A lot of people say not to use a glass or plastic aquarium type, but I personally think they are the best (PetPen plastic ones are best and cheapest, petstop in blanchardstown have a good selection)..... having had both when i used to breed them, I had a lot of problems with the wire ones, legs and paws easilly get caught twisted and broken. not a problem with glass as long as the top is wire or similiar overheating will not be a problem.
BUT get the biggest u can afford, and that means floorspace, not height, hamsters cannot fly and dont need it. And having two levels is more of a danger than a plus, they fall (an often jump) off heights without thinking.
The other major problem (ask any vet) with wire cages is that hamsters seem to LOVE to climb, which is strange as its not somthing they would do in their native habitat much, but they do, and even the lowest cage they will get to the top and they *cant* seem to figure out how to get down, so they just let go an drop, it can break their necks and backs, and it also can make them viscious after a bang on the head u may not have seen.
Syrian (normal) hamsters are, imho, the best, go for a young one or/and one that has been handled as much as possible. I recommend getting one from buy and sell rather than a store, more likely to be tame.
I used to have one that spent all its time on my shoulder lol ;0)
Now, as far as food, hamsters are vegetarian, never feed them meat, it can kill them and cause fatal constipation.
The normal brands of hamster foods you buy are more than enuf, they also like things like raw peas, carrots, but in SMALL amounts or u will end up with one with diorrehea (sp?).
If you are leaving it for the weekend, you *can*, on the friday, give it extra food, 3/4 of a mugfull is more than enuf, hamsters are hoarders, they will hide food for later in some corner or in the nest they will make.
A hamsters cage shud never NEVER smell, if it does, ur not cleaning it enuf.
It needs to be cleaned on average once a week at least. But the bigger the floorspace, the longer it will last.
Another advantage of the syrian (normal) hamster, it usually mainly does its buisness in a single corner, so somtimes its ok to just scoop out the corner an refill with new sawdust (NEVER use hay, its not absorbent and it can stick in little eyes, mouth pouches etc, an make ur vet bills huge!
I recommend a female, they are often more placid than the males, but a hamster is somtimes a moody little fecker, so give it a few WEEKS to settle in, and the vital thing is, put ur hand in the cage daily for the first few weeks till it gets used to ur scent and knows you mean it no harm (even a tame hamster will often be scared of u for a while)
A wheel is a very good ides if u can find one. if not, get a hamster ball an let it run round the room in it daily for about 20 mins.
imho the most
important thing is steer clear of wire cages, specially high 2 storey ones, i know ill be slated for saying that, but as somone with 10 years experience of breeding them an having them as pets, trust me, you wont regret it.
Even if u have to wait a bit, if i were you i would search an search for an allready tame one, make sure u see the seller (whether in a shop or not) handling it for at least 5 mins. and make sure they are not holding it by the scruff of the neck to partially immobilise it while they are handling it, thats an old trick petshops often use.
They must let it sit on their hand and let u stroke it or stroke it themselves.
If u need any more info, feel free to ask