The Syrian hamster, also known as the golden hamster, belongs to the subfamily Cricetinae, the hamster family. They were called golden hamsters as the original hamsters were all golden.
The size of an adult Syrian hamster can range from 13-18 cm long, with a lifespan of 3-4 years in domestic homes, and 2-3 years in the wild. A Syrian hamster has cheek pouches where it can store an amount of food and bring back to its burrow if it feels the place where it is, is unsafe.
Hamsters are very, very territorial animals and are very intolerant of each other. They will fight, sometimes to the death, if they meet. Occasionally, when a male and a female hamster meet when the female is in heat, they will mate, but even after mating the female may attack the male. In captivity, babies have to be separated from their mother after four weeks, because they sexually mature then. Same-sex groups of siblings can stay together until they are eight weeks old, at which point they will also become territorial of each other, and have to be separated.