As pets, hamsters are fairly easy to care for. Hamsters don’t need to walk, they’re not particularly dirty or stinky, they’re small and don’t take up much space, and they’re generally inexpensive. Hamsters are also quite robust animals and can make a very good pet for a child or a family with several children. However, there are two distinct options when it comes to adopting a hamster for your family, and that is the Dwarf Hamster and the Syrian Hamster. I spoke with Ken Brocx, the founder of Hamsterific.com, an authoritative website for hamsters and small pets about this question and what his recommendations would be for someone considering adopting a hamster but not knowing exactly which route is best for their family.
Thanks Ken for taking the time to talk to us. First of all, let’s assume a family
with a toddler or children (let’s say around seven or eight years old to
this example) you are considering adopting a hamster or hamsters for your home. would do
Do you personally recommend a dwarf hamster or a Syrian hamster in this case?
I would generally recommend a Syrian hamster for younger children. Dwarf hamsters
they are smaller, which can make handling difficult. Also, if a dwarf manages to
they are released are faster than Syrians and therefore more difficult to catch. Syrians tend to be
more docile if properly bred.
Syrian hamsters are supposed to be solitary once they are weaned, but that’s not the problem.
case with dwarf hamsters, right?
No. Most dwarf hamsters prefer some company, but that means more space. What
can be a problem as many commercial cages are too small for more than one
hamster, even a dwarf hamster.
Is there a reason to buy a solo dwarf hamster? Or would it be better
adopt two dwarfs instead of one?
In the wild, dwarf hamsters live in colonies, so I prefer to keep them that way. TO
dwarf hamster will only need a lot of of attention to avoid
If you initially buy a dwarf hamster and then want to introduce a second (or
third) dwarf hamster, would it be possible or are you asking for conflicts with such
It depends on the particular dwarf hamster and how long they have been alone. Yes
a dwarf hamster has been alone for more than a month I find it very difficult
to introduce a new cage mate. Young dwarf hamsters will accept a new hamster
much easier than a larger dwarf hamster. Also dwarf hamsters tend to
better socialize with siblings than with strange or unfamiliar hamsters.
Are dwarf hamsters generally less vigorous creatures than Syrians?
Both dwarf and Syrian hamsters are very hardy creatures. Dwarf hamsters have been
domesticated for a much shorter time than the Syrians, and because of that they have
It has been a minor opportunity for them to become inbred. Inbreeding can cause many
Problems with the health of any breed of hamster. In Syrians, this often results in a
hamster that is difficult to tame. In dwarf hamsters it is very common to see
diabetes in consanguineous puppies.
What kind of equipment would you recommend for someone about to adopt a hamster?
get for your hamster’s new home?
Hamsters need a constant supply of clean water, a food dish that is heavy enough
not tip over when a hamster crawls on it, an exercise wheel and a
They “nest” where they can feel safe. Wheels are not just toys. A hamster in the wild can
run several kilometers a night marking their territory and looking for food and the only way
we can duplicate that in a reduced space there is a wheel. In nature, hamsters live in
underground burrows. To nest, a hamster needs a place where it feels it can
withdraw from danger. A hamster without a nest will feel insecure and nervous.
What is the life expectancy of Syrian dwarfs and hamsters?
Dwarfs typically live 2 to 4 years depending on breed, living conditions, and genetics.
provision. Syrians live about 2-3 years.
What would you suggest to someone looking for when buying or adopting a hamster?
The most important thing is the health and personality of the hamsters. The color, long
Pretty hair and eyes won’t matter much if you have a sick hamster. Look clean
dry skin, especially around the hamster’s butt, stressed hamsters can
Wet Tail, which is a deadly type of diarrhea. Wet Tail can be extended to the surroundings
cages and it can be very difficult to sterilize an area after an outbreak. Personality is
very important too. If you choose an outgoing hamster who doesn’t mind being held
you will probably find it much easier to tame and make friends
he or she.
Is there any reason to adopt a hamster from a breeder rather than a pet store?
Professional breeders often take great care to ensure that their hamsters do not
innate. Inbreeding can result in many health and personality problems. A lot of pets
Stores buy from these same breeders, although some may let their hamsters
they breed in the store, leading to rampant inbreeding and hamsters in poor health.
Also, just because a person has a lot of hamsters and sells them does not mean that
is a professional quality breeder. Be sure to check local shelters as well.
Animal shelters often have hamsters that need good homes.
Is the Syrian diet significantly different from that of a dwarf? I know, for
For example, giving dwarf hamsters fruit that may be high in sugar could be
problematic because dwarfs are more likely to become diabetic.
Other than that, Syrians and Dwarves have similar diets.
What exactly is “heat”? Is it related to walnuts in some way, isn’t it or is it related to others?
types of food too? And does “heat” affect a Syrian and a dwarf in the same way?
Well, there are two types of “heat”. “Heat” may be the term for when a woman
hamster comes into season, but you’re talking about the condition that affects
hamsters that eat too much fatty food. That kind of “heat” is usually caused by a
owner who wants to feed his hamster a treat, usually sunflower seeds, and goes
the water. Too much oil, such as that from sunflower seeds, can cause a hamster to
to speed up the metabolism and make them lose their hair. That is “heat” and I only have
seen in dwarf hamsters.
The last words, warnings, recommendations or other general thoughts that
Would you like to share with someone who is interested in adopting a hamster?
Health and personality are the most important things when buying a new hamster, buy
the biggest home for your hamster you can, Never put two syrian hamsters
together and play with your hamster as often as possible.
Interview with Ken Brocx, founder of Hamsterific.com, an authoritative hamster website
and other small pets.