2. Buying a hamster: 6 top tips!
Once you know which type of hamster you want there are some things that you need to consider when you go to the store to choose your new pet.
1. Try to go later in the day
Hamsters are livelier in the evening than they are during the day. This is when you are most likely to see the real personality of a hamster. If you go to a pet store too early in the day it’s likely that the hamsters will be sleeping. You aren’t going to be able to tell if the one you are looking at is just acting as normal for a hamster, or is generally a little lazier than most.
2. Ask to take a closer look
If you ask the pet store owner to show you a hamster close up this will do two things. It will show you how the hamster reacts to being handled, and it will enable you to see if your future pet looks healthy. You should never buy a hamster that has a wet tail, bald spots or lumps (except for the scent glands on their legs). You should also make sure that the hamster you buy has clean ears and a clean, dry bottom. Obviously there is always the chance that your pet will become ill at some point after you take them home but you at least want to make sure they are healthy when they leave the store.
3. Watch the way the hamster acts
When the store owner handles the hamster you are hoping to buy then you will be able to check out its temperament. Ideally you want to choose a hamster that is lively and inquisitive, and appears to be friendly. You don’t really want to buy a hamster that is very nervous, and you definitely don’t want a pet that’s aggressive!
4. Have a look at the environment
A great deal of a hamster’s health and condition can depend on the environment in which it is kept. It’s not usually a good idea to buy a hamster that has been kept in cramped, dirty or damp conditions.
5. Ask about the age of the hamster
From the age of about 8 weeks female hamsters can be pregnant so you need to try and establish the age and sex of the hamster you are looking to buy. Hamsters are best purchased at the age of 4-6 weeks as they are easier to tame if you handle them from about that age.
6. Never be afraid to ask questions
Most pet store owners will be happy to provide as much information as they can about a hamster, so don’t be afraid to ask anything you want to know. If you just stand there and accept the first hamster you are offered then you are unlikely to get the pet you really want.
What happens when you bring a hamster home?
You’ve chosen a hamster and bought a cage, accessories, toys and food, but what happens when you actually arrive home with your new pet?
Like any animal, and most humans too, a hamster needs time to settle into their new environment. You should put your new hamster in their cage with enough food and water, bedding and a place for them to hide away, and leave them totally alone for 24 hours. This gives your pet time to relax and get used to being in their new home.