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Choosing the Perfect Hamster

Choosing the perfect hamster starts with doing your homework to make sure that hamsters are the right pet for you. Be sure you have the proper habitat for the animals, as well as the time to devote to them. Once you have established that hamsters are a good match for you, consider the gender of pets you want and be sure to select healthy animals when choosing the perfect hamster.

Hamster habitats can be a cage, tank, or modular plastic habitat. There are pros and cons to each, depending on your hamsters. Syrian hamsters, a popular breed for pets, like to climb; cages make good homes for them. The bottoms should be smooth, not mesh, to protect their feet. Glass or plastic tanks, while easy to clean, do not provide good ventilation and are not good for hamsters who like to climb. Modular habitats designed for hamsters provide them with play space and give their human companions the opportunity to watch them play, but can be difficult to clean. Also, some Syrian hamsters may grow too large for the tunnels in these types of enclosures. Be sure you know how large your hamster is likely to grow and consider that when choosing a habitat.

There are two main kinds of hamster kept as pets: Syrian (the most common) and dwarf hamsters. Syrian hamsters are best kept alone in a cage, as they frequently fight. Dwarf hamsters may be kept in pairs or small groups, provided they are introduced at a young age. Generally speaking, Syrian hamsters are larger and therefore a bit hardier, so they are often better for families with young children. Regardless of the type of hamster, always supervise children while they are handling hamsters.

If appearance matters to you when choosing the perfect hamster, there are many different coat patterns and textures from which to choose. Many Syrian hamsters are a golden brown color, although many breeders are able to offer a variety of coat colors through selective breeding.

Choosing the perfect hamster means looking for an animal that appears to be a healthy weight, not seeming too fat or too skinny. Look for hamsters with clean, clear eyes that have no cloudiness or discharge, as well as clean and perky ears. Watch the hamsters as they move around, and steer clear of any animals that limp or appear to be lethargic. When choosing the perfect hamster, look for friendly and inquisitive animals that look playful and curious.