February 2, 2023

Pets

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Is the Chinese Dwarf Hamster a Dwarf Impostor?

3 min read

Would it surprise you if I told you that a Chinese Dwarf Hamster is not really a dwarf hamster? That’s right! A Chinese Dwarf Hamster is actually part of the rat-like family of hamsters. If you look closely, you will see that although it is smaller than the Syrian hamster, it tends to resemble a mouse rather than most other hamsters.

It is also no surprise that Chinese Dwarf Hamsters originate from northern China and Mongolia. In fact, they could first be found in the desert areas of this region. These cute little creatures are rarely owned as pets because they can be difficult to breed in captivity. Another reason is that owning them in the United States is also restricted in most states.

Compared with hamsters, these little critters typically have longer tails and mouse-like bodies. In fact, an adult hamster can grow to be about 10 to 12 centimeters in length. Normally, Chinese hamsters are grayish brown with a black strip down its spine and a white underside. Even though they have been kept in captivity longer the Syrian hamsters there are really only two other color mutations beyond the normal or wild type. They include the dominate spot and the black eyed white.

Many new pet hamster owners want to know if Chinese hamsters coexist well in pairs. Most dwarf hamsters do play well with one another, but this type of hamster may not always get along if housed together. The good news is that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, two female hamsters that are housed in the same area at an early age are more likely of getting along compared with a male and a female. Females are known to be more dominant so the male might end up seriously injured or worse, dead. If you do decide to house both hamsters together, make sure there is plenty of room in the cage. It is critical that the more docile animal has room to maneuver, so multi-level housing may be a good option. Because they can squeeze through bars that are too wide on a wire cage, these type of hamsters are normally kept in plastic or aquarium tanks. It is possible for them to escape completely or to become stuck in the cage bars resulting in a traumatic experience for both the owner and the hamster.

The feeding requirements for the Chinese dwarf hamsters are typical to other hamster species. They do well on a diet of seeds and pellets. They also enjoy fruits and vegetables. Owners can also offer wheat bread or Cheerios as a special treat in small amounts. Some owners also feed their Chinese hamsters crickets or mealworms as treats but never too many at one time. And, like other hamster species, Chinese hamsters need to have access to fresh water supply. Water bottles do better in these circumstances because water bowls can get littered with substrate.

So, should you get a Chinese hamster as a pet? If you are looking for a pet you can train, be aware that this hamster species can be difficult to train even though they can live up to two or even three years. This is due to their aggressive nature and the fact that they can be skittish and extremely agile. Being expert climbers, they also need constant supervision as they can jump from very high heights, are very fast, and can escape from cages if they are not properly secured. Because of these remarkable traits, Chinese hamsters are not always good for children under the age of twelve and sometimes make better pets when they are not handled at all. Beginner hamster owners are definitely not encouraged to get this hamster as a first pet.

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