If you want to know about the life of a Syrian (golden) hamster in nature, about his friends and enemies, then click here: Golden hamsters in nature
The golden, or Syrian hamster has now become a real pet, as well as a laboratory animal. The golden hamster is very sociable, interesting and very funny, so it has become very popular among animal lovers.
By selection and selection, various varieties or phenoforms of domestic golden hamsters have been created, which differ from each other in coat color and hairline length. There are golden hamsters with a monochromatic beige, blue, black and gray color, there are hamsters with spotty color, as well as albinos - i.e. completely white hamsters in the hair of which any coloring pigment is completely absent.
In golden hamsters on the sides are skin fat glands that secrete an odorous secretion. These glands look like small baldness, while they are somewhat larger in males and smaller in females.
Golden hamsters are single animals by nature, therefore, only one animal of the same sex can be kept in a cage, otherwise fierce fights between them cannot be avoided. But heterosexual animals live very peacefully, although relations between themselves are clarified regularly. An all-metal cage is most suitable for keeping golden hamsters, as they very actively and smartly bite and gnaw any wooden structures. For these purposes, you can also successfully use aquariums or any other glass vessels of round and rectangular shapes. One pair of golden hamsters is suitable for a cage whose dimensions should not be less than 40x3xx3 cm.
At the bottom of the cage, it is best to pour sawdust into the pan that absorbs all hamster secretions well. For the content of golden hamsters, the air temperature of 20-22 ° C can be considered optimal, and its decrease below 18 ° C should not be allowed. It is believed that if the regular daily fluctuations in air temperature in their home exceed 3-4 ° C, then this can lead to hamsters hibernating.
The golden hamster is characterized by very high mobility and extraordinary dexterity. That is why you always need to be very careful when opening the cage, otherwise this nimble animal can jump out. And in order to provide the hamster with the necessary level of physical activity, it is necessary to place a convenient ladder for climbing and a wheel in the cage.
And to equip the nest, it is desirable to put a small box with an inlet in which the animals can not only relax, but also reproduce - i.e. to breed there. Hamster nests are made of various available building materials: hay, pieces of cloth, cotton wool, paper scraps.
Hamsters are very thrifty animals that cannot stay calm until they drag all feed from their feeder to their pantry. Therefore, when cleaning the home of hamsters, in the nest, it is necessary to revise its stocks from time to time and remove old spoiled stocks (pieces of fruits, vegetables), and it is better to leave grain and crackers so that the owner of the stocks is not very nervous.
Golden hamsters should be fed with varied and complete feeds. The basis of the diet should be a grain mixture of millet, oats, flax and corn, fresh green vegetation, such as lettuce, tradescantia, young dandelion leaves, is very important. Of the vegetables, golden hamsters prefer juicy root vegetables of carrots. It should be remembered that there must necessarily be a variety of complete feeds, as animals are very sensitive to a lack of vitamins.
Usually, golden hamsters have enough moisture in succulent feeds. Despite this, there should always be clean water in the cage, since a small amount of golden hamsters drink milk and water. During the meal, the Syrian hamster stuffs cheek pouches with food almost to the limit, acting with the front paws no worse than we do with our hands. Then the hamsters stack their food supplies, somewhere close to their nest.
At home, golden hamsters breed easily. When keeping them at a temperature of 20-25 ° C and a good varied diet, they can bring up to 3-4 litters per year, on average 6-7 cubs each. To obtain healthy offspring from young females, the first time to bring them with males should be no earlier than at two to three months of age. In males, puberty occurs earlier, and they are usually ready for mating at the age of 35-40 days. The female reproductive ability persists for a year or two, when she is able to produce viable offspring.
To obtain offspring, the female is planted in the male during estrus, and then the behavior of the animals is monitored. It often happens that the female does not accept the male, then the resulting fight can end in the death of one of them. If the female has shown aggression, or the male is aggressive towards the female, then she is sent to another partner or returned to the previous male after 2-3 days. It is noticed that the most suitable time for mating golden hamsters is evening, from 19 to 22 hours.
Most often, a golden hamster female planted during the hunting season favors the partner, and mating is quick and successful. In this case, up to 15-20 acts of mating usually occur within an hour. The female can remain with the male until the beginning of pregnancy, then she begins to show more and more pronounced aggressiveness to him. This moment cannot be missed, and the animals must be seated.
The duration of the pregnancy period in the female is 16-18 days, sometimes drags on to 20-22 days. During this period, the female becomes less active, carefully moving without making sudden movements. Childbirth most often occurs at night. In young females, in the first litter there are an average of 4-5 cubs, and in subsequent ones - 8-10 or more. Lactation usually lasts up to 21-25 days. In her life, one female can have a maximum of 19 births, but usually less. During the breeding period (pregnancy and lactation), the female body undergoes great physiological stresses, so she must receive milk and various foods rich in vitamins during this period, otherwise their lack can cause cannibalism.
A golden hamster cub develops quickly and already at the age of 24 days pigmentation appears on his skin, and soon the whole baby is covered with a brown fluff. If the first week they eat only breast milk, then on the 9-10th day the cubs already eat pieces of white bread, other food that was accidentally caught or intentionally brought into the nest by the female. From about 12 days old, still blind, hamsters begin to crawl out of the nest in search of food, and their eyes open on 15-16 days. It is not recommended to pick up babies during feeding, as well as clean the nest box, which can lead to stress in the female and, as a result, to eat offspring. Young growth becomes completely independent at the age of 24-28 days and then it is separated from the mother and sent to a new home.