What you may know as a golden hamster, officially known as Mesocricetus auratus, is a kind of small rodent that belongs to the Cricetinae subfamily, and it comprises all 25 kinds of hamsters. Another name for golden hamsters are Syrian hamsters, and they are extremely popular as pets. They can grow to be 4-7 inches (10.2-17.8 cm) long, with the females often being bigger than males. In terms of appearance, their fur color can be reddish brown, golden brown, or sable, often with a faint creamy hue, white or even black in some patterns.
Originally found in the northwestern area of Syria, golden hamsters are accustomed to hot, dry desert environments. These durable rodents can adapt to any climate, making them great pets all over the world and their popularity for use in scientific research. Like all other types of hamsters, golden hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleep during the day. Furthermore, they are highly territorial, and should be kept away from one another. Placing pairs of golden hamsters in a cage will easily be seen by the other hamster as hostility, and they will begin fighting with each other.
Out of all the various hamster breeds available to own as pets, golden hamsters are the most popular. They are easy to take care of, and will be tolerant to the human scent if exposed to it at a young age. Their dietary needs can easily be met by eating commercially available hamster food, which is made from many different grains and seeds. They can also eat pieces of vegetables from broccoli or fresh carrots. Hamsters can eat pieces of apple, too, however citrus fruits should be avoided due to their acidity. A water bottle filled with fresh water should always be easily accessible to your hamsters; do not give them water in a bowl.
In terms of life span, healthy golden hamsters can be expected to live for two to three years, though outliers have lived as long as five years. Their cage needs to be spacious enough so that they can run around and get some good exercise in, while having space for things like a sleeping area, bathroom area, and hamster toys. One common mistake owners make is trying to play with their golden hamster while it is sleeping, which occurs during the day. Remember, they are nocturnal creatures, and waking them up from their slumber makes them extremely irritated. Furthermore, do not try to handle your pet if your hand has the scent of food or when your hamster is irritated, as it can easily bite you.
Female golden hamsters are in heat approximately every four days, and during mating season, release a strong smell. The gestation period for hamster pups are only 16 days, and a female can give birth to a litter of between eight to 20 pups, though on average the number is more around eight to ten. Golden hamsters are capable of mating when they are only four to five weeks old.