Hamsters are cute and small, and they seem to be great pets for children. You only have to feed them, clean their cages, and give them attention. They are great for teaching children responsibility or as a starter pet before you get them a dog or a car. There are 16 types of hamsters that we have discovered, and only a few of them are kept as pets.
That being said, not all these hamsters are suitable to be children’s pets. Some are more difficult to tame, some need more care, and others will bite. You want to pick a hamster that is easy to care for and that doesn’t bite. Make sure you do your research before you get a hamster to know exactly what to expect. For example, hamsters are nocturnal, which means that they are only active during the night, and they will probably wake up your child if the cage is in your child’s bedroom. You should also be aware of the fact that hamsters never bond with people as cats or dogs do. If you’ve done your research and are sure that you want to get a hamster, here’s a list of 4 hamsters that are best for beginners.
1. Syrian Hamster
The Syrian hamster is also known as the golden hamster, and it is one of the most popular hamsters that people keep as pets. They make very good pets for beginners since they are easy to tame, fun to play with, and very low-maintenance. Syrian hamsters originate from dry areas of northern Syria and southern Turkey. Their fur is naturally colored golden brown and they have a lighter belly. Nowadays there are many different colors, patterns, and hair lengths of Syrian hamsters thanks to selective breeding.
The captive-breeding programs for Syrian hamsters have begun in the 1930s both for experiments and pet trade. Because they are losing their habitat in the wild, they are considered to be vulnerable.
It’s very easy to take care of a Syrian hamster. You can find food made specifically for them in the pet store, and their housing won’t take up much of your space.
Syrian hamster weighs around 5 ounces and is 5 to 9 inches long. It lives for 2 to 4 years.
You might have heard that Syrian hamsters have a reputation that they bite a lot. This is, however, mostly because people don’t know how to handle them. If you don’t squeeze or shake it while you’re holding it, the Syrian hamster will learn that it has nothing to be afraid of when it’s in your hand. This type of hamster likes to be alone and is very territorial. You should never have more than one Syrian hamster living together in a cage. If you keep 2 or more Syrian hamsters together in a cage, they will get really aggressive, and they sometimes even fight to the death. You should keep any other pets you might have in your household away from the hamster because they will likely hurt each other.
Syrian hamsters, like all hamsters, sleep during the day and are active during the night. They are generally quiet, but it would be best if you kept it away from your bedroom at night because it could wake you up.
If you are looking for a hamster to bond with, you will have to look for some other type of hamster, because Syrian hamsters never really bond with their owners. Some might come closer when they see you and sleep on your hands. Make sure you spend enough time with your hamster each day to keep it tame.
The Syrian hamster will need as big of a cage as you can get. The smallest cage you can put your Syrian hamster into can be 1x2x1 feet. Make sure you put a lot of hamster toys in its cage and don’t forget to put an exercise wheel. It’s best that you get an exercise wheel that has a solid surface so you avoid any injuries. Place a sleeping hut in the corner of the cage, you can usually find these in the pet store.
You will have to feed your Syrian hamster with nuts, grains, and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Syrian hamsters are omnivores, so you can occasionally give them a hardboiled egg or some insects. You should talk to your vet to see what is the best diet for your hamster because it depends on the size and the age of your hamster. Make sure there’s always a bowl of food in the cage and throw away any food your hamster doesn’t eat after a day. There should also be a water bottle or a water bowl in the cage, and you should change the water each day.
Syrian hamsters rarely get sick, but there are a few diseases you should be on the lookout for. One such disease is a wet tail, a gastrointestinal infection that is caused by stress. This is the most common disease that affects Syrian hamsters. You will know that your hamster has a wet tail if you notice that it’s not eating, has diarrhea, and the area around its tail is wet. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
2. Dwarf hamsters
Dwarf hamsters are tiny hamsters that originate from the desert regions. Unlike larger hamsters, they are very social and are happiest when they are in groups. Unlike cats or dogs, they won’t bond with you, but they will recognize you and come close to the side of their cage if they see you. They weigh between 1 and 2 ounces and are around 2 inches long. You can expect them to live for 3 years.
Dwarf hamsters are also nocturnal, but they can sometimes adapt to their owner’s schedule. That being said, if you try to wake up the Dwarf hamster, it will probably bite you. Most hamsters wake up in the evening and are happy to hang out with people then. When they wake up, they will make noises during the night, so you shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom if you are a light sleeper.
This type of hamsters usually likes being held by people, however, if they feel uncomfortable, they will bite you. You should start handling them when they are young and always be careful and gentle. This way they will learn that they shouldn’t be afraid when you handle them. When you try holding your hamster, it’s best that you’re in a closed room and that there’s something soft underneath you. Hamsters are very quick and they can escape from your hands before you realize it. That’s why there should be something soft for them to land on, and the door should be closed so they can’t escape to the other room. If your hamster falls from even a couple of feet and hits the ground it could lead to some serious injuries.
Your Dwarf hamster should have a big cage because it needs a lot of room to play in. The smallest cage you can keep your Dwarf hamster is in 1x2x1 feet, but that is the bare minimum. If you have more than one hamster, you will have to get a bigger cage. Dwarf hamsters usually live in glass or plastic aquariums, or in wire cages. Wire cages provide better airflow, but they won’t protect your hamster from the draft. If you choose to get a wire cage, make sure that the distance between wires is narrow so that your hamster can’t escape. You should place at least a 1 to 2-inch layer of bedding, for example, chemical- and dye-free shredded paper or hardwood shavings. You will have to change the bedding once a week, and clean all surfaces with water and soap. Make sure you clean up any wet spots each day.
You should never forget to place an exercise wheel in your hamster’s cage, as well as many toys. There should be a lot of mineral or wooden toys to chew on so that hamsters can take care of their teeth, and add a sleeping house to the cage.
Your hamster should be fed once a day, and ask your veterinarian how much food you should give it. You can buy food blends that are made specifically for Dwarf hamsters. You can also feed your Dwarf hamster with a bit of nuts, seeds, oats, bananas, and carrots. Never feed your Dwarf hamster with avocados, almonds, and chocolate as they are very toxic.
Dwarf hamsters are prone to many health issues, and make sure you have a veterinarian near you who treats Dwarf hamsters before you buy this type of hamster.
They can lose hair and get skin lesions from rubbing on something in its cage or because it was attacked by another hamster. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet as soon as you notice any skin injuries because they can get infected quickly.
Dwarf hamsters are known to be prone to diabetes. You can prevent this if you don’t let your hamster eat a lot of sugar and make sure it gets a lot of exercise.
Check your hamster’s teeth every once in a while. Unlike human teeth, hamster teeth never stop growing, and if your Dwarf hamster doesn’t have anything to chew on, its teeth will become overgrown. This will make it hard for your hamster to eat, and the vet will have to trim its teeth.
3. Robovski Hamsters
Robovski hamsters are the smallest and fastest hamsters. When they grow up they are as big as an adult’s thumb, which is about 2 to 3 inches. They originated from China, Mongolia, and Russia.
Wire cages are the easiest to clean up, but since Robovski hamsters are so small, it’s hard to find a wire cage that won’t let them escape. It’s best to get an aquarium that is 24 inches by 12 inches and minimally 12 inches high for two hamsters. If you choose to have more than 2 hamsters, you will have to provide 12 by 6 inches of space for each new hamster. Make sure you cover your hamster’s cage with mesh so nothing falls into the cage but the air is still able to flow.
There should be at least 1 1/4 inches of bedding because Robovski hamsters love to burrow. It is not recommended that you use pine or cedar shavings because they can be harmful to hamsters. This type of hamster loves being active so make sure it has a lot of toys and an exercise wheel. Robovski hamsters don’t like to share, so make sure you get toys for each one of your hamsters. This also goes for food and water.
Robovski hamsters are also active during the night and sleep during the day. They are gentle and rarely bite. However, they are extremely fast which makes it hard to handle them. You should always handle them above a large box so you can catch them if they slip away. You can train Robovski hamsters to take treats from your hand. To do this, you will have to rest your hand and put a treat in your palm. The hamster will explore your hand and find the treat.
This type of hamster is very social, and it is best if you keep it in groups with same-sex hamsters. You should establish groups from a young age. It is not advisable to introduce a new Robovski hamster to an already established group, as it’s not likely to survive. If your hamsters don’t kill each other, you can expect them to live for 3 years.
Robovski hamsters are naturally sandy brown and they have white bellies, which lets them blend in with the desert nicely when they live in the wild.
4. Chinese hamsters
Chinese hamsters are small hamsters that originated from China and Mongolia. Most of them are brown and they have a lighter belly and a black stripe running down their back. You can recognize these hamsters because they have longer tails than any other type of hamsters. They are easy to take care of, however, some of them bite. They weigh between 1 and 2 ounces and live for 2 to 3 years.
Chinese hamsters make good pets and they don’t mind when you handle them if you’ve done it since they were young. Always sit when handling your hamster because it could get injured if it falls.
You can choose to only have one Chinese hamster, or keep them in same-sex groups. That being said, there’s a big chance that they will be aggressive and territorial if they live in groups. It would be good if you can get hamsters from the same litter that will grow up together and gets used to each other. Make sure you keep your Chinese hamster away from any other pets you have because it’s so small and it could get easily injured.
They will also need 1x2x1 feet cages, and you should layer 1 to 2 inches of bedding, for example, aspen shavings or some other paper-based products. Make sure you add toys, an exercise wheel, and a sleeping hut to their cage.
You can find food for your Chinese hamster in the pet store, and make sure that it’s supplemented with vitamins and minerals. You can put food for the whole day in the bowl and place the bowl in the cage. Chinese hamsters like eating small portions throughout the day.
You can also supplement the commercial food with some seeds, nuts, and fresh fruit and vegetables, but make sure that the supplemental food makes only 10% of your hamster’s diet.
Chinese hamsters are prone to respiratory issues. You will be able to tell that something’s going on with your hamster if you notice it wheezing, sneezing and that it has nasal discharge.
They can also suffer from the wet tail. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t want to eat, that it has diarrhea, or that the area around its tale is wet, take it to the vet immediately.