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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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