Male or Female? There is generally no difference in the default personality of hamsters between males and females. Female Syrian Hamsters go into heat every 3-4 days, and may give off a musky smell during that time.
A "Golden Hamster", "Teddy Bear Hamster", "Panda Hamster", "Black Bear Hamster" and other names are just variations of the Syrian Hamster. For example, a Golden Hamster is a Syrian Hamster with traditional golden color, with black cheek markings. A Teddy Bear Hamster is a long haired Syrian Hamster.
Essential Syrian Hamster Accessories
You will need the following items for your Syrian Hamster: A Suitable Habitat, Safe Bedding, A Food Dish, A Water Bottle, A Nest Box, Healthy Food, Chew Toys and a Safe Running Wheel.
Syrian Hamsters will climb multiple levels in a cage, but are not as good at climbing down as they are climbing up. We recommend going with a cage that has more flat, horizontal space then high vertical space to keep your hamster from hurting itself on a long drop. A ten gallon aquarium provides a minimum of space, but more room is always better.
Your Hamster's Bedding should be made of a safe material. We recommend using recycled cardboard bedding like Carefresh. Never use Cedar or Pine bedding, as these can cause respiratory damage.
Your Hamster's food dish should be large enough to hold plenty of food, but not large enough for them to get their whole body in. Use a heavy material to prevent your Hamster from tipping it over.
You can use a water bottle to keep fresh water available for your hamster. If you are using an aquarium or tank type cage, we recommend also buying a metal water bottle guard to prevent your hamster from chewing on their water bottle and potentially causing a leak.
Your Hamster will appreciate a nest box or other dark, quiet place to nap in. You can buy plastic igloos or other hiding huts, or simply give your hamster an old tissue box, cardboard box, or wooden box to hide out under. Skip the "Hamster Fluff" type beddings, as these can be dangerous for your hamster. Instead, offer plain white tissue paper as a nesting material.
Your Hamsters prefer a forage diet made up of different types of pellets, seeds, dried fruits and vegetables. There are many good packaged foods on the market. Look for one that is low in dried corn and has a good variety of different items.
Offer your hamster a variety of chew toys to keep them busy during the day. You can buy wooden or pumice hamster chew toys at the store, or offer your hamster untreated pieces of apple branches, willow, or plain cardboard tubes.
Hamsters will get most of their exercise on a safe wheel. You should use a wheel that has a solid surface, as gaps between bars are a good place for a hamster's leg to slip through and get hurt. Ideally, look for a wheel that mounts on one side and does not have spokes for your hamster to get trapped in. Two of the best hamster wheels on the market are "Silent Spinners" and "Wodent Wheels".
Hamster Care: The Basic Routine
Your hamster will appreciate some time adventuring out of the cage. You should bring your hamster out to handle them, and allow them some running time outside of the cage either in a hamster proofed area, or in a plastic run about ball.
Your hamster should always have access to fresh food and clean water. Refresh food bowls and water bottles daily to keep your hamster healthy.
On a weekly basis, you will need to empty out your hamster's cage, clean the cage and all of their accessories, and add fresh bedding.