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What Is a Black Bear Hamster?

By Melanie Smeltzer
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The black bear hamster is a household pet that belongs to the family Cricetidae, the subfamily Cricetinae, and the genus Mesocricetus. Although many people think that these hamsters are members of an individual and separate species, they are actually a mutation of the common teddy bear hamster. In addition to bearing distinctive black coats, these animals are thought to be friendlier and generally calmer than their golden-hued counterparts.

Growing to about 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length and 4 to 6 ounces (113.3 to 170 g) in weight, the relatively large black bear hamster is best known for its dark coat. Its coat is typically dense, short, and black. In addition to the characteristic black hue that extends over the length of the body, it also bears white marks on its face, underbelly, tail, and paws.

Originating in Europe, the black bear hamster descended from Syrian show hamsters. Although this particular mutation had been around for some time, it was not officially recognized until 1985. In addition to breeding for color, early black bear hamsters were bred for their calm, trainable personalities. These rodents then made their way into the United States, where they became popular pets available in pet stores around the country.

Unlike other Syrian hamster varieties, the black bear hamster is thought to be fairly laid-back in demeanor. It is said to make a good family pet, as it is not inclined to bite or nip unless startled or uncomfortable with a handler. Tolerant and docile, this hamster is also said to be easily trained, and some people even suggest that it may be taught to walk on a leash.

In addition to having good manners, the black bear hamster is usually easy to care for. It does not generally require grooming because it tends to clean itself in a manner similar to cats. If necessary, it may be wiped down with a warm, damp washcloth and gently brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Diet should consist of green vegetables, fresh fruits, seeds, and grains. Small insects or worms may also be incorporated into the diet; however, this is not necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Black Bear Hamster?

A Black Bear Hamster is a color variation of the Syrian hamster, known for its black, shiny fur and docile nature. They are a popular choice among pet owners due to their larger size, which makes them easier to handle, and their typically gentle temperament.

How big do Black Bear Hamsters get?

Black Bear Hamsters can grow to be about 4-6 inches in length. They are one of the larger hamster breeds, which contributes to their appeal as pets. Their size also makes them less prone to injury when handled, compared to smaller hamster species.

What is the lifespan of a Black Bear Hamster?

On average, Black Bear Hamsters live for 2 to 3 years. With proper care, including a nutritious diet, clean habitat, and regular veterinary check-ups, these hamsters can enjoy a full and healthy life.

What kind of habitat is best for a Black Bear Hamster?

Black Bear Hamsters thrive in spacious habitats with plenty of room to explore, exercise, and nest. A solid-bottom cage with a deep layer of bedding, a wheel for exercise, and hiding places is ideal. Avoid wire-bottom cages as they can harm their feet.

What do Black Bear Hamsters eat?

Black Bear Hamsters have a diet similar to other Syrian hamsters, consisting of a balanced hamster mix, which includes grains, seeds, nuts, and pellets. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered in moderation, but sugary and high-water content foods should be limited to prevent diabetes and diarrhea.

Are Black Bear Hamsters good for beginners?

Yes, Black Bear Hamsters are an excellent choice for beginners. Their calm demeanor and ease of handling make them suitable for first-time hamster owners. However, like all pets, they require commitment to their care and well-being, including daily interaction and habitat maintenance.

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