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Syrian hamster facts for kids

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Syrian Hamster
Conservation status
Scientific classification
M. auratus

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus), also known as the golden hamster, is a breed of hamster. They first lived in Syria. They are also known as golden hamsters because the first ones kept as pets were gold coloured. Now there are over 100 different colours because of selective breeding. Little is known about their life in the wild. They are kept as pets in many countries including the United States, Canada most countries in Europe and many more.


A Syrian hamster's anatomy is similar to other rodents. It is very close to other hamsters.



Syrian hamsters have 16 teeth. There are 4 incisors and 12 molars. There is a space between the incisors and the molars. That space is called the diastema.

Spine and tail

The spine, like in other animals, is made up of several bones called vertebrae. A Syrian hamster has 43-44 vertebrae. Thirteen to fourteen of them are in the tail.


All hamsters have short legs. Because of this, their legs have small bones which can get broken more easily. Obese hamsters are more likely to have problems with their legs.

Sense organs

Syrian hamsters have, like most animals, five senses. They can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. They have bad eyesight. They use smell to find food. Some people believe they are colorblind and don't see well in daylight. This is because they are nocturnal and can see blue-green colours but not red colours. Other evidence suggests they can see very well. Their tongue senses taste in the same way as humans do, salty at the tip of the tongue, bitter at the back and sweet at the sides.


Not much is known about Syrian hamster breeding in the wild. They have been bred well in captivity (i.e. in labs, by breeders and when kept as pets). People have learned a lot about their breeding. Breeding in captivity is probably the same as in the wild.

Syrian hamsters are believed to have the shortest gestation period of any animal. Their gestation is 16 days.

They also have a short ovulation period. Syrian hamsters come into heat once every 4 days for about 1-2 hours.

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