Hamsters make great pets. They are cute and cuddly, enjoyed by both children and adults. These tiny creatures make the experience of owning them worthwhile. Although not cliché, keeping hamsters as pets is a quite rewarding experience. Now that you have made up your mind, you need to know some of the most common types of pet hamsters available in the market. In all, there are about 24 species of these rodents, but out of these, 5 or 6 are perfect as pets.
The most popular kind of hamsters is Syrian hamsters, also called golden or teddy bear hamsters. As their name indicates, they are golden brown in color with white bellies. They are large hamsters growing up to be 4-7 inches long with the females being larger than the males. They have large cheek pouches, short tails, and small eyes. On average, they live for 2-4 years and make wonderful pets. These hamsters enjoy being alone, so you need to keep them solitary after they are ten weeks old. If caged together, they can fight and even end up killing each other. They are mainly nocturnal and almost never awake during the day. So if you are a night person, a Syrian hamster is the way to go.
Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters
Also known as a dwarf hamster, Campbell’s hamsters are the smallest. They grow up to be 3-5 inches long, have gray fur with white bellies, and live up to 1 ½ – 2 years. They live well on their own as well as in groups, so you need not worry about their ability to adapt. However, being smaller in size, they are comparatively trickier to handle and need constant supervision. They’ll surely keep you on your hands and feet.
Although they are nocturnal, they can be awake for short periods of time during the day. Dwarf hamsters are more social than Syrian hamsters but are less responsive to handling. When nervous or agitated, they can nip.
Winter White Hamsters
They are also called Siberian hamsters. They are dwarfs as well, being about 3-5 inches in length. They have dark-brown stripes that run down their backs and gray-brown fur. However, during winters, the fur changes to a white coat. They live for two years on average. Since they are smaller in size, aquariums are better homes for them than wire cages.
Their major advantage is that unlike the Russian hamsters, they do not bite when threatened and are friendly. They stay active during the day. However, being agile, they can give you a tough time in handling. Thus, they are not suitable for children.
Roborovski is another breed of dwarf hamsters. They are about 4 inches in length and sandy brown in color with white stomachs. They have white faces and white marks around their eyes. They outlive most breeds of hamsters, living for about 3-3 ½ years and are nocturnal.
They usually dwell well in groups. Like the winter white hamsters, they do not nip and are calm in nature. The may pose some problems as far as handling is concerned. If they get out of your reach, these little guys will give you one hell of a time finding them.
They are alternatively called gray, striped or rat-tailed hamsters. They are 4-5 inches long. Chinese hamsters are dark in color and have dark stripes that run down their spines. They have longer tails than most of the other breeds of hamsters with an average lifespan of 2 ½- 3 years. They love being alone and even though are a bit hostile toward each other, they are friendly with people. They are active at nights for the most part and do not bite.
You are now ready to buy your own pet hamster and have these little creatures lighten up your lives.