Sexing hamsters is really only necessary if you plan on breeding them. You may also want to find out what the sex of your hamsters are if you are keeping more than one and you want to prevent breeding.
Other than that, there seems to be no significant difference between males and females when it comes to their temperament and their ability to make a good pet. So if you are only going to keep one hamster, you should not be concerned if they are male or female.
Either sex will make a great and loving addition to your family.
I should point out that some owners do believe that there is a difference between owning a male versus owning a female hamster. However, there are too many cases where this is just not true for us to say yes, they are indeed different.
How They Are Different
Males and females have different body type, which is known as their secondary sex characteristics. And of course, they have different genitalia, which are their primary sex characteristics.
Female adult Syrian hamsters are usually heavier than the males. For dwarf hamsters, it is the opposite. A male dwarf hamster is usually slightly larger than females. Males hamsters do tend to mark their territory with their scent more than the females do. However, humans do not really smell this scent mark.
There are other differences between the male and the female hamster as well. For example, the males have a longer space between their anal opening and their genital papilla. The difference in males is significant, but in the females they two areas are very close.
The scrotum of an adult male will bulge near his rump. But this is not quite as noticeable in the younger male hamsters.
Females have 2 rows of 4 nipples. These can be difficult to see, especially in the young females. If you really want to see their nipples just blow a little on their bellies to separate the fur.
Telling Them Apart
One of the easiest ways to tell hamsters apart is by comparing them to other hamsters in the same housing area. By being able to compare their body type and size, along with comparing their genitalia, you just might be able to tell a male from a female.
Benefits of Sexing Hamsters
Keeping males and females apart can have many benefits.
One of the main benefits is not having unwanted litters. It can also prevent the female Syrian hamsters from abusing the males. The larger, heavier Syrian females can be quite abusive to the male when she is not in heat and ready to mate.
In extreme cases, the female has been know to prevent the male from eating. This can cause the male hamster to eventually starve to death. It can also cause the male to die from stress related disease.
Keeping Syrian hamsters together in same-sex living areas will reduce the risk of abuse or injury. However, Syrians are not very social and should be quite by themselves if possible. Sometimes you have no other choice but to keep them together though.
The younger males and females are more difficult to tell apart. If you really need to know and are not sure you can always consult a veterinarian. If you are purchasing a hamster and having a male or a female is important to you, ask the breeder or the pet shop employee to select a hamster of the sex you want. They should be able to tell the difference.