Most people have heard of dwarf hamsters, yet they remain a mystery to a lot of people, especially if they have never owned one. Even if you have never heard of dwarf hamsters, you can probably guess that as the name suggests they are extremely small hamsters.
There are several different types of dwarf hamster, these include;
Each type of dwarf hamster has a different personality, and offers a different experience for owners.
Here is a guide to how they differ from each other and what they offer as pets:
Also known as The Roborovski, the Robo Dwarf Hamster is one of the most popular choices of dwarf hamster. This is probably because they are the smallest of the dwarf hamsters and extremely cute. Their life expectancy is between 1-3 years, and you can usually find some robo dwarf hamsters looking for homes in the Pets4Homes for sale section.
Robo’s tend to have a fairly placid temperament when compared to other hamsters, they are not known to fight with other hamsters often. They are not the friendliest towards humans however, it takes time to form trust between one another. You need to interact daily with a robo dwarf hamster and slowly progress over time to handling it out of the cage. However, most owners are happy to just have them as pets they observe and do not interact with much – and this suits them just fine.
On a plus point, robo dwarf hamsters do not bite often, at least not unless they feel threatened for any reason. So they are safe pets for children that are able to handle them gently.
Also known as Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster, the Russian Dwarf Hamster has the shortest life expectancy of all the dwarf hamsters, being around 1-2 years. They have a distinctive dark stripe along their spine, this is usually a way to tell them apart from other hamsters. However, some other hamster types can have stripes or other similar markings so care needs to be taken when using this to identify them.
The Russian dwarf hamster is regarded as being the most active of all the dwarf hamsters. Like all hamsters they are nocturnal, meaning they will be running on their wheel in the night and foraging around their cage. If their cage is near where you sleep you might find the noise a distraction, so definitely think about this when placing their cage.
Russian dwarf hamsters are prone to fighting each other, but this can be reduced to a minimum if raised carefully from a young age.
Siberian Dwarf Hamsters are very similar to the Russian dwarf hamster, including their mannerisms and stripes down their backs. This can often lead to them being mistaken for one another, sometimes they are also referred to as Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamsters – just to make it even more confusing. Their life expectancy is between 1-3 years, and an interesting fact about these hamsters being that their coat changes from dark to white as winter comes.
There are many hybrid species bred between the Russian dwarf and Siberian hamsters, this can sometimes result in health issues and should be avoided.
They have a lot of similar personality traits as the Russian dwarf hamsters. They are very active at night, so the same advice applies in regard to placing their cage somewhere that will not disturb you while you are sleeping.
Siberian dwarf hamsters do not like being cold, you will notice they curl up into a ball when they are too cold. If you notice they are spending a lot of time curled up you should consider relocating them somewhere warmer.
Technically speaking the Chinese dwarf hamster is not a dwarf hamster, but due to its small size and similar features it is often grouped in with them. Generally speaking Chinese dwarf hamsters come in two colours, normal and dominant spot. Normal are brownish grey with a black stripe running down their spine. The dominant spot hamsters are mostly white with some patches of greyish brown.
Females sharing a cage often fight with each other over territory, keeping males together is a lot less confrontational. Chinese dwarf hamsters are very lively and like to exercise a lot, so expect many hours spent on the wheel, running around, and jumping. If bought up in a social environment they are tame to handle and will not bite, they are fragile however so always handle gently.
Hamsters are easy pets to care for, and dwarf hamsters are very similar. You need to provide fresh food and water daily, cleaning out their cage once a week or more often as needed.
The bulk of a hamster’s diets come from pellets and food mixes specifically designed for hamsters. This is the best way to ensure your hamster is getting most of the nutrients required. You can add treats and mix in other foods to keep their diet interesting and varied, but be sure you check any food out beforehand if you are not sure how safe it is.
A water bottle should be available at all times, replacing fresh water every day and washing out the bottle.
Without going into much detail here, hamsters require their own space within cages. As a starting point you should kit out their cage with food bowls, an exercise wheel, some ledges to climb on, tubes to run through, and an area to sleep.
Hamster cage bedding is readily available from most pet stores, spread this over the floor of the cage along with a separate area for sleeping in. A small house/igloo provides a nice, snug enclosed space to sleep in, put some soft bedding in there and you will have a happy hamster.