Looking online there are so many different types of hamsters available in the US. Teddy bear hamsters seem to be the most popular. There are many different websites dedicated to this type of hamster, so what exactly is a teddy bear hamster? We've done the research to bring you a clear and easy-to-follow answer.
A teddy bear hamster is not actually a breed, it is just a nickname given to long-haired Syrian hamsters. Syrian hamsters are also called the golden hamster, the black bear hamster, and the fancy hamster depending on their color and coat types.
Keep reading for more information about Syrian hamsters, specifically teddy bears. If you want detailed information on the different breeds of hamsters, check out the Ultimate Hamster Breeds Guide posted here on the site. It gives you detailed information about the five main types of hamsters typically sold as pets.
The Teddy Bear’s Appearance
These adorable hamsters average around 5-7 inches in length. They have a stocky body with little tails that are almost hidden beneath their fur. They have large tulip-shaped fur-covered ears and short legs with wide feet.
Their eyes are large, dark, and round, set on each side of its face. Its small pink nose at the end of its snout completes the teddy bear look of the hamster’s face.
Its velvety soft fur is golden brown (which is why they are also referred to as golden hamsters) and long, making it appear fluffy and cuddly.
The males tend to have longer fur than the females. They also tend to have a longer coat around its’ neck which poufs out around its’ read end, making it appear as if they have a skirt. The females tend to have a more all-over fuzzy look to them with no “skirt”.
These hamsters have extra stretchy skin around their mouths that allow them to store food in each of its’ cheeks. They can carry up to half their body weight in food or bedding!
Caring for Your Teddy Bear
A teddy bear hamster typically lives up to 3 years, but when cared for properly they have been known to live as long as 5 years. While it is a low-maintenance animal, there are a few things you should know to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Caring for a Teddy Bear Hamster's Coat
Due to their longer hair, teddy bears need owners willing to give their long coats regular grooming. They are more likely to develop matted and tangled fur which requires brushing with a toothbrush or small flea comb to smooth it out gently.
Hamsters attempt to clean their own fur, but they have no control over the length of it. As their fur gets longer it can attract dirt and trap it, making your hamster more prone to infections. Brush your hammy at least once a week to cut down on the mats and debris trapped close to the hamster’s skin.
Never bath any hamster in water! Instead, you can offer sand baths, but please carefully read this guide first: How to Give My Hamster a Sand Bath
Living Arrangements for Teddy Bear Hamsters
Syrian hamsters are solitary animals, which means they need to be caged on their own. Just because they are living in a cage by themselves, do not assume they only need a small cage. They need sufficient space to play and run around. Keep in mind, bigger is always better when it comes to the cage!
If you choose to have more than one hamster in your home, keep in mind that the cages will need to be placed away from each other. Forcing adult hamsters to live together, even if this just means having their cages next to each other, they will be stressed and likely very unhappy.
Handling Your Teddy Bear Hamster
While the teddy bear hamster looks cute and cuddly, Syrian hamsters are actually not as docile as other breeds. If not handled properly this hamster is more likely to bite in order to protect itself. Daily handling will teach your hamster to trust you and be friendlier.
Due to their less docile temperament, it is important for anyone who might come in contact with your hamster to be properly trained in the best ways to handle him or her. Young children may not be able to understand their own strength and could aggravate the hamster without meaning to.
Just as all hamsters, Syrian hamsters are crepuscular (meaning they are more likely to be up and active when the sun is coming up or going down). Some hamsters are active all night, which is why many people say hamsters are nocturnal. Your hamster will most likely have its own personality and sleep pattern.
Keep this activity schedule in mind when choosing a pet, if you are someone that does not sleep heavy then a teddy bear hamster might not be the right choice for you. Then again, if you are more of a night owl this could be a perfect addition to your family!
When to Buy A Teddy Bear Hamster
Try to “shop” for your hamster at sunset so you get a better idea of his/her activity level. Try to get a hamster that is 4-5 weeks old or more, as pups should not be separated from their mother any earlier than that.
When looking for your hamster, look for one that has a smooth and shiny coat. You want your hamster to have bright eyes, a dry nose, and a clean anus. If you see any hamster not displaying these traits, be sure to let the seller know so they can address the issue and get the hamster back to health before anyone takes it home.
Read more about the pros and cons of the various places where you can adopt a hamster: Where Can I Get a Hamster
Health Issues Common to Teddy Bear Hamsters
Like many other rodents, the Syrian hamsters have some health issues that owners need to be aware of. If you notice your hamster is lethargic, has a changed appetite, is more irritable than usual (bites more), and sunken, dull eyes then you need to take your hamster to the vet.
Read more about the 7 Hamster Health Issues Every Owner Needs to Know About - regardless of what type of hamster you have. Recognizing the early signs of health issues in your pet can help save his or her life.
Wet tail Disease in Teddy Bear Hamsters
This is the most serious intestinal disease hamsters can have. This typically occurs when a hamster is 3-6 weeks old but can happen at any age. Teddy bear hamsters are highly susceptible due to their longer fur. Signs of this include a wet tail (hence the name of the disease) as well as the other typical issues of a sick hamster.
Fun Facts about Teddy Bear Hamsters
- Males are called “boars” and females “sows” while babies are referred to as “pups.”
- Teddy bear hamsters, actually all hamsters, cannot see color and have limited eyesight. (You can read here more about hamster senses).
- Syrian hamsters - including longhaired ones - are larger than Dwarf hamsters.
- Syrian hamsters come in a variety of patterns and colors, but only the long-haired versions are considered teddy bears.
Although there are only a few basic types of hamsters sold as pets, pet stores and websites make it seem like there are many different options. This is due to names being given to hamsters with certain colorations and patterns of fur. The teddy bear nickname has increased their popularity and status in the United States.
Teddy Bear Hamster Gallery!
And finally - more pictures of adorable teddy bear hamsters!
Do You Own a Teddy Bear Hamster?
Have you ever owned a teddy bear hamster? Is there any advice you would give us about properly caring for our own hamsters? Do you have any fun facts or stories about your teddy bear hamster? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
No doubt that this hamster is really cute, but this is not the only hamster with googly eyes and super soft fur. You should check out The Ultimate Hamster Breeds Guide maybe what you are looking for is included here.