Russian Dwarf hamster

Russian Dwarf hamster*

You asked: What should I know about adopting a hamster?

Answer: Dwarf hamsters are solitary or social; Syrian hamsters are solitary 

Syrian hamsters and Chinese hamsters, unlike chinchillas, are solitary pets. Syrian hamsters include:

  • golden hamsters
  • teddy bear hamsters
  • black bear hamsters
  • panda bear hamsters
  • polar bear hamsters

Except for mating or raising young, these hamsters should not share a cage as they will fight and can cause serious injuries to each other.

Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, can be kept in same sex pairs or small groups, but make sure you allow enough space if you have several hamsters in one enclosure. If you see any signs of aggression in these same sex pairs or small groups, be prepared to separate them permanently.

Hamsters are most active in the evening and nighttime. They may not appreciate being handled in the daytime hours and can possibly bite. Poor vision paired with the disorienting and scary experience of getting scooped up by an owner during the daytime (when previously asleep) can lead to the potential for a hamster bite. We recommend that you go slow with your new pet and allow him or her to adjust to you. Spending a moderate amount of time with your pet is key to having a friendly and well-adjusted hamster. 

Have more questions about hamsters? Leave it in a comment below.

Welcome to Ask the Vet, a regular feature on The Animal Store Blog. We have teamed up with the great veterinarians at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will answer your most pressing pet questions right here! Do you want to see your question answered on the blog? Leave a comment below or submit it on our contact form.
*Photo credit: Russian Dwarf hamster by cdrussorusso via a Creative Commons license.