I hate how hamsters are viewed as this cute little animal you keep in a small cage and is a great first time pet. That’s farthest from the truth. Pet stores don’t even provide adequate information on how to care for them. Those small critter cages with the tubes and shit.. nope. They need huge space. They’re also known to be pretty aggressive (not saying all, I used to have a hamster and he was sweet). And good luck holding one without it squirming out of your hands, biting you, or using you as a toilet. Same with gerbils too... YUCK
Rats are far better. They’re cleaner, smarter, and they can be quite cuddly. Heck I would even recommend a ball python or a corn snake. They are very docile, only need to be fed once a week at the most, they only poop after they eat, they are calm, and they don’t smell at all.