Hamsters are fun animals and can make good first pets for children, provided you understand what they need to be healthy and happy. Find out more about them on this page, and then why not take a look at all the hamsters we have available for rehoming?

hamster in a cardboard tube © Henry Lai / Unsplash

Hamster fact file

There are several different breeds and varieties of hamster, varying in size and temperament.

Hamsters usually live for up to two years, although some may live for longer.

Here are some top hamster facts:

  • There are 24 species of hamster and they belong to the family Cricetidae. The Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell and Roborovski breeds are the most popular for pets.
  • Hamsters enjoy exploring and use their whiskers to help them sense objects in their environment.
  • A hamster's teeth never stop growing and they have a 'self-sharpening' system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down.
  • Hamsters are nocturnal, with large eyes and a retina dominated by rods - the part of the eye that can function in lower light.
  • Not all hamsters are sociable - in the wild, Syrian hamster adults generally live on their own in their burrows. Other species, such as the Russian dwarf, naturally live in groups.

Why not have a read of our full Hamster fact file?

Understanding your hamster's needs

Find out everything you need to know about keeping hamsters as pets in our series of handy guides to hamsters, including their:

You can find even more about looking after your pet hamster in our guide to how to take care of your hamster.

Find out more