Dwarf Hamsters are very popular pets and, despite their diminutive size, can have very distinct little personalities. Here’s our top tips for looking after your Dwarf Hamster.
Dwarf Hamsters are nocturnal animals and only really come alive in the evening and at night. Anyone buying a Dwarf Hamster should be aware that they only live for between 2 and 3 years. Dwarf Hamsters tend not to like rough handling and can be very agile, so are not recommended for young children.
There are three different species of Dwarf Hamster: Roborovski, Russian and Chinese.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski hamsters live for only about 2 years and are generally a sandy colour with a white undercarriage.
They are generally smaller than the other breeds and happy to live in same sex pairs or groups. Roborovski hamsters are very quick and agile and therefore more tricky to handle.
Russian Dwarf Hamster
There are two types of Russian Hamster: the Winter White Russian and Campbell’s Russian.
Campbell’s Russian hamsters can be black, brown or beige, while the Winter White Russian is usually brown – turning almost entirely white in the winter (hence the name). Russians live for around two years and will happily live together in same sex pairs or groups. Russian hamsters should be handled gently as they can be sensitive to rough handling.
Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese hamsters are more docile than the other breeds and generally live for around 2 to 3 years. They are usually either a brown/grey with a black stripe or white with a grey stripe. Male Chinese hamsters are normally happy to live in pairs, but females can sometimes be aggressive to each other.
Dwarf Hamsters should always be bought together as those introduced afterwards may not be accepted by the group.
Always buy a cage that is specifically for dwarf hamsters. A cage should have lots of space and places for individuals to sleep separately.
Dwarf Hamsters should be given a dedicated hamster mix. You can also give them small quantities of vegetables such as carrots but don’t over do it as their stomachs can become upset. Hamsters should be provided with fresh food and water on a daily basis.
As hamsters come alive at night it is essential to provide them with toys such as a wheel which will help them to burn off excess energy and keep them healthy. It’s also essential to provide them with toys they can gnaw on to help them avoid overgrown teeth (their teeth are constantly growing).
Hamsters should only be handled individually and it is a good idea to avoid handling them for a few days after you first get them home. It’s important to handle them regularly to engender trust and form a good bond. Always get into the habit of washing your hands after handling your hamster.
Cages should be cleaned thoroughly every week using a dedicated disinfectant and also don’t forget to groom long haired hamsters at the same time to keep their skin and hair healthy.
Dwarf Hamsters are prone to a serious illness called “wet tail” which causes severe diarrhoea. It’s thought that this can occur through bad diet and/or stress and a visit to your vet is essential if you spot it.
I hope our quick guide to caring for your Hamster has been useful. If you have any questions about looking after your own Hamster, you can call me on (0131) 333 0640 or send me an email.