Friday, December 21, 2012

Which Hamster Is Right for You?

As I was browsing through some old photos the other day, I found a picture of my last hamster named "Hammy". I remember that my family owned hamsters all through my childhood. They make wonderful pets for children who are learning about how to care for pets and are relatively easy to keep. There are many different types of hamsters available. Which hamster is right for you and your family? Here's a list of the 4 most popular types of hamsters.


Syrian Hamster

This type of hamster is probably the most popular. I remember that most of my hamsters as a child were Syrian hamsters. They are also known as "golden" hamsters or "teddy bear" hamsters. We used to call them teddy bear hamsters. They can grow to be pretty large, for a hamster anyways. They come in a wide variety of color variations like cream, black white, and gray to name a few. The Syrian hamster is very docile and friendly, which is one of the reasons why it's so popular as a pet. They are very territorial though and should not be housed with other hamsters as they will fight with each other and possibly kill one another.

Lily and "Hammy", a Syrian Hamster

Campbell's Dwarf Hamster

The Campbell's dwarf hamster or "Russian dwarf" hamster is another popular type of hamster. They are very small in size, hence the name "dwarf". These hamsters can be kept together. Of course, you should only keep hamsters of the same sex together to prevent any mating between hamsters. Campbell's dwarf hamsters come in several different colors, coat types, and markings. They have a characteristic dark colored stripe that runs down their back. These dwarf hamsters will nip if they feel threatened and are also very fast. Their speed make them more difficult to handle for children.

Photo: jpockele

Roborovski Hamster

Roborovski hamsters are extremely small and fast. In fact, they are the smallest type of all hamsters growing to be only about 2-3 inches long. They are social and can be housed in pairs. Roborovski hamsters can be difficult to tame. They are probably not the best choice of hamster if you are looking for one that you can hold and pet - although, they don't usually bite. This type of hamster can be very skittish. They are also commonly known as "Robos".

Photo: Duchessoftea

Winter White Hamster

First of all, I just have to say that I love their name! This hamster got its name because its coat turns white in the winter. Winter white hamsters are a dwarf species of hamster that are commonly confused with the Campbell's dwarf hamster. It may actually be hard to find a true winter white hamster, especially if you live in the United States. Lately, there have been hybrids of the two showing up. They can be kept in pairs, but it is possible that they will fight with each other so you should be prepared to house them separately if you decide to get two. You're probably better off just getting one. They are very friendly hamsters and generally make good pets. Their speed may make it more difficult for children to handle them though.

Photo: Rouxberry
 
Generally speaking, all of these hamsters are most active at night, dusk, or dawn. They all require plenty of room to run around and exercise. An exercise wheel and ball are very important toys for hamsters. Always provide your hamster with fresh clean water and a healthy diet. As their teeth never stop growing, you should also provide them with plenty of safe things to chew on. Remember that hamsters are pets too and their care should not be ignored! It is not recommended that children under the age of 10 keep hamsters as pets. Children 10 and up should still be supervised with their pet hamsters.

18 comments:

  1. We did not know there were so many types. Love your new layout. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Thank you Molly! There are many more types of hamsters than just these 4 as well.

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  2. Great post! I know a lot about hamsters, but this post is especially great for deciding which hamster is best for you.
    I like this layout, but I miss the old one too!

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    1. Thank you Hannah! You are the hamster queen!

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  3. i loved this post. In college I had a Teddy Bear Hamster named "Cooch" that I adored. Sadly he didn't live long. They mentioned to me that hamsters are prone to pneumonia and that is what caused Cooch's death. It literally broke my heart. He was precious.

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    1. Oh no, how sad! They are prone to respiratory infections and have a very sensitive respiratory system.

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  4. Replies
    1. I know, I can't decide which one is the cutest!

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  5. Oh we had Dave, he was fantastic:) Died when he was nearly 4, old for a Hampster, got another one, it was the Hampster from hell..bite everyone to death :) No more Hampsters :) They are super cute though. xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

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    1. That is very old for a hamster! Too bad the second one wasn't as nice as Dave.

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  6. This was SO interesting!!! Although I had a hamster when I was young, I realize now I didn't know anything about them. I think mine must have been a Campbell's Dwarf Hamster. (and yes, he bit my fingertip once!) His name was Orca (like the whale) and I called him Orky.

    I'm afraid Katie's only question is which one tastes the best.
    : ) Glogirly

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    1. Aww that's a cute name! I'm not sure I know which type has the best flavor Katie. Maybe the Syrian since it's the largest lol.

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  7. I have never had a hamster but sure glad to learn more about them. That first one sure is a pretty little thing. I just don't like seeing an animal living in a cage all the time. Guess you can turn them loose in the house once they are tame. Did you turn yours loose in the house??

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    1. I feel the same way. In the wild, they can run for hundreds of miles. I read that some types of hamsters are starting to lose their numbers in the wild because humans are destroying their habitats, but they don't face extinction because they're numbers are so large in captivity. I did not turn mine loose in the house no, unless they were in a ball. We did have several escape episodes though. Hammy escaped once and I found him a few days later in the oven broiler... luckily it never got turned on!

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  8. Hamsters are adorable! My humans wanted hamsters last year but my sis pestered them for a dog instead so they adopted me :D
    Cotton

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  9. Oh and I likes your new bloggy design!!

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  10. What an interesting post. I also had no idea there was more than one kind of hamster.

    I think people who keep such small animals feel they are safer in a cage because of the danger of being injured outside of it.

    Happy Holidays and Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.

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  11. I didn't know there were so many different types of hamsters. My kids both had hamsters as pets when they were young. :)

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