A Beginner’s Guide to Hamster Types and Care
Hamsters are a popular pet choice, and although there are a few different hamster types, most of them require the same type of care. Hamsters are undeniably cute, and that is one of the main reasons they are such a popular pet. They are also fairly easy to take care of and their agreeable personalities make them a great choice as a child’s first pet.
Despite their good qualities, it is important to determine if the hamster is the right pet for your situation before even learning about the different hamster types. Even though hamsters are easy to care for and usually not too expensive, it is vital to remember that they are living beings and therefore require a commitment to keeping them alive. Easy care does not mean you buy them a cage and let them fend for themselves. Like any live pet, hamsters must be fed, kept clean and do well with regular human interaction.
3 Most Common Hamster Types
There are basically 3 types of hamsters that are most commonly seen as house pets:
> Dwarf Hamsters
The most popular types of dwarf hamsters are Roborovski hamsters, winter white Russian hamsters and Campbell’s Russian hamster, which is the hamster you usually find in the pet store. Dwarf hamsters are popular because they are small (only about 3 or 4 inches) and social, and this makes it possible to keep them in pairs or small groups.
> Chinese Hamsters
This type of hamster is similar to the dwarf hamster in size and behavior. The Chinese hamster may sometimes have a tendency to get a bit aggressive as they grow older, but many hamster owners do not report this as a major problem. As with the dwarf hamster, they can be kept in pairs or in small groups.
> Syrian Hamsters
Syrian hamsters are almost twice the size of the dwarf hamster types, growing to about 6 or 7 inches long. Syrians are also referred to as golden hamsters, fancy hamsters or standard hamsters. This type of hamster is relatively anti-social, so they do not do well in groups and should be kept alone rather than paired with any other hamsters. They are social with their owners, however, and can be trained and handled quite easily.
Picking out a hamster cage can be a bit overwhelming because of the wealth of choices that are on the market today. When you go to buy your hamster cage, keep 2 things in mind: size and cleaning. Be sure to choose a cage size that is appropriate for the type of hamster you are getting. Very small hamsters may do better in an aquarium style cage, since their size may allow them to slip through the bars of ordinary cages. It is also a good idea to get a cage that is easy to clean, since this will make both your life and your hamster’s life more pleasant.
There are a few other supplies that you will need to keep your hamster happy in their new home:
> Bedding to cover the bottom of the cage
> A comfy place for your hamster to sleep
> Water bottle and food dispenser
> Exercise wheel and toys
Hamster food comes in 2 basic forms: a loose mix and pellets. The pet store can usually recommend something that they use, or you can try a couple different food choices and see what your hamster likes. It is okay to feed you hamster people food every now and then, but this should be done as a treat only and not on a regular basis.