aren't good climbers. They have poor vision and can easily fall of platforms and other high toys.
-" You want to provide more space to explore, but not so much that the cage becomes too crowded. " - Hamsters actually love crowded cages. It makes them feel safe.
- "Plush items are more of a general toy, but your hamster may enjoy carrying it around their cage and using it to build their nest or burrow." - chewing on plush and using the stuffing as a nesting material could potentially be deadly for your hamster. Hamsters can get caught in the threads or injest them which leads to suffocation.
- " Hamster balls are plastic spheres that you put your hamster in so they safely explore outside their enclosure. It’s a fun way to interact with your hamster while they can explore more areas outside of their enclosure in a safe way. " - Hamster balls are not safe nor enjoyable. They have tiny holes which provide little ventilation and cause the risk of breaking a hamters leg. As I mentioned earlier, hamsters have poor eyesight which is even poorer inside those plastic balls. Hamsters don't know where they're going and can bump into objects. Also balls are almost impossible to maneuver or stop once they get going.

Please look up safe toy ideas. For example here:
 
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