This is not quite the hormone fuelled battle of the sexes some of you readers may hope for…
This is a genuine question that potential hamster owners want to know before getting that special pet. I cannot believe I haven’t answered this question sooner to be honest! But I think we’ve realised that my organisational skills aren’t quite tip-top.
The female-male hamster debate has been ongoing and there seem to be the same contrasting opinions being recycled over and over again in online arguments. I will be discussing some of these ‘myths’ and giving my own opinion on the gender issue.
As an owner of 2 boys and 1 girl hamster (and a previous owner of 6 other male hamsters) I have been quite biased in my gender selections over the years. And genuinely, I had heard and believed some of the myths I am going to bust today. After getting a female hamster earlier this year, I feel I have a very credible and unbiased viewpoint on this well argumented topic.
Anyway, first of all I am going to bust some of these pesky myths.
Female hamsters are more aggressive than males.
The truth is hamsters are all unique and have their own unique personalities. To generalise the entire female hamster population to say they are all aggressive compared to their male counterparts is just not scientifically true. There is the issue that a female hamster will tend to be more territorial when pregnant or having given birth. (I also have noticed with my own female hamster she seems much more alert since having babies – even after all this time). I am assuming this is a maternal thing for them. Having said that, most hamster owners will have no intention to breed them and so the debate remains.
Long story short: there is no scientific fact or reasoning for females to be more aggressive than males.
Male hamsters are tamer than females.
Wrong again I’m afraid.
Taming a hamster has absolutely nothing to do with the gender. Its about the time and patience you put into that pet. If you spend 2 minutes handling your hamster on the first day of owning them and decide that they are difficult to tame and handle, then you aren’t going to have a great hamster experience. Hamsters take a while to relax and trust you are an owner. You have to remember they’ve been kept in small boxes, then put in a pet shop cage where people tap on the glass and make loud noises, then to be moved again into another box and taken to your home. You may think its an exciting time but you’re new hamster will be sh*tting it. That initial taming period is irrelevant to the sex of your ham.
Long story short: All hamsters are individual but if you put the time, patience and car into taming your hamster, the gender is irrelevant.
Female hamsters are smellier than males.
Don’t laugh ladies, this is true.
How are they smellier exactly? Well female hammy’s come ‘on heat’ every 4 or so days. This is their hammy way of letting a potential mate know they are about and ready to procreate (that’s the most sensible way I can put this). The unfortunate thing is, the smell produced by the lovely ladies is incredibly powerful – and quite honestly disgusting. After breeding my girl hamster Eve, I learnt that this pongy odour is a sign that they are just about to come off heat (so its a kind of last chance saloon for the men hamsters for another 4 days). If anything, having bred Eve has only made this 4-daily occurance rather strong and lingering. The boys know when she’s about that’s for sure!
Long story short: The girl hamsters produce an odour to attract the men. It is not a pleasant smell at all.
Male hamsters are bigger than female hamsters.
In fact, its the complete opposite. Female hamsters are usually much bigger than the male hamsters. This is harder to distinguish in the long-haired varieties of syrian, but the females can be up to double the size and weight of their male equivalents. This has something to do with the males role to hunt/scavenge for food and the females role to have the babies and feed them all (remembering female hamsters can have anything up to 20 babies, they need that extra weight behind them to get through the weaning process!!)
Long story short: The girls are generally bigger than the boys because their bodies are prepared for breeding litters of up to 20 babies.
So when it comes to deciding what gender you want your first hamster to be, you do not need to be persuaded by the untrue myths that girls are aggressive and the boys are easier to tame. Every hamster has his or her own personality, one aggressive and bad temperamented hamster may be a female but this is not the decided thing amongst the female population. The same could always be said about the males.
Eve (my female hamster) was tame after one hold of five minutes. Dexter (male number 1) took nearly 3 weeks to tame and squealed like a piglet for the first week of his new home. Casper (male number 2) was pretty tame after a few holds. None of them have been aggressive even in them first stages of the taming process.
If I had to recommend a gender for a first hamster buyer – I would say go for a male hamster, only because the females can be quite smelly at times and its instantly noticeable. But that doesn’t mean female hamsters are nasty! Eve is the most energetic, explorational and affectionate hamster out of the lot of ‘em!
Hope this has helped, any questions – I have a contact page
PS. Keep sending in your cute animals pictures and the one thing youd say to them for my Feel the Love Campaign. http://hamsterdiaries.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/feel-the-love-campaign/