There are lots of different breeds of hamster, including:
- Dwarf hamsters
- Syrian hamsters
- Chinese hamsters
- Roborovski’s hamsters
Each breed has their own traits and each individual hamster has their own temperament.
Hamsters can be very entertaining to watch but are usually highly active in the early morning, evening and during the night. Their feeding, hoarding, tunnelling and nest making behaviours keep them busy for hours, as long as they’re given the right home.
Hamsters are really popular pets, especially for children, but they might not be the right choice. Hamsters sleep most of the day and don't like being woken up to be played with. They can bite if they're startled or handled roughly. Because of their small size and their tendency to bite, they might not make the best pets for young children.
Hamsters may enjoy taking treats from your hand or having a gentle fuss but if you would prefer a small pet who enjoys being handled, consider rats or ferrets instead.
Things to consider
Before you commit to getting a hamster, read our vets advice on:
- Giving your hamster the ideal home – advice on the type of enclosure they need.
- Hamster health – read about the signs of illness to look out for.
- Your hamster’s diet – read about the kind of food your hamster should be eating and how to keep them in shape.
- How to hold a hamster safely – a guide to how adults and children should hold hamsters.