There are five different types of hamster species, Syrian, Dwarf, Chinese Hamster. While under dwarf, there are three types; Campbell/Campbell Russian, Winter White/Siberian, Djungarian, and Roborovski/Robowski/Robo.
But there are also many kinds of hamsters with different fur colours, eye colours, fur lengths on both Syrian and Dwarf.
The Syrian hamsters are also known as Teddy Bear hamsters, which are much more friendly and easy to cuddle with. Chinese hamsters have a similar size to dwarf hamsters, but you can’t classify them as dwarf hamsters. Often, they get along with other Chinese hamsters, but more often, they do not. This type of hamster is quite friendly but also very speedy.
This article will focus on dwarf hamsters and how to take care of dwarf hamsters.
DWARF HAMSTER TYPES
Dwarf hamsters have distinct white, black, light brown, dark brown, and grey coats. Most of them have cute little white bellies and not-so-visible tails (except Chinese hamsters). These small rodents usually live for about two to three years and live more if housed alone, bred ethically, and well-cared.
There are Winter White and Campbell Russian that are hybrid. These dwarf hamsters’ coat changes during winter or freezing climate. They weigh about 25-35 g (.055 – .077 lbs) at length at 3-4 inches (8-10 cm).
Winter White and Dwarf Campbell Russians are active during daylight. They also do not have the reputation of biting when nervous, and they are generally sweet and social creatures. They are tiny and very agile, so they can be challenging, especially for children’s safety.
You can find Sapphire, Pearl, and a combination of Sapphire and Pearl, and the usual dark brown coloured Winter White. Sapphire Winter White Russians are easily noticeable because of their distinct grey undercoat, grey stripe on their spines, and ivory shaded belly.
Roborovski hamsters (Robo) are the smallest type of hamster. They are about 2-2.5 in (5-6 cm), which is about 20-25 g (.044 -.055 lbs) in weight. They can be a hit and miss when it comes to taming. Some Robo can be very aggressive, and taming can be impossible. They are the least compatible with children.
However, once a Robo is tamed, they are the sweetest and social hamsters.
A common distinction is their sound temperaments. Roborovski hamsters, because of their small size and agility, are kept by owners for observation only. Sure, you can carry them but be sure they are in a safe environment where you can catch them as they tend to hop down from your hands. Remember, they are also most active at night, so try not to disturb them sleeping during the day.
Campbell is a very social creature. In fact, they are more tamed than Syrian hamsters. However, they do not like to be handled and may nip you if they feel nervous and threatened. Campbell still makes good pets. They just require supervision while interacting with children.
This hamster type is also nocturnal, but unlike Roborovski, they are often awake for short periods during the day. Their coat’s colour is greyish brown, a creamier colour on the sides, and a white stomach. You can also see a dark strip colour from their back to the spine.
Are Chinese hamsters considered Dwarf Hamsters?
Many people would categorise Chinese hamsters as dwarf hamsters because of their similar size; however, it’s not entirely true. Chinese hamsters are 4 inches in length, similar to adult dwarf hamsters, but they aren’t a type of dwarfs. You can see their differences in their long and slender bodies, similar to a rat or mouse. They also have tails, the only hamster with a visible longer tail.
Just like dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters are also sensitive to diabetes. This means maintaining a healthy diet is the ultimate priority. Their original home is between China and Mongolia, and they aren’t easily found in pet stores.
Originating from mountainous regions, they are a great climber compared to a dwarf hamsters. So, giving them a little bit of climbing frame, or something similar, can be an excellent tool to exercise your pet and observe their impressive climbing powers. Just don’t make it too high for their own safety. Unlike rats, hamsters don’t have a great instinct and physical advantage for landing.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF DWARF HAMSTERS
If you’re planning to keep a dwarf hamster as a pet, you might have the question of how to take care of dwarf hamsters? As you know, hamsters require lots of sleep, but they want to be busy exploring, foraging, and digging when they are awake.
If you find your hamster chewing the cage’s bar and even trying to escape, this is a clear indication that they are bored, or their environment is either not big enough for them to run and play.
Ensure you provide your hamster with toys and activities to keep them fit, healthy, and happy. You do not have to buy everything. Your hamster will greatly appreciate homemade items and even tissue roll tubes.
Dwarf hamster cage size
Despite dwarf hamster’s small size, they need ample space to run and play, and the actual floor space is an essential factor for their well-being. Many cages sold for hamsters are way too small, giving enough room for movement and enjoyment. The suitable cage size for a dwarf hamster is 100x50x50 cm (39x20x20 in). Of course, the bigger the cage, the more active and happier they become. Here’s our guide on how to choose the right hamster cage.
Food and toys
Dwarf hamsters are active creatures. They need various items and other toys to give them chances to exercise, explore, and play. While they do love time outside of the cage to run around in a hamster-safe environment, there are a lot of things you can put inside the cage to provide their needed exercise.
These toys can be hamster wheels and saucers, chew toys, climbing and hiding dens, tunnels, deep bedding for burrowing, sand for cleaning their coat and bathroom business, and even stones or rocks to trim their nails.
A bowl of food and a bottle of fresh water should always be available to your pet dwarf hamster. You can consult your veterinarian if there are any sudden changes in their behaviour or any fur loss going on.
Nowadays, you can find hamster food formulated explicitly for dwarf hamsters. This commercial food has all the vitamins and minerals your hamster needs. You can also feed them with little amounts of nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, eggs, and chops of veggies from time to time. However, make sure to keep a tab because too much fat and sugar is dangerous for them. Best avoid toxic foods like almonds, avocados and chocolate.
Educate yourself and research as much as possible
Remember, most pets, especially small animals like hamsters will live shorter lives than you. Taking home a hamster means you’re getting a new family member. Though your hamster may only be around for a few years of your life, this new family member is going to spend the rest of its life with you.
By adopting a pet, be sure to educate yourself and research as much as possible to give your new family member the life it deserves. Sometimes that means sacrificing your own time, adapting yourself to fill in your pet’s needs, or making a considerable effort to provide the right environment. Remember to check hamster forums or visit us, we provide common answers on how to take care of dwarf hamsters, and we always update them.
Other dwarf hamster care tips
Everything is new to hamsters when you first bring them home. Give them a couple of days to get comfortable in their new habitat. You can leave them alone for a few days to settle down and explore their cage independently.
Like any new friendship, getting to know someone and being comfortable with them takes time. That said, wait a little longer before picking your hamster up. After a couple of days, you can start taming your hamster to gain its trust. Check out our hamster care sheet guide.
HOW TO CHOOSE A DWARF HAMSTER
Planning to get a dwarf hamster? You’ll need to set up a couple of things. Set up a suitable sized cage and good bedding. Provide the right food for your pet. Don’t worry about taming them, it’s possible with enough patience and a safe way to do it. They are a bit skittish and jumpy by nature, but they can be sociable.
If this is your first time, look for a healthy hamster, they are usually calmer and cooperative than the rest. Try not to worry about their temper; it’s not entirely noticeable because they have not yet reached adulthood.
Certified Breeder vs. Pet Store vs Adopting
There is a significant distinction between most hamsters being sold in pet shops and the hamsters you can get from certified breeders. Pet shop hamsters are mass-produced in breeding mills and often are dealt with illnesses and early death.
Reputable hamster breeders know the importance of caring for a dwarf hamster. They are more experienced and knowledgeable in the species they are trying to breed. They also sell their hamsters to those they feel would be a perfect fit. Breeders care about the creature as a whole and the quality of the animals they produce.
If you don’t mind a bit aged hamster, we highly recommend you to adopt one instead. Many hamsters find their way to rescue shelters yearly due to hamster owners not being responsible enough and lost interest. These hamsters have lots of love to give to someone who will care for and appreciate them. Read our why rescue a hamster article.
Dwarf hamster requires a spacious cage, fun yet safe toys, and appropriate bedding. Feeding must be mixed with the dry mix and fresh food like fruits, vegetables, and high protein meat. Their drinking water should be replenished every day. From time to time, they want treats. And more than anything else, they need proper handling, care, and cage cleaning.
If you are ready for this kind of commitment, your dwarf hamster should be a happy and healthy companion. I hope you found this article on how to take care of dwarf hamsters helpful. Do you have other tips on taking care of a dwarf hamster? Leave us a comment below.