Hamsters kept as pets are usually golden or Syrian hamsters. They are small (only 5-7" long and less than 125g), docile pets, but also inquisitive and playful. While these pets were originally a mixture of brown, black, and gold in color, they are born in a wide variety of colors, spots, and bands today. While often viewed as a "kid's pet," children should be supervised for the welfare of both parties (a cranky or frightened hamster may bite!). Care needs to be put into setting up the hamster's housing, as well: at least 360 square inches for a Syrian hamster (with a premium on length so your hamster has room to roam about), well-ventilated, with a water bottle, food dish, exercise wheel, toys, hiding places and/or tunnels, and suitable bedding material. If keeping a pair of hamsters, habitat requirements are larger, they should be the same sex, and care must be taken to ensure the hamsters are able to get along. Hamsters will eat just about anything, but your best bet is a commercial hamster food, supplemented with fresh fruit, and the occasional nut (avoid almonds) or other protein (cricket, hard boiled egg). With proper care and some luck, your hamster may live up to 4 years.
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