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There are many different types of hamsters and you will need to decide which one is best for you. The most popular types of hamsters to own as pets are Syrian Hamsters and Chinese or Russian dwarf hamsters. Syrian hamsters are great, they’re really friendly and sociable.
The most popular breed of hamster, a Syrian Hamster lives for up to 2 years and grows up to 9 inches long! They are very friendly animals that enjoy being handled by their owners (if they have been handled from an early age) and will play in water. They are extremely sociable and will live well with other hamsters of the opposite sex or even as a family with a dog, cat or small child if they have been raised together.
Syrian Hamsters need to be kept in pairs; however, you should always get two females. Males tend to fight, especially at night when they cannot see each other. Make sure your Hamster has a Syrian-only cage; having them with other breeds is not recommended as they are more likely to fight and may pick up diseases that they cannot recover from.
Syrian Hamsters should be kept only with same-sex hamsters, ideally female. They can be aggressive towards other males of the same species, and sometimes the males can even kill another male. If you have two Syrian Hamsters together, make sure that they are both spayed or neutered, otherwise, they might breed and cause a lot of stress for you and your pets.
The Syrian Hamster is extremely active; they love to run on their exercise wheels and although many people think of them as nocturnal that is not necessarily true. They will sleep during the day, but often exercise at night when their owners are sleeping!
This breed is also extremely easy to toilet-train, and will very quickly learn to use a litter tray. They also enjoy crawling through your sleeves and playing with toys, making them great companions for children!
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Known as the Dwarf Hamster or sometimes the Campbell Hamster, this species of hamster is very small (about 6 inches when fully grown). They are cheap and easy to look after but require a lot of attention and care; they can be quite rough with each other so if you plan to have more than one you will need a very large cage.
Some Russian dwarf hamsters are Albino Hamsters – white hamsters sometimes with pink eyes! This is not a different breed, it just means that they carry the Albino gene.
They are nocturnal and like to sleep during the day, so if your lifestyle is quiet and fairly sedate then this may be the pet for you.
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Chinese Hamsters prefer living alone as they can become aggressive towards other hamsters; most choose not to get along with the opposite sex.
Chinese Hamsters cannot be handled like other breeds – their fur is extremely delicate and they can easily get injured if grabbed roughly. They are very clean and will use a toilet area that you have provided for them, however, some people have had problems with them being overly fastidious to the point of not eating unless their cage is clean.
They are also prone to dental problems unless they have something hard to chew on, such as a chew block or a cardboard tube.
Chinese Hamsters are vegetarian and enjoy fruits, vegetables, seeds and even nuts – giving them treats like dog biscuits is not recommended! Make sure you do your homework before buying one of these hamsters; the Chinese Hamster is not as easy to look after as people think.
These are the most popular hamster breeds that people own as pets but you might also come across the Winter White and the Roborovski. Which type of hamster do you like to own?
I’d love to hear your comments on the blog below!