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Choosing Your Hamster

Once you decide if a hamster is a good pet for you, you need to decide where to get one from.  You can find them at pet stores, breeders, or from friends whose hamsters had babies. When you choose your hamster, you need to look at it carefully, and make sure it is healthy.  It doesn't really matter what sex you get, although males seem to be a bit more friendly than females.  You also need to decide whether you want one or more hamsters.  Syrian hamsters are solitaire, meaning they like to live alone, and should be kept one per cage.  Dwarf hamsters like to have a little company, so it is best to get 2 or more of this kind.  Some things to look at include:

Eyes

The eyes should be clear, and shiny with no discharge.  They should either be black or red.

Nose

The nose should also be clean with no discharge.  It should be damp, or dry, but not soaking wet.

Teeth

The teeth should be clean, and trim.

Ears

The ears should also be clean, with no waxy buildup, and no odor.

Fur

Make sure the fur is soft, with no bald patches.  It should also be shiny and clean.

Feeding

Proper nutrition is important to raising a healthy, happy hamster.  A hamsters diet should consist mainly of grains, fruits, and vegetables.  A small piece of cheese or meat is a good snack.  Most pet stores, or department stores such as Wal-mart carry already mixed foods suitable for hamsters, shown below.

Seed mix from Hartz

It is also important to provide small amounts of fruit and/or vegetables at least 3 times a week.  These foods that hamsters like include: carrot, lettuce, celery, broccoli, bannana, and apple.  Never feed a hamster citrus fruits, because the acid in the fruits is hard for hamsters to digest.  Hamsters also like pieces of hard-boiled egg, and bread soaked in milk.  You should also feed them alfalfa hay, because it is healthy for them, and aids in digestion.

Alfalfa hay from Hartz

Another thing you should provide your hamster with is something hard to gnaw on.  These include: chew sticks, dog chew bones, and dog biscuits. These are important in keeping the hamsters teeth trimmed.

Milkbone dog buiscuits, meaty bone
are also good.