teddy bear hamster

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"A teddy bear hamster can fill its cheek pouches with food equal to 20% of its body weight"

Teddy bear hamsters are also known as long-haired Syrian hamsters. These small mammals are herbivores, eating grains, vegetables and fruits. Teddy bear hamsters have very short tails, only half an inch long. They are solitary animals with an average lifespan of 2-3 years.

5 Unbelievable Teddy Bear Hamster Facts!

  • Teddy bear hamsters are native to Syria.
  • They can carry food and bedding in their cheek pouches.
  • These hamsters are nocturnal.
  • Their large ears and small black eyes make them look like teddy bears.
  • They are an easy pet to tame and require gentleness and patience.
teddy bear hamster 1

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teddy bear hamster scientific name

Syrian hamster eats carrots on blocks..
Syrian hamsters belong to a large family of more than 20 species

© stock_shot/Shutterstock.com

The teddy bear hamster's scientific name is Mesocricetus auratus . The word Mesocricetus means hamster in Latin, and the word auratus means gold. It is also known as the long-haired Syrian hamster and sometimes the golden hamster. These small animals belong to the hamster family and belong to the class Mammalia.

There are more than 20 kinds of hamsters. Some of these include:

  • winter white dwarf hamster
  • Roborowski Dwarf Hamster
  • chinese hamster
  • campbell dwarf hamster
  • Türkiye hamster

evolution and origin

Syrian hamster on a white background
The Syrian hamster, beloved by many pet lovers, was captured from Aleppo, Syria, hence the name

© Happy Monkey/Shutterstock.com

The ancestors of the teddy bear hamster family are believed to have arose in North Africa and Europe during the Miocene, about 11.2 to 16.4 million years ago, and in Asia about 6 to 11 million years ago. During the same period, a particularly tolerant animal belonging to the genus Hamster roamed North Africa, and it was this prehistoric rodent that gave rise to the critter known as the common hamster or European hamster.

The first known literature on the Syrian hamster dates back to the late 18th century in the Natural History of Aleppo written by the Scottish physician Alexander Russell.

Forty years later, George Robert Waterhouse, curator of the Zoological Society of London, named them golden hamsters.

Almost a century later, in 1930, scientist Israel Aharoni arrived in Aleppo in search of the famous critter. He was rewarded handsomely when he found the female and 11 pups of the species.

Aharoni was able to return to Hebrew University with the four siblings he raised — most of the rest were struggling to escape captivity.

Descendants of the four were also sent to England and the United States in the same decade and the next. The adorable little creature quickly won over pet owners on both sides of the Atlantic, and as a result quickly became a cherished addition to many families—a trend that continues to this day.

appearance and behavior

Teddy bear hamster on the rock
Teddy bear hamsters are very territorial and use their sharp teeth for protection.

© Anastasia Solovykh/Shutterstock.com

Teddy bear hamster fur can be a solid color or a combination of colors. Their hair can be solid black, brown, blonde or dark gray. Other teddy bear hamsters are characterized by a mix of colors such as gray or black with a white chest, brown with white stripes, or gold with white spots. The combinations are endless!

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These hamsters are about 6 inches long and weigh only 3.5 to 5.3 ounces. Dwarf hamsters are about half the size of teddy bear hamsters. Picture a dollar bill and you see something as long as an adult 6 inch teddy bear hamster. A teddy bear hamster weighing about 5 ounces is about the weight of a baseball. The longest teddy bear hamster is 7 inches, but this is rare.

Gerbils are another popular pet that come in various families and grow up to 4 inches. But its tail has gained another 4 inches in length!

While we are most familiar with these hamsters as pets, they do have some defensive features for use in the wild. Their cheek pouches are filled with food and bedding for a quick escape if a predator approaches. This enables them to move to a safer location without losing the items.

They are nocturnal, so moving from place to place at night may give them some cover from threats. Hamsters with black or dark fur are harder to spot by predators.

Teddy bear hamsters also have sharp teeth for protection. But if the critter is attacked by a dog or owl, even sharp teeth won't help.

Teddy bear hamsters are lonely. They don't get along well with dwarf hamsters or any other type of animal. These animals can be shy with people, but they can be tamed. It is important to move slowly with your hamster, as they may bite if startled.

Fancy Hamster vs Teddy Bear Hamster

fancy bear hamster
Fancy bear hamsters are the short-haired cousin of teddy bear hamsters and are therefore easier to care for

© Shadow526/Shutterstock.com

Fancy hamsters and teddy bear hamsters share many similar characteristics. They are both Syrian hamsters kept as pets. These hamsters eat the same type of food and are nocturnal. But there are some differences between the two.

One notable difference has to do with their coats. Teddy bear hamsters are long-haired, while fancy hamsters are short-haired.

This leads to differences related to coating maintenance. Wood shavings and dirt can get caught in a teddy bear hamster's long coat. A soft-bristled toothbrush is great for gently removing these debris.

A third difference between these creatures has to do with price. Some pet stores charge higher prices for fancy hamsters. Why? The name fancy means that the hamster is a little better quality than other hamsters. This is not true. There is little difference between these hamsters. Additionally, fancy hamsters have shorter coats and therefore require less maintenance than teddy bear hamster coats. Some pet store owners charge more for fancy hamsters because their short fur makes them easier to care for.

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teddy bear hamster eating
Teddy bear hamsters can still be found in the wild

©Sharon Snider/Shutterstock.com

Teddy bear hamsters are native to Syria. They thrive in arid climates. In the wild, they live in burrows underground to keep cool and safe from predators during the day. They come out at night to find food. Some Syrian hamsters still live in the wild today, but numbers are dwindling.

Teddy bear hamsters kept as pets can live in an aquarium or in a wire cage. These pets need a layer of shredded paper or aspen sawdust as bedding. They like to burrow into bedding or make a pile in a corner. These creatures are comfortable in a warm room with no cold drafts.

Predators and Threats

All Syrian hamsters are herbivores. They mash or chop a variety of plants and grains with their sharp teeth.

What Do Teddy Bear Hamsters Eat?

Hamster eating infographic
Both wild and tame Syrian hamsters require a herbivorous diet

© AZ-Animals.com

Wild and domesticated Syrian hamsters eat plants, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Hamsters living in the wild can only eat whatever plants are in their environment. Alternatively, pet teddy bear hamsters can eat various fruits, vegetables, snacks, etc. that the owner brings to it.

Some things are not suitable for hamsters, such as almonds and peanuts. These foods are too high in calories for hamsters to eat.

What Do Teddy Bear Hamsters Eat?

great horned owl
The owl is one of the many predators of the Syrian hamster


Some predators of wild hamsters include owls, foxes, and snakes. All of these animals have access to wild Syrian hamsters or share the same type of habitat. For example, snakes can follow a hamster into its burrow to catch it, and owls and foxes are also nocturnal like these hamsters.

The number of wild Syrian hamsters is declining. They are losing their habitat and are sometimes killed by farmers as pests. Their conservation status is fragile.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Syrian hamster on a white background
Syrian hamsters are prolific producers and can give birth to up to 20 pups

©Johannes Menge/Shutterstock.com

Teddy bear hamsters reach sexual maturity at 6 weeks of age. But they should not be bred until about 6 months old. Female teddy bear hamsters will not mate with males unless they are in heat. Being in heat means she's at the point in her menstrual cycle when she can get pregnant. Teddy bear hamsters are not social, so even male and female hamsters should not spend more than a few hours together. These animals can have multiple companions throughout their lives. The gestation period for this hamster is about 16 days. This is similar to the gestation period of pet mice, which is 19 to 21 days.

A female hamster usually has 6 to 12 pups or pups in a litter. Some females gave birth to 20 pups in one litter! Baby hamsters weigh less than an ounce, are hairless, and are born with their eyes closed. At 5 days old, their teeth and fur begin to grow. Pups' eyes open at about 2 weeks of age. They continue to be breastfed by their mother until they are 2 weeks old. At that time, the pups start eating solid food. At 3 or 4 weeks of age, baby hamsters look like smaller versions of adult hamsters. At 4 weeks of age, hamster pups can be separated from their mothers.

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Teddy bear hamsters have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years. The longest-lived hamster on record lived 7 years.

These hamsters are prone to a condition called wet tail. It causes bacteria in the gut, which can cause diarrhea and loss of appetite. Hamsters with this disease need to be taken to a small animal veterinarian for care.


The number of wild Syrian hamsters is unknown. But biologists think their numbers are dwindling, and they're listed as a vulnerable species.

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Teddy bear hamsters are also known as long-haired Syrian hamsters. These critters grow up to 6 inches long and weigh up to 5.3 ounces. They get their name from their resemblance to teddy bears with large ears, small black eyes, and small noses. These animals come in solid or mixed coat colors.

While there are some wild hamsters in Syria, many are kept as pets.

They are herbivores.

Yes, a teddy bear hamster who is petted gently and talked to with a soft voice can be friendly. That's why they are such popular pets!

No, they are not aggressive.

Like other hamsters, teddy bear hamsters can bite. They are especially prone to biting if they are frightened or frightened. Be aware that hamsters have poor eyesight. For this reason, it's best to talk to your pet hamster to let it know you're there before attempting to touch or handle it.

The lifespan of this hamster is 2 to 3 years. Of course, some people live longer.

When you own a pet hamster, it is your responsibility to provide it with the utmost care. This hamster can live in a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium with a wire cover to keep it safe. You may want to put a lock on the lid so the hamster can't climb up and push it open. This pet also has a good quality wire cage that is at least 1' wide x 2' long. The cage should be filled with shredded paper or aspen bedding 3 or 4 inches deep. Remember this animal loves to burrow!

Put fresh food and water into the cage once a day. Hamsters sometimes play with wheels or chew toys in their cages. They are nocturnal, so don't be surprised if you hear lots of digging and moving during the night.

Teddy bear hamster cages should be cleaned thoroughly once a week with mild soap and hot water to prevent bacterial growth.

Teddy bear hamsters for sale in pet stores. Also, sometimes people who cannot keep a small animal will send the small animal to a local animal shelter. Teddy bear hamsters are sometimes available for adoption at animal shelters.