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Gerbils & Hamsters/black bear hamster


hi. i got my very first hamster 9 days ago.  the pet store, "Ruffins", had many different hamsters to choose from.  i chose one of the babies because the staff didn't know the age of the adult hamsters, but all the babies were born in the store.  i was told the babies were exactly 9 weeks old.  all the babies were in one cage, but they said the hamsters were too young to be able to tell the gender.  i named my hamster Ebony because she, or he, is mostly black, and i have a fish named Ivory.  i can't see testicles on Ebony, nor can i see nipples, but i think she has a tiny penis which is almost half the length of her tail.  she is very cuddly and not at all territorial.  my sister told me that you can tell the gender when they are just 4 weeks old, also i read some blogs on the internet saying that girls are more cuddly than boys, boys are often more territorial than girls.  i hope i gave you enough information.  if you need me to send a picture of Ebony's belly, let me know in my e-mail box.  
Ebony's mom

Hi Jinene

Thanks for your question.

It is relatively easy to sex a Syrian hamster at 4 weeks, sometimes you can do it before then.  At 4 weeks hamsters should be sexed and males separated out as they become sexually active at this time, therefore I'm a bit concerned that yours was 9 weeks old when you got him/her and the pet shop didn't know how to sex them.  

Females tend to have a rounded rear end, whereas the males are more pointed.  If you look at Ebony from above you might be able to see this.  Females can give off a scent - it is quite sickly sweet smell when they are in season.  If you look at Ebony's belly have a look to see how far the genital openings are. The distance in females is much shorter than males. In females they can almost appear next to each other, whereas in males there is a definite gap. The best thing would be to go on-line and have a look at a website that shows you how to check this.  A few sites you might want to go to are:

I hope this helps you.  If Ebony is a girl and you discover she is pregnant(!!!) please get back in touch as I can advise you on this.  Hopefully this won't happen!


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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