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hamsters_information
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Hamsters as pets

The hamster has come a long way from her existence as a golden shorthaired rodent in the wild to a popular pet that may sport any variation of coat type or color and reside in domestic homes many of those with children. The hamster's story began in 1829 when she was discovered near the Syrian city of Aleppo by British zoologist George Waterhouse. He called this little rodent Cricetus auratus or Golden hamster. She went on to enjoy a brief period of popularity as a pet, primarily in England. But despite their prolific breeding habits, the novelty of owning these small, unique, tailless rodents wore off and so did the existence of hamsters in captivity. Yet the hamster would not remain unknown forever. In 1930 a zoologist named Professor Aharoni, from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, found a female hamster and her litter of twelve while conducting reserch in the Syrian desert. He had intentionally sought these animals, inspired by historical accounts he had read that described quiet, docile animals known as Syrian mice and thought to have been kept as pets by the ancient Assyrians. When the zoologist discovered the little hamster family huddled in an underground burrow in the desert, he assumed that these were the socalled mice about which he had read. Most of the hamtsers died when Professor Aharoni attempted to bring the mother and her young back to Jerusalem, so he was left with just two females and a male. It was believed for many years that the Syrian hamster was first discovered by Professor Aharoni but, in actuality, the Syrian hamster existed in the wild before and after the time we initially thought. It is true, however, that Syrian hamsters today have the professor's original three hamsters as their common ancestors. While finding a family of rodents out in a desert would not at first seem to be earth-shattering, this particular discovery came as quite a surprise to those who knew rodents. Most of the few who had ever heard of the elusive hamster had assumed that the hamster species, given the animals lack of visibility in the last one hundred years or so, was extinct, both in the wild and in captivity. But the hamster had remained unseen, not because of a decline in her population (extinction is, for all practical purposes, a foreign concept to rodents), but because her secret, solitary nature and nocturnal habits had made it so. Now, however, the secret was out, and the hamster would never again live within the shelter of obscurity. The newly discovered hamster family was subsequently transported to Jerusalem. But, sadly, because so little was known about their care at the time, only three of them survived. A successful breeding program was launched with those remaining survivors, however, and today, thanks to that legendary reproductive potency for which rodents are known, each and every contemporary pet hamster is thought to be the direct offspring of those surviving three hamsters. While their numbers began to grow and thay naturally charmed the fortunate individuals who got to know them, those early hamsters and their progeny did not immediately take the pet world by storm. The species took a slight detour before that occurred.

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