No one who has visited a pet store can deny the popularity of the hamster, and the premium prices placed on Teddy Bear long hairs certainly attest to their desirability. Why the hamster is favored?
It is a good size to hold in your hand, and when tamed and trained, it likes to be held. It is larger than a mouse and has a prettier face. And, it doesn't have the musky odor of a male mouse.
It is smaller than a rat and has a less prominent tail. In fact, a male Teddy Bear generally has his tail completely hidden by his long hair.
It enjoys eating hoarded dry food, so it can be left over a weekend without a babysitter, so long as the watering bottle has been filled.
It can be kept in a smaller cage than a cavy (Guinea pig), and it doesn't wake you up in the morning with its whistling.
It comes in more colors and hair patterns than a gerbil and is easier to breed if you wish to raise a few for your friends. And, it's larger than a gerbil which makes it more of a "cuddly" pet.
It has a unique cheek pouch arrangement where it can store up to half its body weight in food or bedding or something it wishes to steal. It is also unique in its ability to reproduce itself only sixteen days after mating. So, if you want a family, you need not wait nearly a month as you would if you had a rat, or over two months as you would if you had a cavy.
Also, it lives only 1000 days maximum; so if you get tired keeping hamsters, just stop breeding them and in less than 3 years you will be free. In short, Teddy Bear hamster is a fine pet for modest budgets, small quarters, simple equipment and intolerant older people.
Now that you have decided for hamsters, learn about them and enjoy them. It's easy.
You and Your Pet
If you are interested in a pet hamster, just keep one. Teddy Bears are about the same weight as ordinary shorthairs but they look larger. Male Teddy Bears tend to have longer hair than females. Male hamsters are often more even-tempered and friendly than females.
Choose a cub which weighs about 1.5 ounces. A mature adult will weigh about 5 ounces. The pet you choose should be lively, free from lumps and bumps; his tail should be dry and ears erect and hairy. Hairless or shiny ears suggest an aged hamster. A healthy hamster has soft, silky fur, a solid, plump body and prominent bright eyes.
A nick or hole in a hamster's ear is not a disease. It may be a breeder's mark or, more likely, it is a result of a fight with another hamster. It is best that you buy your pet hamster when it is about 5 weeks old, after it has been weaned from its mother.
Remember that the cage must provide privacy for sleeping and for hoarding. There must also be enough space for your hamster to use as its toilet area. You must provide water, draft-free ventilation , and dry, warm cage litter. Do not place your hamster's cage in direct sunlight or in any bright light.