Panda & Black Bear Hamsters: 8 Cool Facts & Pictures

Panda hamsters get their names because their coat resembles the appearance of a Panda bear. Similarly, black bear hamsters get their names because their coats remind people of black bears. Their unique coats are a favorite among hamster fans, and for good reason. They look incredibly beautiful and really do a great job to make these hamsters stand out from the rest.

However, while most people can agree that their coats look cool, there are a lot of things that people don’t know about these hamsters. Many people have questions about these hamsters, such as whether they are a separate breed, their personalities, and more. There are also quite a lot of misconceptions about these hamsters that I would like to shine a light on.

So, today, we’re going to take a look at the 8 most important facts about Panda bear hamsters and Black Bear hamsters. Let’s dig in!


1. Both Panda Bear and Black Bear Hamsters are Syrian hamsters

picture of a panda hamster
credit: pleuschraupe

Many people are under the assumption that these hamsters are a distinct breed. This is actually not the case. They’re simply a color pattern variation of the Syrian hamster breed!

Both of these hamsters are identical to other Syrian hamsters except for their coat, which is a chocolate color in the case of the Black Bear hamster, and black with white spots in the case of the Panda Bear Hamster.

Since they are both Syrian hamsters, they require the same diet and general care as Syrian hamsters.


2. Their unusual coat is the result of a selective breeding

picture of a black bear hamster
credit: rabakuma

Normally, Syrian hamsters are golden with a lighter-colored underbelly. This is how they appear in nature and it’s the most frequent color for them to have. However, due to spontaneous genetic mutations and selective breeding, they sometimes have different colors. In total, there are over 20 different colors and patterns that modern Syrian hamsters can have.

The coat color that people often call “black bear” is a combination of a black hamster bred with a rust-colored hamster. If the hamster then has white spotting, it’s often called a “panda hamster”.


3. Neither “Panda Hamster” nor “Black Bear Hamster” is a correct term

While most people refer to them as “panda bear” or “black bear” hamsters, this is not what the actual naming for these hamsters’ coloration really is. 

The real name for the color that “black bear hamsters” have is actually Chocolate. They’re a mixture of black hamsters and rust-colored hamsters.

The real name for the coloration that the “Panda Bear Hamster” has is also chocolate, but simply with white bands or spots.

So, neither Panda nor Black Bear is an officially recognized color by Hamster Fancier Organizations.

Nevertheless, if people decide to call them that, and the names stick, there’s nothing wrong with referring to them in that way. The names sound cute and are more interesting than their official names, so don’t let people tell you that you can’t call your hamster that!


4. The Black Bear and Panda Bear Hamster’s temperament is not affected by their unique coats

Ryukyu Inu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many people are under the impression that the color of an animal’s coat has an impact on their behavior and personality.

For instance, many people believe animals with the Tortoiseshell pattern to have “tortitude”; a feisty and strong-willed personality. However, studies have shown that this is not the case. The personality of animals such as hamsters and cats does not change depending on the color of their coat!


5. Black Bear and Panda Bear Hamsters are quite rare

While there are no exact numbers on how rare these “bear” variants of the Syrian hamster really are, they certainly are quite rare.

Most Syrian hamsters are a golden color. Black is already quite an unusual color for a Syrian hamster to have, but in order to create the “bear” varieties, you have to take a black Syrian and then cross-breed it with a Rust-colored Syrian. This does not happen very frequently and because of that, they’re quite rare creatures.

Since they’re relatively rare, they are often pricier than regular Syrian hamsters. You won’t find them at pet shops very often, and will probably have to find a specialized breeder if you want to buy one of these adorable animals.


6. Black Bear and Panda Bear Hamsters make great pets

Syrian hamsters, including these two “bear” variants, make excellent pets. They’re the most social of all the hamster breeds and enjoy spending time with humans. They can be taught tricks and can form strong bonds with their owners.

On top of that, they’re relatively low-maintenance and quite cheap to boot. 

The fact that they come in so many different colors and patterns finishes the package, and truly makes it so these hamsters have an option for everyone!


7. These hamsters are nocturnal

Most people are awake during the day and sleep during the night. These hamsters, however, do it the other way around. They’re awake during the night and sleep during the day. The reason why they do this is that in nature they are prey animals. The night gives them the cover of darkness, which helps them hide from predators. This is why they evolved to sleep during the day and be awake at night.

Interestingly enough, the Panda and Black Bear Hamster’s dark color would’ve actually helped them blend into the night better, yet they never evolved to have this color naturally. It was only with the help of breeders that they developed these colors.


8. Both of them can run exceptional distances

Like all Syrian hamsters, these two hamster types are extremely athletic. They can run an incredible 5 and a half miles per night. Even for humans, running 5 ½ miles is quite a feat, but for a small animal like a hamster, it’s truly remarkable. 

Hamsters are over 500 times smaller than a human, so it’s comparable to a human running 2500 miles in a night!


Final words

So, there it is, the 8 most important facts about the Panda and Black Bear hamster! I hope that it was informative and that it cleared up some confusion that you might have had about them.

Panda & Black Bear hamsters might not be a distinct breed, nor an officially recognized color name, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not excellent to keep as pets. Their unique color makes definitely makes these animals stand out from the rest and gives them an appearance that’ll make other hamsters green with envy.

If you’re looking for a hamster coloration that’ll stand out, this one’s for you.

Jesse A.