Last Updated on: 24th September 2023, 07:05 pm
There are five hamster species kept as pets in captivity. All have different personalities, but some are friendlier, less nippy, and easier to tame than others.
While all hamsters can be tamed, the friendliest hamster species are Syrians, as their relaxed personalities make them good pets for children and beginners. Dwarf hamsters, including Roborovskis, winter whites, Campbell’s, and Chinese hamsters, can be timid but are more prone to biting than Syrians.
When choosing the most suitable hamster species for you and your family, consider what personality you’re looking for and whether you’d like to handle your hamster frequently.
What Hamster Is The Friendliest?
While hamsters make good pets, they have traits that make them interesting and rewarding companions. However, not all species will be right for you. Here are the friendliest hamster species:
Syrian hamsters are the most popular hamster species. Their friendly demeanor and inquisitive nature make them fun to play with and easy to tame.
They’re able to forge strong bonds with their owners. Many Syrian hamsters are friendly enough to walk onto their owners’ hands when they want to get out of their cages and play.
Not only are Syrians one of the best beginner hamsters, but they’re the most kid-friendly hamster species. They’re the largest captive hamster species, so they don’t move around as quickly and are easier to hold, making them less likely to escape a child’s grip.
Syrian hamsters aren’t known for biting, but they’ll nip if mishandled. Before allowing children to hold a Syrian hamster, ensure you’ve tamed it first.
This also applies to adults bringing a hamster home for the first time. To ensure a friendly hamster, allow it to settle into its cage for a week before attempting to tame it.
Male Syrian hamsters are quieter and more friendly, while female hamsters have livelier personalities. Also, female Syrian hamsters are slightly bigger than males.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
Roborovski dwarf hamsters are friendly, although shy, especially in a new home. Due to their timid nature, they need an owner with time and patience who doesn’t mind dealing with their skittish nature.
Roborovski hamsters are lively creatures that enjoy exploring their surroundings. They also benefit from having toys because they get bored quickly.
Robo hamsters are small and cute, so many expect them to be as friendly as Syrian hamsters. However, they’re not quite as gentle-natured and cuddly. Also, they can be difficult to handle without proper training, which puts some people off.
Another thing about Roborovski dwarf hamsters is they’re speedy and faster than other species.
Also, Roborovskis are prone to biting. However, they don’t just nip flesh; they hold on and refuse to let go. So, they’re unsuitable pets for small children, even with supervision.
Chinese hamsters are less common than Syrian and Roborovski dwarf hamsters. Like Robos, they can be timid initially, but they soon warm up once they get to know their owners.
Chinese hamsters can be even friendlier toward each other than their owners. This is something to bear in mind if you house several hamsters.
However, keeping more than one hamster in a cage isn’t advised. While some Chinese hamsters get along well in captivity, there’s every chance they could fight and kill each other, so keep them separated.
Chinese hamsters are quick and energetic. Owners must feel comfortable handling them, or they’ll escape their grasp. Unlike Robos, they’re not as prone to biting but are better suited to small children.
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters
Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are another small, cute hamster species. Most are happy to be handled and become tame when interacted with from a young age, becoming sweet, playful companions.
However, they’re more difficult to tame than other species and need an owner committed to going through the taming process.
That said, they’re one of the less friendly captive hamsters. Campbell’s dwarf hamsters can be stubborn and grumpy, and there’s no guarantee which personality type you’ll get.
Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are more likely than other species to bite. However, they only do so as a last resort when provoked or threatened, making them unsuitable for young children.
Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are better suited to people who aren’t too bothered about handling their hamsters daily and are happy to occasionally play with them.
Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamsters
Winter white Russian dwarf hamsters bond well with humans, making them popular pets.
They’re easy to tame and have gentle temperaments that make them suitable for children. However, winter whites are fast like all dwarf hamsters, although they’re not as rapid as the others.
Due to their small stature, winter white Russian dwarf hamsters are less tolerant of clumsy handling than other species, especially larger Syrians.
Pure-bred winter white hamsters are hard to come by in captivity. Many pet stores market their hamsters as such when selling a type of hybrid that differs in personality.
If you want to trace the genes of your winter white, you’ll need to buy one from a reputable breeder.
Do Hamsters Like To Be Held?
As Live Science confirms, hamsters are solitary animals but enjoy some human company. Tame hamsters who trust their owners like being held, but most will only tolerate it briefly.
They dislike feeling trapped or enclosed. So, when holding a hamster, maintain an outstretched hand so it can escape if needed. You can train a hamster to feel comfortable with being held with these steps:
- Start feeding the hamster treats while in its cage.
- Once the hamster accepts them, start feeding them from your outstretched hand.
- Every time you feed the hamster food, speak to it softly to get it used to your voice.
- Keep repeating these steps until the hamster becomes comfortable with your hand being close by. Then, move the food away so it has to walk onto you to reach it.
- Place both hands underneath the hamster and scoop it up. Never grab it from above because the hamster will see you as a predator.
- Keep the hamster close to the floor each time you pick it up in case it jumps out of your hands.
As prey animals, human contact can be stressful. So, some hamsters prefer to be left alone to play in peace. Either way, owners must respect a hamster’s boundaries.
Do Hamsters Like Hugs?
While hamsters don’t crave affection, some enjoy being cuddled and shown love by their owners.
Sleepy hamsters will even fall asleep on them. However, hamsters only allow themselves to be hugged by people they know. It also helps if they know their owner’s sight, sound, and smell.
They won’t feel comfortable hugging strangers they don’t recognize.
Before you can hug a hamster, you must initiate the bonding process. You can use the same steps for teaching the hamster to be held to do this, as the process is similar.
Don’t attempt to hug a hamster until you have, though, as you’ll scare it.
Are Hamsters Easy To Tame?
Hamsters aren’t as easy to tame as other animals due to their status as vulnerable prey animals, which the journal PLoS One confirms. That’s why you must move at the right pace for the hamster.
If you’re struggling to tame a hamster, it could be for one of these reasons:
- Too noisy.
- Sudden, jerky movements.
- Moving too quickly.
- Non-recognition of your sound or voice.
- A too-small cage, causing stress.
While hamsters have different personality traits that make them friendly, they aren’t all the same.
You’ll still need to tame the hamster and help it get used to you. If you don’t, the hamster could become unfriendly toward you because you’ve not established sufficient trust.