Since the discovery of Syrian hamsters back in the mid-19th century, many people have been fascinated by these furry little creatures.
From being exclusively bred as lab rats, to becoming one of the most beloved pets in the world, hamsters stole the hearts of millions of people around the world – including the Duchess of Cambridge with her lovely cavy named Marvin, the royal hamster!
Aside from being attractive due to their size, and their fascinating and endearing behavior, hamsters are very cheap and don’t require too much attention and maintenance that, say, dogs and cats would need.
Where to Get a Hamster?
Choosing where to buy a hamster will depend on your choice and convenience. However, due to that, you have plenty of options to choose from and it can be stressful as to which option is the right one.
Because they are widely known, there’s a high chance you’ll see a hamster at your nearest pet stores. When choosing the right place, make sure to take time to research and look for reviews about the pet store you are getting your next pet hamster.
Also, find out about the quality of their after-sales service and care to ensure that the store will provide a stress-free experience for you as an owner.
If you are planning to shop for a hamster online, make sure to look at websites of pet stores that provide fast and reliable service. Due to the restrictions of some states on handling and transporting hamsters and other small animals, you might end up spending more than the actual price of your purchase. So, it’s best to look for hamster stores near you.
However, some people suggest staying away from buying hamsters from pet stores as most of their pets in “stock” come from pet farms and mills where they are kept under horrible conditions so make sure to include this into your research.
Sadly, more and more pets are being abandoned by owners due to unforeseen reasons or negligence. Fortunately, there are plenty of rescue organizations and pet shelters dedicated to ensuring these unfortunate pets’ survival and preservation.
One of the best ways to finding the perfect pet is through adoption. Aside from helping you find the hamster of your dreams, adopting or rescuing a pet is also a great way to help the community and the country of an increasing problem of overpopulation of pets.
Aside from the great deals adopting can do for you, pet shelters and rescue homes ensure the overall welfare of all the pets they have for adoption and it is relatively cheaper than buying a pet hamster from pet stores. Some shelters won’t even charge owners who want to rescue their pets!
When adopting, however, you might come across the challenge of getting a hamster that has developed reserved dispositions, especially towards humans. So, it is best to find out the history and information about the former owners of your hamster of choice.
Another humane and ideal way of getting a hamster is buying from hamster breeders. Breeders make sure that their hamsters are well-maintained and healthy since they are upholding a reputation, especially to the community of enthusiasts of the animal they chose to breed.
Some hamster breeders develop programs to get specific qualities they look for in a hamster. When they finally get the result they want, they would keep these hamsters for show and competition, sell them for a higher price or keep them for themselves. Those hamster babies that did not pass their standards, on the other hand, are the ones they tend to sell to eager owners looking for quality hamsters.
Buying a hamster from breeders is probably the most expensive option in getting one. However, this choice ensures you that you will get to pick from a selection of truly healthy and happy hamsters from responsible and professional experts.
The Right Place
Hamsters are among one of the most adored pets by young ones and those young at heart. However, they may be small and may be viewed as a good starter pet by most people. As a result, some people tend to buy them by impulse – which can be a mistake especially for first-timers.
When getting a pet, make sure to take your time to search the right place by going to shops and shelters and talking to experts before you decide on getting one. These cute and furry creatures, despite their size and cheaper cost as compared to other pets, still require the care that they deserve from dedicated owners just like you.
Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, the decision of where you will be getting your next hamster will always depend on your choice.
Choosing the Right Hamster
Hamsters come in different breeds that have their own distinct behavior and specific characteristics. Some may exhibit behavior and temperament that may suit your mood and preference.
To give you an idea of the selection of hamster breeds you can choose from, here are some information about them that you should know.
Syrian Hamsters. Also known as golden or teddy bear hamsters, they are considered to be the easiest to take care of, the friendliest, and the most popular hamster breed. Their temperament and behavior are suitable for just about everybody – both children and adults.
If you choose this breed, however, you should know that they require isolation as they can be very unfriendly towards other hamsters; even other Syrians.
Dwarf Hamsters. This hamster species includes the Roborovski, Winter White, and the Campbell’s hamster. Unlike the Syrians, dwarf hamster breeds are generally more active and social towards other hamsters, especially of the same breed.
However, you should be cautious when it comes to introducing dwarf hamsters to each other if you are keeping two or more of the same breed.
Due to their size, energy, and temperament, dwarf hamsters are not the ideal pets to have for kids. Dwarf hamsters are fragile and can easily be injured when handled carelessly. They can also bite and escape when they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
Also, most dwarf hamsters are crepuscular – they are more active during the darkest hours of the day at dawn or dusk. It can be a small issue for you, but some hamsters can be loud at night that may end up interfering with your sleeping pattern.
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters. Also known as Chinese striped hamsters or Chinese hamsters, they are actually not dwarf hamsters. Despite their name, they actually belong to a species of their own with distinct characteristics, behavior, and temperament.
Unlike dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters are solitary creatures. However, if you plan on getting a pair, choose the same gender as these hamsters tend to be aggressive, especially towards the opposite sex.
When choosing the right hamster, it is crucial to look out for signs and symptoms of illnesses and diseases. Just like humans, hamsters can get sick from a weakened immune system due to exposure to harmful environments and stress.
Also, hamsters generally have a short lifespan. For that reason, you might want to consider getting a baby or a pup as your first hamster pet. Young hamsters are generally healthier and happier, especially when they are kept and raised in the right conditions.
Before you go out to shop for a pet hamster, here are the signs you need to take note of so you know you’re getting a healthy, young hamster:
- Bright eyes.
- Clear and dry nose.
- Tidy and no overgrown teeth.
- Neat, shiny and healthy coats.
- Active and comfortable around humans, especially when handled.
One of the most common diseases your hamster may develop is proliferative ileitis or more commonly known as the Wet Tail. It is a disease caused by a bacterial infection but is mostly triggered and caused by stress from being repeatedly handled, changes in the environment and dirty cages, and contaminated food and water source.
Requirements in Owning a Pet Hamster
Having a pet hamster means you should be prepared to face and accept the responsibilities that come along with owning them. Regardless of their size, they deserve the time and effort that you, as a responsible owner, should be willing to give.
In the same manner as owning a cat or a dog, you should also consider other requirements your hamster needs as a pet. These requirements will guarantee their safety, comfort, and overall well-being.
Costs of Owning a Hamster
Hamsters are independent animals and don’t require too much human interaction and attention. Because they’re small, they may also appear to be cheap and easy to maintain.
However, you might get surprised by the costs of owning them, especially when you made the mistake of buying them impulsively. So before anything else, consider your budget and manage it accordingly.