Hamsters as pets

There are no products matching the selection.

Hamsters as pets

Hamster facts you need to know Which breed? Handling your hamster Small and entertaining to watch, hamsters make a great first pet for children as they are so easy to care for.  With regular handling become very tame and as they are most active in the evening they are ideal for people at work or children at school. These amusing little creatures were re-discovered in the deserts of North Africa in Syria during the 1930s.  They had been thought to be extinct as no one had seen a hamster in the wild for over 100 years.  They were introduced as pets to Britain in the 1940s and quickly became one of the nations favourite pets.   More recently other breeds of hamster have been discovered in Russia and China and they have become just as popular thanks to their endearing characteristics.  Hamsters can be long or short haired and come in a variety of colours.  On average a pet hamster lives between 1.5 – 3 years, but if they are well-loved and looked after they can live for a little longer. Hamster facts you need to know In the wild hamsters live deep underground in burrows during the day and the tunnels they make can often be several feet in depth. People often think that hamsters are nocturnal as they sleep most of the day but they are actually crepuscular which means that they are more active in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk.  They have developed this behaviour to avoid predators such as owls in the wild and also these hours are when their original habitat in the desert is fairly cool. Dont worry that you wont see your hamster in the daytime – they will quickly adapt to coming out of their nests when they hear your voice or at feeding time. Hamsters have an elongated pouch on each side of their heads which they stuff full of food to be stored in their nest or to be eaten later.  When the pouch is full they look as if their cheeks are bulging – its surprising how much they can fit in there! Hamsters have very poor eyesight and can not see more than a few inches in front of their nose.  This makes them unable to tell when they are in danger of falling because they cannot see that far.  Dont let your hamster perch on your shoulder as they can leap off and hurt themselves as they dont realise how high up they are. To compensate for their poor eyesight, hamsters have excellent hearing and communicate with each other using frequencies that are beyond the range of the human ear.  They will often stop and freeze when they hear an unusual sound and then sniff the air for more information.    Hamsters have a keen sense of smell and mark their territory with scent glands on their flanks (and abdomens in the case of Chinese and dwarf hamsters).  They use their sense of smell to detect the gender of other hamsters and to find food. Hamsters are clean, busy little creatures who keep themselves and their cage spick and span.  They like to exercise, dig and climb so remember to provide some toys such as a wheel, tunnels and a hamster ball to keep them healthy and active. View our Hamster Products section for our range of hamster cages and toys BackTo Top Which breed? There are 5 main breeds of hamster kept as pets in the UK and they come in a variety of colours and lengths of coat.   Some types of hamsters are prone to diabetes which can affect their health and diet.  Russian Campbell Dwarf Hamsters, Chinese Hamsters, some lines of Winter White Dwarf Hamsters and Hybrid (Russian Campbell crossed with Winter White) Hamsters are all at a higher risk for diabetes.  Syrian (Golden) Hamsters and Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are not prone to diabetes. View our Hamster Health section to learn more Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation Syrian / Golden Hamsters Syrian Hamsters are solitary creatures by nature and should not be kept together as they will fight.   In the wild they only meet to mate, after which the female drives the male away.  They are larger and chunkier than other breeds of hamster and are usually about 4 - 6 inches (10.2 – 15.2 cm) in length.  They make great pets for children as they are easy to handle and tame.  They are sometimes called Golden Hamsters because of their original golden colour but nowadays they come in a variety of colours and patterns:  cream, white, blonde, golden, cinnamon, tortoiseshell, black, lilac, silver grey, sable, dominant spot, banded and tricolour. Syrian Hamsters can be found with 4 different coat types – Short haired, Long haired, Satin and Rex. The Long haired Syrian’s coat can often grow to 3 or 4 inches long and will need grooming.   Long haired Syrians should not be given a wheel in their cage as their coat can become entangled and cause injury to the hamster.  Satin Syrians have a glossy sheen to their coat which is caused by hollow hair shafts that catch the light.  Rex Syrians have curly or wavy coats and whiskers that look as if they have been crimped. View our Hamster Products section for our range of hamster grooming accessories Campbells Russian Dwarf Hamster Campbells Russian Dwarf Hamsters originated in the semi deserts of Central Asia, Mongolia and North Eastern China.  These hamsters are sociable and can live together in the same cage but same sex groupings are recommended.  If fighting does occur they must be separated.  They are between 3.5 – 4 inches (8 – 10 cm) in length.  Although generally good natured they are not best suited as pets for very young children because of their small size and their ability to move very quickly. Campbells Russian Dwarf Hamsters are a brownish grey colour with a distinct stripe down their spine and cream /white belly.  Other colours include:  black, opal (blue grey), agouti, argente (golden / sandy), lilac fawn, champagne and albino.  The patterns and markings are mottled and platinum.  There are 4 different coat types:  short haired, satin, wavy and rex. Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamsters come from Kazakhstan and South West Siberia (they are also called Siberian Hamsters). They are between 3 – 4 inches (7 – 10 cm) in length.  Although generally good natured they are not best suited as pets for very young children because of their small size and their ability to move very quickly.   The Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster has a spine which curves towards the rear, giving them an oval or bullet-like shape. However, like their relative the Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster they have the distinct darker stripe down their spine.  These hamsters are sociable and can live together in the same cage but same sex groupings are recommended.  If fighting does occur they must be separated. These hamsters are normally dark grey in colour with a white belly but in their native habitats their coats turn completely white in the winter as they have evolved to camouflage themselves against the snow.  They can also come in sapphire (soft purple grey with a grey belly), imperial (white) and pearl (white ticked through with coloured hairs).   Chinese Hamster Chinese Hamsters originate from the deserts of Northern China and Mongolia. They are between 4 – 5 inches (10 - 12 cm).  They are longer and thinner than Russian Hamsters and look more mouse-like.  Chinese hamsters have a tail which is about an inch (2.5 cm) long and hairless.  They can be kept together in pairs but if they become aggressive they must be separated immediately.  Chinese Hamsters are generally good natured and quiet to handle but are not suited as pets for very young children due to their small size and their ability to move quickly.    Chinese Hamsters are a warm grey / brown colour with a black stripe down their spine.  Another colour variety exists that is known as the White Spotted Chinese Hamster, which often is greyish white all over, with dark stripe on its back. Roborovskis Hamster Roborovskis Hamsters come from the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Northern China.  They are the smallest of all hamsters measuring 1.5 – 3 inches (4 – 7 cm) in length.  These hamsters are sociable and can live together in the same cage but same sex groupings are recommended.  If fighting does occur they must be separated.  They are not recommended as pets for very young children as they can be very lively and difficult to catch. Roborovskis Hamsters are a greyish sandy brown with a white belly and eyebrows.  Other varieties are the Husky – a white faced Roborovskis and a white spotted version. BackTo Top Handling your hamster When you bring your hamster home leave them for a day or two before handling so that they can get used to their new home.   Hamsters have poor eyesight so before you start to handle your hamster let them get used to your voice.  Then introduce your hand so they can become used to your smell. Hamsters are delicate and should be picked up very gently.  They can get very frightened by loud noises and sudden movements so be slow and steady when handling them.  Cup one hand under your hamster and one hand over them to stop them from jumping off. Handle your hamster over a table or close to the floor in case they fall out of your hands.   Never wake your hamster up suddenly so that you can handle them as they will become frightened and possibly nip you. Handle your hamster once a day and they will soon become tame and friendly. BackTo Top