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Buying a hamster - what do I need to know?

(11 Posts)
TuttiFrutti Wed 21-Nov-12 18:10:09

We have agreed rather rashly to give our dd aged 5 a hamster for Christmas. I grew up with guinea pigs but have never had hamsters. Which type should I buy - Siberian or Russian? Girl or boy? And is there anything else I should know?

amazingmumof6 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:59:06

you need to change them regularly else they stink. teeth grow fast so must be fed with things that wears them down
boy better, girl could be pregnant. some eat their own babies.
they make noises and the hamster wheels are so much fun!

we used to build a labirynth out of books and boxes and let them run around.
they have little drops of poo
they are cute and soft and sweet
nicest name for a white one is Snowflake

when mine died I was heartbroken

ginmakesitallok Wed 21-Nov-12 21:04:30

Siberians are bigger - so probably easier for a child to handle. Having said that I think a hamster is a terrible pet for a young child - they don't tend to like being handled, aren't active during the day, and can bite.

I loved my 2, but won't be getting another until dds are older.

JudeFawley Wed 21-Nov-12 21:05:07

Agree - they need lots of cleaning.

Don't but complicated Rotastak multi storey accommodation as you will spend 3 hours every weekend cleaning it.

They are not suitable for bedrooms as they are so noisy at night. Our last one used to fill his wheel with food and then run around in it.

They are very boring sweet.

CPtart Wed 21-Nov-12 21:09:32

They are nocturnal, so generally sleep all day and then disturb you all evening/night tearing round in their wheel, which can be v noisy although you can buy "silent" hamster wheels...we did on day two!

They don't live for very long, 2years on average if I remember correctly. Ours lasted 18 months, was Siberian but can't remember the difference.

When you let it out make sure all doors/escape routes are closed. They are very fast and can easily disappear into the narrowest of cracks or spaces.

They can bite if disturbed from sleep or handled carelessly, and bites can be deep and hurt (remembers blood dripping onto kitchen floor episode!)

They poo a lot.

They are great first pets for young children as inevitably the novelty will wear off and you won't have it for years.

amazingmumof6 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:51:41

need to change them regularly else they stink - just realized it sounds like you need to get a new hamster every time it gets a bit smelly! grin

I meant change the sawdust or whatever they sleep on - and clean the cage/ box

TuttiFrutti Wed 21-Nov-12 21:59:53

Thanks for all your replies.

Amazing mum, I did know you meant change the bedding not buy a new hamster!!!

Not living for long is a plus point in my book. I'm sure the novelty will wear off but dd is obsessed at the moment.

Katisha Wed 21-Nov-12 22:03:23

We are getting one for DS (will be 11). How often is often re cleaning? I can't face stinky rodent smell but will be expecting DS to do it, not me...

amazingmumof6 Wed 21-Nov-12 22:25:24

tuttifrutti I know you knew, but I thought it looked/read funny grin

katisha mine used to collect poo in the same corner, so I would get rid of that daily or every other day and change bedding once or twice a week- depending on laziness/tolerance to smell (cold!), but this was not based on pet shop advise.

also we mixed the sawdust with bits of cotton wool (same as cleaning babies) and the hamsters were very cozy

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 26-Nov-12 01:39:43

Syrian hamsters are the biggest.
They can often be difficult to handle.
They can often be difficult to sex.
They often bite.
They escape.
When they escape they chew things. Things like electrical wires.
They die at the drop of a hat.
They are boring.
They sleep all day and run noisily round on their wheel all night.
They are good at jumping out of your hand and breaking themselves.
Your 5yo will lose interest very quickly.
Your 5yo will not want to clean it out.
You will get annoyed with having to clean it out.
It will smell.
In about 3 months, you will wish that you had never heard the word hamster.
The same goes for mice, gerbils, gerds, chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs pygmy hedgehogs and any other small furry house pet that your 5yo will pester you for over the next ten years.

TataClaire Fri 04-Jan-13 21:28:30

Syrian hamsters are the largest. They should be kept alone. If they are well hand-tamed (best done by an adult over a period of time - details prob easily found on google) they are the easiest for children to handle as they are larger and less delicate and slightly less likely to behave like a mexican jumping bean.
They sleep through the day, so shouldnt really be handled till evening or if you see they are up and will make a racket on their wheel and chewing etc at night, so no good to keep in bedrooms.
They also have no depth perception, so if you put them on a table, they will walk off the edge!
Overall, if you get a nice youngster (one with the least fear response and no screaming at people!) and treat it gently and that people are nice and handling means getting treats and having a nice time, you'll be fine.grin

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