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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Wink Sorta New to hamsters

Hello everyone! I am a mom of one great son, and we want to venture into housing a hamster. I am really an aquatics girl- I have had up to 8 fishtanks going at once, including all manner of clawed creatures (frogs, hermit crabs, crayfish, snails, etc.) and fish. It has been years since I have had hamsters/gerbils/rabbits, and I need a refresher. Basically, I want to know which hamsters seem the most hearty and which are the mellowist. I remember having gerbils and white mice, and they were FAST. Not looking for fast, if possible. I recall my friends teddybear hamsters as a teen that seemed the mellowest creatures ever. My friend had a very sick dad, who was bedridden... this hamster of hers would sit on the pillow beside his head "caring" for him for hours. But I also hear that the teddys are the most prone to wettail? (Though the store says that is not true, and that there are actually other breeds that are more prone.) I Would like a mellow guy. (Do I look for a male or female? I know with mice, the males are much more.. aromatic!). Also, what age should they be when sold to me? Thanks so much!!
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 09:25 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

Syrian hamsters are the best IMO.I actually never had experience with dwarf hamsters,but they can be faster and more bitey from what I am hearing.If they are not handled often,they can bite.While once Syrians are tamed,they are tamed.

"Teddy bear" hamsters are just long haired Syrians.And "panda bear","black bear"...etc,etc are Syrians with "cutesy" names in pet stores to make a sale.But they are all Syrians.Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and should NEVER be housed with other hamsters,because they will fight and to the death.

The hamsters I have owned were males.I had females when I was a kid,but I don't remember too much about them except usually they were saucy.But the males I have had were sweet.However it is the individual personalities too.Your best bet is to get a baby or young hamster as they are easier to tame/get used to you.

Here are a couple links.
http://www.essortment.com/all/hamsterwettail_rlpq.htm
http://russiandwarfhamsters.tripod.com/hams/id33.html




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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the speedy reply. I know they need to live solo. So, you feel all the different "types" are all the same on the mellowness-meter (though vary from hamster to hamster) but you prefer males personalities, is that right? Do the babies usually appear in stores? How old should one be? Thanks, Thanks!
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 02:33 PM
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Hi and welcome:0 you came to the right place **Check out the links from Vanilla..

What I wanted to point out #1 is your classification of pets you had in the past, " It has been years since I have had hamsters/gerbils/rabbits, and I need a refresher" rabbits are not rodents and therefore require totally different care, but since this is not about rabbits I'll move on.
As Vanilla said, all the cutesy hamsters in the pet store are all syrians. Somewhere along the genetic chain you might come across a more docile variant as better syrians are bred together but for the most part MOST pet stores are supplied by mills and big time breeding factories which supply more than one chain of store and therefore there's no way to tell what kind of hamster you will be getting. I'd try to contact a breeder if I were you, or meet someone with a classified ad who hobbies them.
I mostly had long haired syrians (Teddy Bear) in the past and I only had 1 wet tail scare. What causes this is diet and climate usually. And the fur type will not indicate if your hamm will get it, it's just messier in a long haired type! Wet-tail is diarrhea and food that is wet, moldy, or not suitable will generally cause it from what I've experienced. Always keep the cage out the path of drafts and cold air because this will harm his health.
Anyways, Good luck and PLEASE keep us updated
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!I realize rabbits arent rodents, I was listing them more in terms of furry animals that can be housed in cages in the home.

Would you think gerbils would be a better choice health wise since my petshop/breeder options are limited? I live in a tiny town. Thanks!
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviate View Post
Thanks for the speedy reply. I know they need to live solo. So, you feel all the different "types" are all the same on the mellowness-meter (though vary from hamster to hamster) but you prefer males personalities, is that right? Do the babies usually appear in stores? How old should one be? Thanks, Thanks!
People tell me the black Syrians ("black bear" or "European black bear") are some of the more mellow hamsters,because they were bred to be more mellow in Europe I believe.But in all honesty I just think it is the individual hamster's personality and how much attention he/she gets...etc,etc.

Yes,most pet stores do carry babies.You will see piles of hamsters in cages.Young Syrians will get along for a bit,but eventually they do need to be separated.NEVER listen to a pet store employee who tells you it is okay to house Syrians together.

They should be over 4 weeks old.Under that they are too young to be away from their mother.




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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:37 PM
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Personally, I would go with a hamster over a gerbil if your son wants to handle it. Gerbils are generally alot more high strung and nervous than hamsters are.


I would go with a male long haired Syrian hamster. All the males Ive had are really laid back and sweet... They are the least bite-y too.
Females are swet, but they are little more on edge then the males, and they are smellier too.
For some reason, Ive always found the long haired hams to be mellower then the short haired. I dont know if it really makes much of a differece, but thats just my expierence.


Have you checked shelters, the news paper adds, and online places like Craigslist? My current hamster is from Craigslist, and we have adopted a bunch from shelters. Sometimes people drop off unwanted hamsters at pet stores too.



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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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I think that is what I will do. Tell me, how long do hamsters really live?

Are there any of the plastic habitrailtyped cages that come apart for cleaning, or am I better off with a tank?

Thanks, all!
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 09:04 AM
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Hamsters generally live about 2 yrs.Sometimes 3 yrs.

Those plastic cages can be used,but they can be hard to clean as you have to take each part apart to clean it properly.You could use a tank or a bin cage,just make sure it has proper ventilation and there is a lot for your hamster to do...tunnels,toys...etc,etc.




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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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What is your feeling on the longevity and health of the chinese or russian robo dwarfs, I think that's what they're called? Thanks again.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 03:31 PM
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I've had Syrian hamsters ever since I can remember. And I rarely had a Syrian bite me. My first hamster bit me and my mom, but she was a female, and I was fairly young so I wasn't handling her properly. Anytime after that, I can stick my hamster's heads in my mouth, let them crawl all over my face, and they don't even think to bite. My second hamster, which came about a couple years after my first died, developed arthritis, and we could sleep in my lap while we all watched Star Trek. My third got a stroke, and my dad....well....he ended his suffering, because he lost mobility of his hindquarters and had to drag his back half around. My fourth died of old age, my fifth died from Wet Tail, my sixth killed herself(Dwarf. I don't trust y 'em), and my seventh, eighth and ninth died from old age, my tenth froze to death(faulty furnace, it had to be physically booted to work, it wouldn't even kick on automatically if it was below freezing in the house), my eleventh, and twelfth died from old age, and my thirteenth... I think he caused himself internal bleeding, and that's how he died.

Anyways, in listing all my hamsters through the years, despite their medical or physical ailment, and not including the first, they NEVER bit me.

I prefer males. In my experience, females smell. Any time I had a female hamster, I would get this stench on my hands and clothing. Males I never had that problem. But both can be equally calm and serene. Like I said.... I've put their heads in my mouth, accidentally dropped them, and through everything, they never bit me. But then, I handled mine at least 2- 3 times a day.

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 06:05 PM
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Chinese and Robos have about the same lifespan as Syrians. My longest lived hamster was a Russian Winter White/Siberian dwarf I adopted from a shelter... He lived to be 3 1/2.
The only Robo only lived a few months, but he was the runt.


Honestly, I would stay away from Chinese and Robo hams- They are small, fast, and nearly impossoble to handle (and they bite HARD!). They dont tame much either. If you want a dwarf hamster, go for a Siberian or Russian Winter White. As far as the dwarves go, they are on the bigger end, and they have a personality like a Syrian. They can be nastly too, but alot of them are pretty docile. I would still go with a Syrian, but if you must get a dwarf, get one of those.


I dont really like the Habitral/Crittertrail things. They are a huge pain to clean and keep sanitary, and it makes it harder to handle the hamsters since they will hide from you in the tubes. Most of those cages are much too small anyway. Ive always liked aquariums the best.



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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 06:31 PM
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I don't have any experience with dwarf hamsters,only Syrians.
But everything I hear is they are harder to tame and keep tame then Syrians.I would personally go with a Syrian too.




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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 07:00 PM
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I don't like the tube cages, either. My first hamster died in one of the tubes, and my dad had to use a stick to push her out, >.<

My hamsters were always stressed out in those kinds of cages. Wet Tail can be stress-related, and my one hamster, Saperz, kept getting bouts and bouts of Wet Tail when I had him in those cages. When I put him back in a glass aquarium, he stopped getting bouts of Wet Tail.

Plus my hamster that froze to death, was in one of those part plastic, part wire cages. I can't help but thinking she might have maintained her body temperature had she been in a glass aquarium. I mean glass can be chilly, but she might not have frozen to death if she were in a glass tank. :/

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, really? every article I have read says the chinese hamsters are the sweetest most docile ones, and are not true dwarves. Hm!! Well, we shall soon see. He so far is very sweet. Keep ya posted!
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