your first hamster

Your First Hamster

A Hamster is a a very good first pet for children as their food and bedding can be brought for a small cost which children can pay for from their weekly pocket money which will teach them to be responsible pet owners. They also make great pets for adults to though. You can buy your hamster from good pet shops and from specialist breeders. Why not ask other hamster owners where they brought their hamster? They might be able to recommend somewhere to you. There are also hamster re homing and welfare organisations which may be able to either recommend somewhere or may be looking for suitable homes for hamsters in their care.

Selecting Your Hamster

You should buy a Hamster at around 12 weeks old. At this time they should be ready to settle in to a new environment without too many problems. There are four common types of hamster you can buy as pets. The most common are Syrian and Chinese.


The Syrian hamster is the most commonly sold breed in pet shops. As the biggest breed they are often considered most suitable for children as they are easier to handle. They will need a bigger cage than the other breeds of hamster though. Syrian hamsters are solitary animals which should be kept on their own. Both males and females are very placid and will make a great pet.


The Chinese hamster can be kept on its own, in pairs, and in small groups. This can give them a bit more interest as you can observe the group interacting. They are smaller than the Syrian hamster and are more timid. Both males and females will make a good pet and have a good temperament. If you are keeping a pair or group it can be a good idea to keep males as they get along better.

Campbell & Roborovski

The two less well known breeds are the Campbell hamster and the Roborovski. The Campbell is a quick and inquisitive creature. They can be kept singly, in pairs or small groups. There are a large variety of colours available, but you will have to search around to find some of them. The Roborovski will be more active during the daytime than other breeds. They like to explore and exercise and are very quick so more suitable for adults than children. As with the Campbell and Chinese breeds they can be kept singly, or in pairs and groups.

When selecting a Hamster make sure you handle it so that you can examine its condition and get a idea of its temperament. Look at its body condition, how is its weight? Is its coat healthy looking with no signs of mites? Its eyes should be bright and healthy.

What Equipment Will You Need?

You will need some basic equipment for keeping your Hamster. You should buy this equipment in advance and make sure it is set up so that your Hamster can be settled into its new environment as soon as possible.

Firstly you will need a suitable cage. There are lots available. You can choose from a wire cage, which comes in a variety of different sizes and shapes. Check the width between the bars. If you are getting a Syrian hamster then a gap of around 10-12mm will be suitable. For smaller breeds make sure it is closer to 8mm. Look for a good build quality as some wire cages can be of poor quality which may allow the hamster to escape through poorly built corners and joints. There are also plastic and glass cages. These will usually have a wire lid to allow air to flow into the cage. Some will be just a simple cage with space for a house and wheel and some will have tubes connecting various different compartments for the hamster to explore.

Next you will need a water bottle. Find one which is suitable for the type of cage you buy. A wire cage can have the traditional plastic water bottle held on with wire. If you have a glass or plastic cage then you can get bottles with suckers on to attach to the side or specifically designed bottles for cages such as Rotastack. You will also need a food bowl. Many cages will come with one or have one built into the design, if not then its best to opt for a ceramic bowl which cannot be chewed or knocked over so easily.

For exercise and to keep your hamster occupied you will need a wheel and a ball. The wheel is kept inside the cage so that the hamster can run in it as it wishes, to mimic its natural behaviour in the wild. Make sure you have one which is a suitable size for the type of hamster you get. You should try and get the solid type of wheel. This is because the wire and plastic wheels with gaps can sometimes result in the hamster injuring its feet or legs if they get trapped in the gap. A hamster ball is a good idea to give your hamster the chance to have a run around outside its cage and explore its surroundings a little more. Always supervise your hamster when it is in the wheel and keep sessions to no more than ten minutes at a time.

A gnaw toy can be a good idea to give your hamster something to chew on to keep its teeth healthy and stop them getting too long. Treat sticks which you can hand from the cage bars are also a good idea to add interest to your hamsters day.

You will need to buy some wood shavings to put on the bottom of the cage. This will help absorb the hamsters urine and can be used by the hamster to build a nest. You will also need some bedding for the hamster to build its nest with. Cotton wool type bedding is a popular choice, as it paper bedding.

Finally you will need to select some food for your hamster. To start with it is a good idea to use the same food the hamster has been fed before you get them so that the hamster has not got to cope with a change of diet as well as a new environment. Once your hamster is settled you can consider changing to another food if you feel it necessary.

Pet Products @ Amazon

Free Super Saver delivery, great prices and a name you can trust

THE Pet Supermarket

Wide range of pet supplies at fantastic prices with fast delivery

Pet Products @ Amazon

Free Super Saver delivery, great prices and a name you can trust

Leave a Reply