Getting a New Hamster: What You Should Know

After watching all kinds of funny videos about fluffy, chubby hamsters, I can imagine that you cannot wait to buy your hamster. But wait for one minute. Use one minute to finish reading this article, and you will be equipped with all knowledge you would need to buy yourself a healthy, cute hamster.


Where to buy a hamster?

Hamster is almost the smallest and the cheapest pet among all popular pets. It does not need much vaccine injection, so buying a hamster can be rather easier than a cat or a dog. Go straight to a pet store, and you can choose your favorite fluffy.

Choosing a reliable pet store is very important. When you enter the pet store, first check if the hamsters are kept separately in their cage. Possibilities of getting infected with wet tail, a highly lethal and infective disease, whose incubation can be relatively long, will be much higher for hamsters kept together in one cage. However, the symptoms may not show up when you buy him.

Before finally buying one hamster, you should ask the owner to show you the related certificates. If you are satisfied with the pet store’s tidiness and the look of the hamsters, you can choose your favorite one.

Nowadays, online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. Though shipping by air may lead to stress for our fluffy, sometimes shopping online can also be the right choice. If you have a specific preference for certain species, you can google for reliable breeder and purchase it online. Suppose you are not sure about their qualification. In that case, you can join some Facebook groups to know more about those online breeders.

However, in my opinion, there is no need to BUY one hamster. In fact, there are thousands of unwanted hamsters in rescue centers and animal shelters waiting to be adopted. Similarly, you can join related Facebook groups to adopt one.


Does gender matter? Male or female?

Male and female hamsters both have advantages and disadvantages. Choose the appropriate one according to your demands.

Male ones are friendlier and like intimate interaction with human beings better. But male ones have a more active scent gland, so they will stink a lot and require their owners to give them extra bath and cage cleaning frequently.

Meanwhile, female ones will be fiercer compared with male ones, and they would become even fiercer when they are pregnant. Suppose you keep them with male ones in expectations of breeding new hamsters. In that case, they are more likely to fight the male ones over, because hamsters run a matriarchal society.

Besides, female ones often refuse to interact with their owners. Since they prefer to be alone, they do not need much care and are perfect ornamental pets.


Which type of hamster is the friendliest?

There is no doubt that the white winter dwarf hamster is the friendliest species. The wild species features three black lines across their back, while some artificial hybrids have many kinds of coat colors without those lines.
The pet hamster we talk about is usually the dwarf hamster species.

However, the golden or Syrian hamster can be as friendly either. Though their size may be a lot larger than dwarf hamsters, they seldom bite and would like to interact with human beings.

In fact, hamsters we can buy from pet stores nowadays have been fed and bred in artificial circumstances for dozens of generations, so they have lost most of their ferity and love to get food from human beings a lot. Though they have different characters, most of them can be seen as “friendly.”

How old should the hamster be when I get it?

The life span of a hamster is not very long, so it does not take much time to leave their mom. Cubs older than one month can be taken home.

In fact, hamsters will grow into full adult size quickly in two months. Therefore, it is difficult for us normal buyers to tell how old the hamster is in a pet store. A reliable breeder will clearly show you the birth date of your fluffy.

Still, most pet stores do not have enough energy or time to collect such information. Since such busy pet stores sell many hamsters every day, likely, the hamster they sell you is still in his adolescence. Even if not, everything will be ok if your fluffy is a healthy one.

If you really want to get involved in your hamster’s every life process, remember the rule: the younger, the darker, and their fur will be shorter. The old hamsters are lack of fur and do not seem to be active obviously.

Price of hamsters

5-15 dollars, maybe higher if your chosen species are particularly rare or difficult to come to your place. 

On the other hand, 0 dollars if you choose to adopt one. Since the cage, the water bowl, the food bowl beddings, and running wheels can cost up to 100 dollars. Adoption is always a good choice.


Check for health issues before buying

  1. Eyes

Bright, clear, no gum in the eyes, which indicate illness.

  1. Nose

Pink, moist, no snot, which also indicates illness.

  1. Ears

In a full shape, without any sign of getting bitten, which indicate not only this pet store breed hamsters incorrectly and irresponsibly, but also this one is an ill or weak one, so that the other stronger ones will bully him.

  1. Teeth

Neat, no missing, stand in order, do not stretch out of the mouth.

  1. Fur & Body

Shiny, smooth, no obvious lump

  1. Tail

The tail is the most important part to check. A healthy hamster always has a clean, dry tail.

A wet, dirty, stinky tail shows that this poor little one is very likely suffering from the disease known as “Wet Tail”, which is extremely lethal and highly infective. If you find such hamsters in the pet store, stop buying any hamster there because other hamsters seemingly healthy in that store may have been infected. 

Sometimes it is rather difficult to tell the difference between normal diarrhea or wet tail for you, point out the tail problem, and ask the sales. By combining the sanitary and feeding conditions in this store, you would have an answer if the sales are lying.

  1. Movements

Usually, a hamster is always busy with his own stuff, including digging the bedding or cleaning himself. If one seldom moves and gives up cleaning, he is likely to be ill or very old.

Observe the dynamic motion of its movement, to see if his legs and the spine correspond naturally. 

hamster in pink cage

What to prepare for safely taking the hamster home?

 My suggestion is to prepare the stuff a hamster would need before you finally get your fluffy home. The preparation includes a cage in the proper size, water bottle, food bowl, running wheels, climbing posts, enough beddings, enough food, bath sand, and a quiet, undisturbed environment.

After you prepare all this stuff, you can get your fluffy home. If you purchase him online, the experienced breeder will make him comfortable along the trip. Suppose you drive yourself to take him home. In that case, I recommend that you take a smaller travel box or buy one in the pet store, which guarantees the ventilation and prevents any escape or falling.

When you and your new little friend arrive home, move him to the ordinary cage prepared before gently and slowly, and here comes the most important step: leave him alone. The hamsters are shy and sensitive creatures, so they are burden with too much stress after travel. Give him 2-3 days to get familiar with his new home, or he may die of such stress.


I am confident that after reading this article, you can definitely buy one perfect fluffy one home. I hope you will enjoy every second with your little friend in the future for two or three years.

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