Thinking of buying a hamster? - STOP - Please read first!
From Hamster Central WIKI
You MUST be willing to put aside a "vet fund" in case your hamster needs medical attention. (If you are planning to hold an animal in captivity, please take responsibility for his medical needs - he really cannot leave his cage to get what he needs now can he?!?)
You must be able to provide you hamster with more than his basic physical needs. Water bottles ideally should be refilled daily - you don't like stale water and neither do hamsters. But there is more to caring for your hamster than giving it food and water, he also needs more than his usual four walls to look at day after day. You do not need to be rich to provide some extra stimulation for you pet, just a willingness to be creative in making sure his natural need to explore different sites and objects DAILY is met. If you want some ideas please ask!
In hand with this you must also be able to stay up past 8:00 p.m. (sometimes later) to play with your nocturnal pet, (mainly Syrians) and/or make time during the day to play with your hamster while he is active (mainly dwarves). The idea of keeping a hamster means you are willing to spend time with him daily. You will need to provide for his emotional/stimulation needs during his waking hours. (Failure to do this will make for a very lonely, lethargic, unfriendly hamster.)
You should only have a cat, dog or ferret in the house, IF, you are able to keep the hamster in a seperate room, including runaround ball time. (Dogs have been known to knock over hamster cages, and some will even injure or kill hamsters. For example, I know of one little furball who got a fright from a dog barking in his face, fell and broke his leg as he was climbing his wall bars at the time. Cats and ferrets are extrordinary climbers, so putting your hamster somewhere "high up" is not always a solution. Cats are very determined, and will usually find some way to get what they are after, even if you think they can not).
Finally you really must be willing to put up with the inevitable noise that will come from your hamster's natural nocturnal activities. If this will bother you, or you do not have an extra room, away from other pets, to place your hamster in so that his noise will not disturb you, you should re-think buying a hamster. Also, many people will resort to removing thier hamster's wheel to cut noise. This is not fair to your hamster at all - it would be like someone locking you in a small room with nothing to read, look at, no one to talk to, and no way out. Your only option would be to stare at a wall. Once again, please think it through before you buy him!
I am sure there are other aspects to consider but this is all I can think of at the moment. Please do not think I am trying to put anyone off buying a hamster. I adore hamsters, and think they are great pets, but working with rescue hamsters I really think their numbers would be dramatically reduced if owners thought before they bought!
Thank you for listening and remember an older hamster still has plenty of love to give - give one a chance!
Article by forum member Babyboos