“Syrian or Golden” hamsters are the most common types of pet hamster. They are larger and slower than dwarf hamsters and gerbils, so are easier to handle. If gently scooped up using both hands then they rarely bite. Attempting to wake a hamster by stroking its back will often make the hamster feel threatened and make it more likely to try and nip.
Dwarf hamsters (generally Siberian/Russian dwarfs) are also kept as pets but these tend to be more difficult to handle. They have a short furry tail, a white underside and a grey back. They are quick and often bite if restrained. Hamsters are nocturnal animals meaning that they are naturally awake at night. Wild hamsters might travel miles in the dark foraging for food. If your domestic hamster has access to a wheel then it will often run for hours at night because of the natural instinct to travel.
Hamsters have large pouches that can be filled with food. They are natural hoarders and will use their pouches to stash food away.
Hamsters are naturally solitary animals and should be kept singly. A female will only tolerate the presence of a male during oestrus. This occurs approximately every 4 days.