Hamsters are nocturnal animals so the best time of day to choose your pet hamster is in the evening, when the hamsters in the shop are starting to wake up and are in a more playful and active mood. This way you can view the hamsters interacting with their environments and one another and you can get an idea for their individual personalities. Before buying your hamster there are a few key things you should think about and look for:
Mouth: There should be no signs of dribbling or scabbing in the corners of the hamster mouth as this could be a sign of infection, fighting with other hamsters or a dental infection.
Eyes: Eyes should be bright with no signs of discharge, cloudiness or bleeding. If they do look like this, it could be a sign of a more serious health problem such as a foreign object in the eye or infection.
Teeth: Teeth should not be too long and it is important that you provide your hamster with plenty of toys to gnaw on to keep their teeth nice and short. Teeth should also have a yellow tinge, this shows that the hamster is healthy. Teeth that are bright white could indicate an underlying health problem.
Tail: There should be no signs of discharge around the base of the hamsters tail and the tail itself should look healthy with no cuts or scratches on it as these could lead to infection.
Hair: Hair should look clean and unmatted. If the hamsters hair does look matted, this could be an indication of illnesses such as wet tail. The coat should be glossy with no bald patches. Once you have your own hamster you may like to introduce a sand bath for them which they can use to groom in.
Nose: The nose should be clean with no signs of discharge or injury.
Personality: Once hamsters have been woken up, they might be grumpy for a little while. But once they are fully awake, they should be naturally inquisitive, exploring their cage and surroundings. A constantly sleepy or lethargic hamster is likely to be unhealthy.
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