Owning a pet hamster is a big responsibility, especially if you have a long-haired hamster. Long-haired hamsters require a bit more special care than short haired hamsters, though many people prefer the appearance of long haired hamsters. Some long-haired hamsters are called “teddy bear” hamsters, though this is usually only used to describe long-haired Syrian hamsters. When caring for a long-haired hamster, it’s important to pay attention to your hamster for any potential health problems.
Coat Care: Long haired hamsters do require a bit more attention to their fur than short haired hamsters. Though most hamsters will regularly groom themselves, it’s still important that you pay attention to the state of your hamster’s coat. Some long-haired hamsters may need to be bathed, especially if their cage is not cleaned on a regular basis. Though it is not common to brush your hamster’s coat, a small grooming brush may be purchased from a pet supply store for small tangles. Be sure that the brush does not have metal bristles, as they may damage the delicate fur of the long haired hamster. To avoid this, you may want to purchase a small plastic comb with wide teeth, which makes grooming a long haired hamster much easier.
Male and Female Long-haired Hamsters: In Syrian hamsters, there are a few marked differences between long haired female and male hamsters. Most long haired male hamsters will have a long coat, which also includes a “skirt” of fur that is present around the waist. By comparison, the female long haired hamster’s coat is typically shorter than the male. Also, a female long haired hamster usually does not have a fur “skirt”, though may have small tufts of hair present around the shoulders or hips.
Bedding: Due to the fur length of a long haired hamster, the hamster’s bedding may become entangled in the fur. This is usually seen in cages that use shavings as bedding, though may occur with paper bedding as well. If you choose to switch bedding for a long haired hamster, be sure that it is non-toxic, without any potentially harmful materials or color additives.
Sand Bath: Some long-haired hamsters may enjoy being bathed by a sand bath. In particular, long-haired Dwarf hamsters are said to display the most enthusiasm about sand bathing. You can give your hamster access to a sand bath by purchasing chinchilla sand (not dust!) from your local pet supply store.