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CHOOSING A HAMSTER-

If you can get a furry friend go to the pet store, hamster breeder (if you're looking for a specific coat color for your hammy) or animal shelter to pick one out.

Check the animal over( althogh they maybe a little squiggly ). A healthy hamster should have clean ears, a clean and dry bottom, just slightly rounded tummy, no bald spots or lumps (except for the scent glands on its thighs, which many beginning owners mistake for cuts or scabs), clean bright eyes, and healthy teeth which aren't overgrown or curled upwards.

Ask about the hamster's age. Female hamsters older than 8 weeks may be pregnant if they were kept with other males. You can guess whether a hamster is young or not by the size; Syrian hamsters may reach 5-7 inches (12.7-17.8 cm) in length as adults, Campbell's dwarf hamsters and Winter White dwarf hamsters reach 3-4 inches (7.6-10.1cm), Chinese hamsters can grow to be 4-5 inches (10.1-12.7cm) long, and Roborovski hamsters barely reach 3 inches (7.6cm) in length as adults. Remember, older hamsters need homes just as much as the babies do! Hamsters at pet stores labeled as Campbell's, Winter Whites, or Russian dwarf hamsters are actually cross species of a Campbell's and winter white. They are the only 2 species of hamster that are able to interbreed, and unless you are given a pedigree, these hamsters will be a cross between the 2 species.

If you have a choice, go to the pet store later in the day or early in the evening.This is when hamsters are the most active, and you can clearly see each hamster's personality and pick the one that is right for you.

PURCHASING A HAMSTER-

You can go to either a local animal shelter, pet store, or a responsible breeder to find the right pet for you.

Regardless of where you go to find your pet, check out the living conditions. The enclosures should not be cramped or dirty; they must be clean and healthy for the hamsters. Make sure males and females are kept separately and that the staff do guarantee the genders of their hamsters. However, it is OK for pet shops to house males and females together until they reach about eight weeks. Also, make sure the hamsters are getting along or not if you want to house two Dwarf hamsters together. Don't forget to have all your supplies ready for your new hamster.

Try to check out the hamsters carefully. A healthy hamster is alert, active, awake, lively, and curious. They have pleasantly round bodies, dry fur, clear eyes, and erect ears. If a hamster has wet fur around the rump, be especially wary; this is a sign of wet tail, a disease that spreads quickly to other hamsters housed with it and is very fatal. The fur must be dry and clean.

Ask someone who works with the hamsters their age; hamsters are best sold at 4-6 weeks because it's easiest to tame them at that age. Also ask to see if the person who works with them knows about hamsters and can take good care of them to keep them in good health (although he or she may only know basic information).

Ask to place your hand in the hamster enclosure. If the staff or breeder (depending on where you go, of course) are uncomfortable with this, then ask for them to place their hand in the hamster enclosure, as the hamsters will show their true behavior towards people when it is someone they are familiar with. Avoid buying a hamster that bites or scratches aggressively. Also do not buy one that is extremely fearful who darts, hides, and does not reappear. A curious hamster who sniffs but doesn't climb right into your hand is a good choice. An individual that is curious and nips gently to test your hand (just as some puppies do) is another good choice.

Ask the pet store worker about the hamster. There is no such thing as a bad question. Ask them about the gender, breed, age, etc. But also realize that the worker has many other hamsters to attend to, so they may only know the basics, such as gender. Some PETCO and Petsmart stores may have some more information to offer than other local pet stores

Do your research beforehand. Find out which hamster is right for you and whether you are adapt to looking after it. If you want a type of hamster that can be handled and tamed easily, a Syrian hamster is your best choice. It is also the best for a novice hamster owner. Dwarf hamsters tend to be more flighty by nature and are quicker. Their size and speed makes them harder to handle than Syrian hamsters.