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What Is an Angora Hamster?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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An angora hamster, also called a golden or a Syrian hamster, is often kept as a pet. There are several different species of pet hamsters, and the angora hamster is one of the most common. Like the breed of rabbit with which it shares a name, the angora hamster has unusually long fur, which is especially long in males. These hamsters are native to the Middle East, where they live in solitary burrows.

In the wild, the angora hamster is found in parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. They prefer warm temperatures and can go into a state of temporary hibernation if temperatures at night approach freezing. Wild angora hamsters were first collected in 1930, and these specimens formed the basis of the breeding stock for the pet and laboratory markets until more were collected in 1997 and 1999. The angora hamster is considered to be vulnerable to extinction in the wild, mostly due to loss of habitat. Populations in captivity, however, are high because these animals are popular as both pets and as laboratory animals.

On average, the angora hamster lives for approximately two to three years. They are capable of reproducing at the age of four months, and females come into heat every four days. Once impregnated, the gestation of the angora hamster is the shortest of all placental mammals, at just 16 days. The young develop quickly and are able to live on their own by the time they are between 6 and 10 weeks old. At this age, the territorial instincts of the angora hamster develop, which can lead both pet and wild hamsters to defend their territory to the death.

The angora hamster is most active at dawn and dusk. In captivity, they also tend to be quite active at night and are often described as nocturnal, though wild hamsters show circadian rhythms more similar to crepuscular animals. They come out of their burrows when they are awake but stay near enough to continue to use them as protection from predatory animals.

Hamsters are members of the rodent order and are distantly related to mice and rats. They are most closely related to voles and lemmings, with which they are members of the Cricetidae family. Three other hamster species share a genus with this hamster.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Angora hamster?

An Angora hamster is a variety of the Syrian hamster, known for its long, silky fur, which is particularly pronounced around the hindquarters, giving it a skirt-like appearance. Unlike their short-haired counterparts, Angora hamsters require regular grooming to prevent tangles and maintain their coat's health.

How do you care for an Angora hamster's fur?

Caring for an Angora hamster's fur involves gentle brushing with a soft-bristled brush to remove tangles and debris. It's important to do this regularly, ideally a few times a week, to prevent matting. Additionally, providing a dust-free environment and avoiding excessive humidity can help maintain their coat's condition.

Are Angora hamsters good pets for children?

Angora hamsters can be good pets for children who are gentle and responsible. Due to their long fur, they may require more delicate handling and regular grooming, which can be a valuable lesson in pet care for older children. However, supervision is recommended to ensure the hamster is treated carefully.

What is the lifespan of an Angora hamster?

The lifespan of an Angora hamster is typically 2 to 3 years, similar to other Syrian hamsters. With proper care, including a nutritious diet, clean habitat, and regular veterinary check-ups, these hamsters can enjoy a full and healthy life.

Can Angora hamsters live with other hamsters?

Angora hamsters, like all Syrian hamsters, are solitary animals and should live alone. They are territorial and can become aggressive towards other hamsters if housed together. To ensure the well-being of an Angora hamster, it's best to provide them with their own space.

What should I feed my Angora hamster?

An Angora hamster's diet should consist of a balanced hamster mix containing seeds, grains, nuts, and pellets. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered in moderation as treats. It's crucial to avoid sugary and high-fat foods and always provide access to clean, fresh water.

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