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Old 04-27-2016, 03:36 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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Default A Newbie with some questions!

So, I'm in my early twenties and have never owned a hamster before. I've had cats, and I had a rabbit when I was 9 or 10, but that's about it. I'm currently living in a rented house in London (with friends), and the landlord is fine with me getting a small pet. I work part-time - 3 days a week - and the rest of the week do freelance stuff at home. Because the times and days of my part-time shifts change every week, its difficult to have much of a routine.

I'm thinking of getting either a Syrian, a russian dwarf, or possibly a pair of gerbils. I know Syrians are recommended for first time hamster owners, but dwarfs can be more active during the day in some cases, and I'm most often at home in the afternoon/evening. It's just that two or three nights a week, I'm not home until about 10:30 or 11pm. How well would hamsters (Syrians or dwarfs) deal with that? And, since I'm home more often during the day, and gerbils are more active during the day, does anyone here have any experience with them? What are they like compared to hamsters?

Also, I'm going through a bit of a rough time emotionally right now. I'd really like to have something to look forward to coming home and cuddling/petting/playing with/spending time with/watching. I know this is very much down to the individual personality and temperament of each animal, and I'm not expecting to be able to do any of these things to the same extent as you might with a cat or dog, but which of the three might be most likely to "be there" for me when I'm having a rough day/night? (And I don't mean "be there" as in cuddling necessarily.) Which of the three might be more likely to bond with me, or want to spend time with me?

Basically, I'm wondering which would be better suited to my lifestyle - which I would be able to give the love and attention it needs around the life I have right now.

Thanks for you help
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: A Newbie with some questions!

Hi and welcome. I would recommend a Syrian for first time owner they can be easier to tame and a bit more social, but Russian dwarf hamster can also be a great pet to. I did have a pair of Russian dwarfs first myself but since had Syrians. Most Syrian hamsters enjoys being handled and they can really help you deal with the emotional time you are going through (they have help me through emotional times to) also they are full of character which can easily cheer you up. I don't think your lifestyle really will effect suitability, if you can provide a suitable size cage, wheel, bedding, water, food etc and a cuddle any hamster will be happy.

I haven't owned gerbils myself but have pet sat some personally I think they are amazing creatures but I found they are easily occupied by digging although they need lots of toys to chew (however that can be the same for hamster also), hamsters tend to be more social in my opinion, as the gerbils I looked after didn't like to be held. hamsters or gerbils will make great pets it depend upon which you prefer.

Syrians are more likely to bond with you more also male Syrians tend to be more laid back while females are more active, but this is not always the case it depends also upon the individual. Some Syrians also like to come out of there cages more often than Russian dwarf. But either Syrian, Russian, or Gerbils will make a great pet and companion.
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Last edited by SKB_Hamsters; 04-27-2016 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:47 PM   #3
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Location: Wales UK
Posts: 24,793
Default Re: A Newbie with some questions!

Hi & welcome.

I think Russian dwarf hams would be well suited to your general routine, most people recommend starting out with syrians but my life with hams began with a little russian & I've never looked back, I love dwarf hams
They really aren't difficult to tame, do tend to keep more sociable hours being out & about more in the day, getting up earlier in the evening & staying up later in the morning so you wouldn't have a problem spending time with your ham.
How much space do you have? Most hams need out of cage time & setting up a play pen or safe play area for dwarf hams (or at least the russians) can be easy & need not take up too much room, syrians need a lot more space & are a lot harder to contain in a play area so that would be something to consider too. I wouldn't recommend hamster balls as an alternative btw, definitely not for dwarfs & not the best thing for syrians either.
With a little time & patience I've found my dwarf hams come to enjoy handling, playing & cuddles, the best of everything really!
I've never had a syrian so can't really offer much advice there.
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: A Newbie with some questions!

Hi, and welcome to HC! I've only ever had Syrian's, so can't tell you much about the others I'm afraid. But my current boy doesn't get up til around 1am, and is up and about at various times during the day. One of my previous hamsters, Belle, was probably my best friend, and was "there" for me when I felt low. I really did feel like I had a conncection with her, and sometimes if I was sad she would climb up me and sit on my shoulder then snuggle against my ear, instead of exploring or whatever she was doing. I do think it's down to temperment but a few of my hams I have been close to. One thing I love about animals, rather than people, is they never judge you or answer back. They just understand you need a few more hugs and most are happy to give them!
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