- A knowledgeable dealer will naturally advise you, but if you are very uncertain take along an acquaintance who is familiar with teddy bear hamsters. Hamsters can almost always be found at good pet stores.
- Don't go to buy a hamster until the afternoon. The animals are rather lively then and you can evaluate them better. In contrast to guinea pigs and mice they are active at dusk and at night and prefer to be left alone to rest during the day.
- Choose a young hamster about 3 to 4 weeks old. Young animals become hand tame more quickly than older ones.
- Look for any possible signs of illness - bare places in the fur; sneezing; dry eye; teeth too long or nails too long; limping or dragging a leg; constant scratching or reddened skin.
- After you've bought your hamster, take home some of the nest material from it's cage. This will make it easier for the hamster to get used to its new cage at your home.
Choosing The Right Teddy Bear Hamster:
A healthy hamster has a smooth, shining coat, bright eyes without any discharge, a dry nose, and a clean anus; it's body is almost symmetrically cylindrical. Apart from that, it should make a lively impression, but if it has just come out of a deep sleep, this may not always be guaranteed.
In contrast, the coat of an ailing hamster looks unkempt and dull; the animal has sunken flanks and often a dirty anus. Inflamed eyes or a nasal discharge can also be a sign of illness. If the hamster is "wobbly" on its legs, trembles, sneezes, or wheezes, you should point it out to the dealer, but don't buy the animal. If an animal has diarrhea (recognizable by dirty fur around the anus), you should not buy any other animal from the same cage.
Male or Female?:
The sex you choose is not important. Some say that males become hand tame more quickly, but experts say they have had various experiences with each gender. Be guided by your own feelings when you are buying and take the teddy bear hamster that most appeals to you.
Differentiating Between Sexes:
In the male the distance between the anal opening and the genital opening is clearly larger than it is in the female, and males have a more pointed rear end. In the sexually mature male (from the fourth to the fifth week of life), the testes are clearly recognizable to the left and right of the anus.
The New Home:
Before you get your new teddy bear hamster, set up the cage and choose a permanent location for it. It's best if you bring the hamster home in its little transport box the quickest way possible, because the unusual circumstances intensify its efforts to free itself as quickly as possible.
When you get home, put the carrying box in the cage, open it, and wait until the hamster comes out by itself. Take the old nest material you got at the time of purchase of the animal and put it in the sleeping house. It bears its scent and will signal: this is my home, even if the surroundings don't match anymore.
Most hamsters are at first quite confused and frightened by the move and the many new impressions. Normally it takes about a week until the hamster has gotten used to its new surroundings. There are a few things you can do to help it get used to its new home...
- Cover the cage with a light cloth to allow it to investigate its new home in peace.
- Limit yourself to changing food and water.
- At first, don't change anything in the cage; your hamster will then feel at home more quickly.
- Postpone visits from friends who want to meet your new pet.
Now all you have to do is choose a great name for your new little friend!
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