Things To Know Before Buying A Hamster

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I personally believe that a hamster is a great pet for many reasons. Perhaps I am biased but there are honestly many great things about having a pet hamster compared to a dog or a cat. I will list those reasons in the next part.s

For people who never had a hamster before or who did but barely remember anything about it, this guide will give you tips on things to know before buying a hamster. From deciding which species of hamster is suitable for you, the items you have to prepare, where to get a hamster, the cost and more.

We don’t want you to rush to the pet store and pick one as if you’re choosing an ice cream flavour. Raising a pet hamster is a serious commitment. There will be a little creature who will depend on you in many ways.

PROS AND CONS OF A PET HAMSTER

4 images of hamsters Things To Know Before Buying A Hamster

I hope that this idea of getting a hamster is something you have been thinking about for a while now and not something you have thought about in the last 24-hours. If the latter is the case, I recommend you do a bit more research to help you envision a life with a hamster before making the commitment.

>> Check out our before you get a hamster archive and first-time hamster owners.

Pros

  • they are low maintenance
  • hamsters don’t need to be walked every day
  • hamsters can be left at home all-day
  • hamsters love being alone and only need you to ensure that the cage is clean, the food and water are replenished, and there are plenty of toys
  • hamsters are more affordable in the long run

Cons

  • hamsters are naturally aggressive
  • it will take a long time and lots of patience to tame a hamster
  • they chew on everything – I mean everything, that’s why it’s better to get a glass hamster cage
  • hamsters are territorial and solitary
  • they don’t want too many cuddles – some do

HAMSTERS ARE SUITABLE FOR

Hamsters are great pets for adults with full-time commitments to work, or school. Since hamsters are solitary and like being alone, you won’t feel like you are abandoning them when you need to stay at work late or spend a lot of time in school.

As long as you can let your hamster out in the playpen for 10-20 minutes a day while you cook, eat, and clean up, your hamster will be happy.

Hamsters are also great pets for people who don’t want to commit for many years. They live for 2 to 3 years only- this can also be a bad thing, but hamsters will be an excellent pets for people who are not ready for a long commitment.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING A HAMSTER

If you reached this part of the article, I assume you are still interested in having this cute little fur baby. If that’s the case, I’m happy for you! Below, you will learn more things to remember before getting a hamster.

We also have a care sheet with available printable.

Decide which species and sex

First, learn which species of hamsters there are – there are only three. See their different behaviour, their required care, food, and housing. Then educate yourself about the personality of hamsters depending on their sex.

For example, female Syrian hamsters need a huge cage because they can never be satisfied with space. They also have this significant smell that some people find too strong. At the same time, Roborovski hamsters (a dwarf) are the cutest yet the hardest to tame.

What is the best hamster for beginners

I personally think the female Dwarf hamster (Winter White/Djungarian/Hybrids) or Campbell are the best. However, a male Syrian hamster is the least aggressive and the one who will have a high chance of enjoying cuddles.

Prepare the cage

3 hamster cages, one that is super tiny, and two that are big and spacious - Types of Hamster Cages

Once you decide which type of hamster you like, it’s time to identify the cage size you must prepare before bringing it home. We have a list of the best big hamster cage you can get.

Below are the size requirements for a hamster cage, you can also learn the different types of hamster cages:

  • Dwarf and Chinese hamsters -100x50x50 cm (4000 cm2) or 39x20x20 in (450 square inches)
  • Male Syrian hamster – 100x60x60 cm (39x23x23 in) or 620 square inches
  • Female Syrian hamster – 120x70x70 cm (47×27.5×27.5 in)

One of the most common mistakes new hamster owners make is getting a small cage and ending up buying a new cage that is more suitable and will make their hamster happier.

You will also have to set up a hamster cage and ensure that you have the basic items ready such as a wheel, bedding, chew toys, hideout, and more.

Where to get one

Knowing what to know before buying a hamster definitely requires knowing where you can get a hamster. There are three ways to obtain a hamster: a store, a breeder, and a rescue centre.

I want to recommend you adopt an abandoned hamster, although I understand that not everything can take in hamsters from rescue places due to hamsters being traumatised and more aggressive.

Store vs independent breeder

If you feel like you can’t take that responsibility, that’s alright. You can either get a hamster from a pet store or a breeder.

I advise you to check with a certified and ethical hamster breeder first. Although they are a bit more expensive and take time, you are less likely to get a hamster with a neurological issue from an experienced and knowledgeable breeder.

However, be cautious as well. Since there are not a lot of laws for breeders to follow, many people do it without any idea how to properly and safely breed a hamster.

Finally, hamsters from pet stores are from hamster mills. This means the breeder from there is pairing hamsters from the same family line. Hamsters from these places often develop health problems and only live for a short period of time.

Cost of a hamster

Hamsters are very affordable. The cost of a hamster is as low as $15. This is the reason I recommend you get a from an ethical breeder instead. The price won’t be much more, about $25 to $35.

Only a few bucks more, and you can assure that your hamster will not die for no reason or start showing stargazing problems. By doing this, you are also not supporting hamster mills.

MUST-READ: How much does owning a hamster cost

Housing multiple hamsters in a single cage

You cannot house multiple hamsters in one cage. Female hamsters are fertile at the age of six weeks, which means they can get pregnant six weeks after being born. If a female hamster is living with other hamsters of different genders, there is a high risk of accidental pregnancy regardless if the hamsters are from the same family.

Two female hamsters living in a shared cage will also start being territorial and will fight for space. Hamsters fighting can be fatal as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Hamsters might not be as cuddly as a dog or as smart as a cat, but they are very adorable and charming in their own little way. The funny thing is that hamsters love being alone and have their own space, but they also need a lot of help from you to keep their cage clean, their bowl and water bottle filled, and of course, check if they need to visit the vet.

I think now you are ready to pick the hamster you want and bring them home.

I hope that you found these tips on things to know before buying a hamster helpful. This is only a fraction of things to learn about hamsters. Browse our blog, we talk about hamster care a lot to give plenty of tips. We also have a book, “ethical hamster care” that will be so helpful for only $2.99.

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Before getting a hamster, know they're nocturnal, require daily care, and live 2-3 years. They need a spacious cage, balanced diet, and enrichment activities. Vet care can be expensive. Consider adoption over purchasing from pet stores. via @thehamstercareblog

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