In the wild the Syrian Hamster lives alone and is fiercely territorial, attacking any intruders or other hamsters it may be confronted with during its travels.
Syrian hamsters live in individual burrows a distance away from any other burrow of another hamster. They are nocturnal sleeping during the day (although they may wake for short periods) and wake at dusk becoming active during the night. A Syrian hamster's sight is poor but their senses of smell and hearing are very acute. During the night the Syrian Hamster will travel collecting food in its cheek pouches, returning to its burrow several times to empty the contents and in one night a Syrian may travel up to 8 miles in this way.
In captivity the Syrian hamster's behaviour is very similar. It appreciates a sheltered nest and its solitary instinct prevails and once mature it will not normally accept the company of another hamster. Although they live together as babies and syrian hamsters are often seen caged together in pet shops or at the breeders, as the hamsters mature their solitary instinct develops. Syrian Hamsters will not, therefore, usually tolerate the company of another hamster once they reach approximately 6-10 weeks of age when fighting starts to occur. These fights may not be serious at first but as the hamsters mature the frequency and severity of the fights increase. The fights most often take place during the night when the hamsters are most active and so often goes unobserved until serious injury or even death of one or both hamsters occurs. Therefore Syrian Hamsters should be housed separately once purchased in order to prevent injury - the golden rule is one hamster, one cage.
Syrian hamsters in captivity are naturally nocturnal and most will make use of an exercise wheel to compensate for being unable to travel the many miles they would in the wild each night.