Hamsters have only recently been domesticated (in the 1940s), however they have rapidly become popular pets and are commonly recommended as children’s pets.
They are nocturnal creatures and the different species have different requirements.
Syrian hamsters are solitary creatures and cannot be kept in pairs or groups. They are the largest and generally the most handle-able of all the species kept in captivity.
Russian hamsters (both Campbells and Winter White) should be kept in same-sex pairs. They are very active and can escape easily due to their small size.
Roborowski hamsters are the smallest species kept in captivity. They are very fast-moving, can escape easily and should be kept in pairs or groups.
Chinese hamsters have longer tails and can be kept in pairs although they will sometimes fight and need to be separated.