We've had a great time with hamsters. Samson just died last month after two wonderful years with my 9yo. We've had 5 other hamsters over the years and no problems with any of them. We did have one get out and our cat tossed him around, but we treated the wounds with antibiotic cream and the hamster recovered just fine.
We are partial to dwarf hamsters or the totally awesome Roborovskis (Phodopus roborovskii) or desert hamster, the smallest of all hamsters. They are so *cute* and love to climb on spoons and slide off them (youtube video).
The internet is full of ideas and tips on caring for them and other foods you can give them.
CJ -♫ ~ Enjoying year 15 of homeschooling; Married 22 years with 5 under foot
--- Rowing since 1998 --- (dd~19, dd~17, ds~14, dd~11,ds~8)
""Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts.""