An introduction to hamsters

Hamsters are fascinating pets; they all have individual characters and enjoy exploring their surroundings. With time and patience, some hamsters can even enjoy learning basic tricks.

There are five main domestic breeds, these are:  The Syrian (most common and largest), The winter white, the Campbell, The Chinese and The Roborovski . Each with their own quirky habits and appearance, hamsters can make a lovely addition to any family. The fast facts below will help guide you when choosing which breed of hamster is right for you.

Fast facts:

Hamster companionship

All breeds except the Syrian & Chinese hamster can live with another hamster of the same breed, however if the accommodation is not suitable fights can occur so many prefer a solitary life.

Life expectancy of hamsters

Hamsters can live up to 3 years.

Accommodation for hamsters

Syrian hamsters like to climb and travel large distances so need the biggest cage you can budget for. The ideal size is an 80cm wide by 50cm deep by 50 cm high with a 1cm bar spacing.

All other breeds of hamster require less height but plenty of floor space as they prefer to travel low to the ground than climb. The ideal size is an 80cm wide by 50cm deep by 35 cm high cage with a 6mm bar spacing.

Hamster food

Hamsters are omnivores, they require a well balance diet of seeds, grains, pulses and meat sources.

Hamster health

Hamsters are generally quite healthy animals. Often most illness comes with old age or poor husbandry.

Always carry out a health check on your hamster each week to monitor for any changes in their behaviour, movement, toileting and general appearance.

Are hamsters family-friendly pets?

Hamsters can make a lovely first-time pet for children who are able to offer a calm, patient and confident approach.

They can enjoy coming out to be handled and will take treats from your hands.

Hamsters are nocturnal so will sleep more in the day and be active at night, they may not always appreciate being woken up so may not suit a family who are keen to have lots of interaction.

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