Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
What you should know about Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
In the small pet world, there can be great confusion as to what is and what is not actually miniature; Chinese Dwarf hamsters, for example, are not considered within the distinction of “dwarf” at all.
For people who prefer a small pet, a hamster may prove to be a good choice. They are of the rodent family, but unlike the abhorrence and fear that many have for wild mice and rates, hamsters are considered by those same individuals as being furry and adorable. Most hamsters are gentle and inquisitive little creatures, and watching their antics as they play, eat and dart around their habitats can actually be stress relieving for the owners. They are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. They are relatively inexpensive to care for, and maintenance of the hamster consists of keeping their habitat clean and providing them with food and water.
Types of hamsters
Differing information exists about how many different species of hamsters there are, but it may be safe to say that the number ranges between 15 and 25. Not all of these are suitable as pets, however. Five species of the furry rodent stand out as the most commonly kept pet hamsters: the Syrian, the Campbell’s, the Winter White, the Roborovski and the Chinese. Dwarf hamsters include the Campbell’s and the Winter White, each averaging approximately 4 inches in length. The Roborovski and the Chinese hamsters, while they do grow to be around 4 or 5 inches long, are not considered in the dwarf category. The Chinese species is actually quite a deviation from the common knowledge most people have of hamsters.
The Chinese hamster
As noted, although it is often advertised as a dwarf hamster, the Chinese is not considered within this class. Rather, it is categorized as a “rat-like” hamster due to its longer tail and its slinky body style.
People generally believe the hamsters breed like rabbits; producing exponential numbers of young that become quite a handful for pet owners. While this analogy may be true in some cases, the Chinese is one of the exceptions. In fact, some people consider this species to be rare due to the fact that they do not breed well in captivity. Definitely not among the most common type of pet store hamster, the Chinese may prove to be difficult to locate if one is desired as a pet.
Another exception to the rule is in the fact that the Chinese hamster enjoys the company of another Chinese. Two females often do better together than a mated pair, mainly because females are dominant in the species and the male is frequently injured or even killed by his female mate. Because they do well in pairs, it is wise to consider this fact when planning the habitat that will be needed. More roominess within the cage is needed to provide plenty of hiding space for the pair, giving the less dominant hamster a place to scurry to when the dominant female tries to overpower.
One difference should be noted about the Chinese hamster; they are not the ideal pet for the young. They display more aggressive behavior and will resist taming efforts. In addition, they startle easily, and the quick movements of children may result in a very skittish hamster. The hamsters are very agile and adept climbers that will not hesitate to attempt escape from their cages.
While these differences mark the Chinese Dwarf hamsters from the other species, there are also numerous similarities. They eat the same pellets, seeds, vegetables and fruits the other types do, and need fresh water. Providing several types of toys will keep these busy bodies entertained during their 2 to 3 year life span as a pet.
Although the Chinese hamster is not actually in the dwarf class, the diminutive size of the creature as well as its amusing antics will delight those in search of a small pet.