Is a Hamster the Right Pet for You?

What You Need to Know About Choosing a Hamster

Baby hamster
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Types of Hamsters

  • Syrian hamsters are the most common type kept as pets. These should be kept one to a cage (they will fight if kept together). They can be quite tame and easy to handle.
  • Dwarf hamsters (Campbell's and winter white Russian hamsters, Roborovski hamsters) are more social and are probably better kept with others of the same species, but they should be introduced at a young age. Fast and agile, they are a bit harder to handle.
  • Chinese hamsters are similar in size to the dwarf hamsters but is not a true dwarf hamster. Sometimes they get along with other Chinese hamsters, but often they do not. Tend to be quite friendly, but are also very quick and agile.

Different species of hamsters should never be kept together.

The care of all pet hamsters is quite similar, except for whether they should be kept as solitary pets or as pairs/groups.

Lifespan

Size

  • Syrian Hamster: 6-7 inches
  • Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster: 4 inches
  • Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster: 3.5-4 inches
  • Roborovski Hamster: about 2 inches
  • Chinese Hamsters: around 4 inches (10 cm) - and, unlike other hamsters, they have a noticeable tail as well.

Profiles of Species including Sociability and Habits

More on Hamsters:

Hamster Fun