Choosing a hamster is for many kids their first experience with a pet of their own.
Even younger children can be taught valuable lessons on responsibility with their very own pet hamster. Feeding, cleaning and taking care of the water bottle are just a few of the responsibilities you can work with your child on; the problem is how do you choose a good hamster?
The Pet Store
When you walk into a pet store pay attention to your surroundings. Use all of your senses while in the store, does it smell, are there sounds of animal distress and do you see a basically dirty environment. These are all signs that you are in the wrong place for choosing a hamster.
Even when you find a reputable looking establishment for choosing a hamster you should still be mindful of the reputation of the seller and ask questions about the hamsters themselves.
You should ask where they get their animals from, life expectancy of the animal and how long the hamster has been in the store. This will give you the best possible specimen to take home for your children.
Another better option is adoption if available for hamsters in your area. You can read why it’s a good idea here.
There are certain breeds of hamsters that are known to be a bit more aggressive than others are though most can be handled. Choosing a hamster offers you several different breed types however the most popular are the Syrian or teddy bear and the dwarf.
Syrian hamsters are the largest growing up to 7 inches long. These are probably the most docile of the hamster breeds when it comes to interacting with humans. However, the same cannot be said for hanging out with each other. By the time a Syrian is 10 months old it should be in a cage by themselves. If these hamsters are left together, they will literally fight to the death.
Dwarf hamsters are a popular choice as well because of their tiny size. These hamsters tend to be a bit more active than the Syrian is and can be a little aggressive if not handled properly or often.
One or Two?
The next question you will want to answer is if you want more than one hamster. Choosing a hamster with a playmate may be a temptation, however these little critters are difficult to sex and if you are not careful, you can quickly be overrun with furry creatures!
Male hamsters can breed as early as six weeks of age and if left in a cage with a fertile female they will. Ideally, a hamster should be 2-4 months old before breeding but if you are not careful, they will be constantly breeding and since one female can potentially produce 20 babies at one time, it might be best to only purchase one animal.
Choosing a hamster can be a fun activity for young and old alike. These creatures are a joy to watch and play with, nevertheless take a few precautions. Talk to the pet store about the best habitat for your new furry pet as well as proper nutrition. And if you don’t want to get a hamster, you could always get a pet guinea pig.
Like the Guinea Pig Care facebook page if you end up getting a cavy 🙂