How do I know whether I have a male or female hamster?

Male Syrian (golden) hamsterStart by looking at your pet from the side. A female has a smooth, shorter body profile, whereas that of a male (shown left) is more elongated. In order to make sure though, you’ll need to pick up your pet carefully and look at its underparts. The two openings near the base of the tail are very close together in the case of the female, but more widely spaced in the case of a male.

Male long-haired Syrian hamsterThe difference in the length of this gap applies even in young hamsters, helping you to determine whether you are looking at a male or female individual. In reality though, there is no real difference in temperament between the genders when choosing a pet. In the case of longhaired or 'teddy bear' Syrian hamsters, the coats of males tend to become longer than those of females as they mature.