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Beginners' Guide
Factors to consider
Selecting a hamster
Hamster starter kit
Taking your hamster home

More Info
Hamster Basics
Hamster Care

Factors to consider before buying a hamster

1. Age
As most hamsters only live 2-3 years, it is advisable to buy a younger hamster so that you can enjoy a longer relationship with your pet. Younger hamsters are also easier to tame than an older hamster.

2. Sex
Generally, there are no distinct behavioural differences in the different sexes. You should buy from a pet shop or breeder who are knowledgeable enough to determine the sex of the hamster. Make sure you do not house a male and a female hamster together or you run the risk of ending up with an unplanned litter of hamsters.

3. Cost
Although a hamster usually does not cost very much, the real cost of keeping a hamster are quite substantial. The cost of bedding, food and cage supplies as well as potential veterinary bills should be taken into consideration. In addition you will need to spend time interacting with your hamster to tame it and to clean the cage regularly to keep the hamster in good health.

4. Natural predators
Many household pets, such as dogs and cats, are natural predators of hamsters, and should be kept away from the hamster to prevent injuries and death.

5. Allergy to fur
If you or any of your family members is allergic to fur, wear gloves when handling the hamster. A short-haired hamster will be a more desirable choice than a long-haired one. Have another family member clean the cage regularly so that the hamster's fur can be kept as clean as possible.

6. Hamsters are nocturnal
Since hamsters are nocturnal animals, refrain from waking them up in the day to play. Waking up your hamsters and picking them up when they are sleeping makes them irritated and you will most likely get your fingers bitten.

7. Hamsters are solitary
Hamsters are solitary animals and will fight if you house more than one in a cage. You should follow the one-hamster-one-cage rule. Some species, such as the Russian Campbell dwarf hamsters, can live cordially together. However there are many exceptions to the rule and you should always be prepared to buy a cage if you notice fighting.

8. Choosing from the different breeds
There are many breeds of hamsters to choose from. Roborovskii hamsters, for example, are extremely quick and lively, and hence difficult to handle. However, their liveliness make them very entertaining to watch. Choose a hamster that is most suitable to your liking and personality.

9. Children
Children should be supervised by adults when they are handling hamsters to ensure the safety of the young child and the hamster.

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