The panda hamster is one of the Syrian hamster breeds. It is a color mutation of the agouti pelage (coat) of the wild hamster.
Agouti is a common coloring in the wild. At the base of the hair, where it emerges from the skin, the hair is colored black. Towards the tip of the hair, the color turns to brown.
In the case of the panda hamster, there are large patches of white fur and large patches of black fur. This mutation is considered a color variation only – that is, it does not impact the hamster’s personality.
In general, Syrian hamsters are tame. Shortly after Syrian hamsters were first captured in 1930, they have been kept as pets. Through selective breeding (which means that a hamster keeper chooses to breed certain hamsters to get desirable characteristics, and chooses not to breed any hamster with undesirable characteristics) Syrians have become quite friendly to humans.
Panda hamsters and other hamsters can be selected as pets from a hamstery – which is the name of an establishment that breeds hamsters – or from a pet store. Hamsteries are hard to find in the United States, but are much more common in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. There are no hamsteries in either New Zealand or Australia because hamsters are not permitted – by law – to be kept there as pets.
Once you purchase a panda hamster or other hamster, you should put it inside its new cage; and then put the cage into a dark room – such as a laundry area. This is to get your pet acclimated to its new home. Every day, approach the cage only to give it food and water. Do not try to touch the hamster.
Spend time each day talking to your pet. You can read out loud to it, or simply talk in your normal voice. The reason for doing this is to get your pet acclimated to the sound of your voice.
Give your hamster at least a week in this darkened room before you move the cage to its final location and before you make any attempt at physical contact with your pet.
Syrian hamsters, such as the panda hamster, while tame to humans, will not accept the company of other hamsters. So, if you think that you pet looks lonely and would like a mate, think again! If another hamster is introduced into the cage of a Syrian hamster, they will immediately begin fighting, often to the death. The hamster who had established itself in the cage first will think that the other hamster is an intruder.
In fact, if you were to breed Syrian hamsters in the attempt to create more panda bear hamsters, you would discover that once the pups reach a certain age, they will begin to fight viciously with one another. At that point, they will all need to be separated into their own cages.
There are a few “golden rules” of hamster keeping. One of them applies specifically to the Syrian hamster: One hamster; one cage.
Source by Matthew A. Boreau