There can be quite drastic differences of size, temperament, and needs between the different hamster species. Which you should purchase or adopt depends on your own situation: how comfortable are you holding smaller creatures? What type of cage do you own? Do you have any preference for gender? Who will be the primary care-giver and are they of an age where they can properly handle and care for the animal? You’ll need to carefully consider these questions in order to make the right decision. Below we’ve included some information that we hope will be of use.
When you’re considering buying a hamster, you need to be sure that you (or whoever you’re buying the pet on behalf of) are comfortable with handling it. Hamsters are extraordinarily agile little creatures with a lot of energy, a characteristic which can make handling them a little difficult. It is for this reason that a lot of people prefer the Syrian hamster, the largest of the pet hamsters. These hamsters are still fast, but aren’t as quick or as jumpy as their smaller counterparts.
Syrian hamsters are the largest of the pet hamster species
It’s not recommended that children under the age of about ten should hold hamsters unsupervised, or for any child, (even a young teenager) to be given sole care of the animal. The parent or guardian will be given the ultimate responsibility, but this isn’t a chore! People of all ages love looking after and bonding with these characterful critters.
If you already have a cage, then this could determine what kinds of hamsters you can accommodate. For example, if it has bars, then the gap between them will determine whether or not you can have a Dwarf hamster - if the gap is too large, then small varieties such as Roborovskis will be able to squeeze out.
If you have any preference as to the gender of your hamster, you might want to research whether or not the hamster species you have your eye on have any temperament differences between males and females. For example, if you would like a female hamster, then you may need to know about issues such as smell and temperament. For more information on differences between hamster genders, have a look at our Male or Female section.