Dwarf Hamster Care Sheet

Phodopus spp.

Developed with and approved by qualified veterinarians

Dwarf hamsters, including Djungarian, Chinese, Russian and Roborovski hamsters, have high energy levels. They are clean and captivating companion animals and can make great pets when they are socialized properly.

Dwarf Hamster Caresheet

Appearance and behavior 

  • Dwarf hamsters are very energetic
  • Dwarf hamsters play at the night and rest during the day (nocturnal), but can adjust to pet parents’ schedules
  • Because they may run in wheels at night, they might not be the best pet for light sleepers 
  • With daily gently handling, they can bond to pet parents and be cuddly companions
  • Dwarf hamsters are easy to handle but move quickly; some species, such as Chinese and Roborovski dwarf hamsters, are less likely to nip or bite. Children handling hamsters should always be supervised
  • They love to burrow in bedding and hide; provide nesting material or be sure habitat bedding is deep enough to allow this behavior
  • On their abdomens, male dwarf hamsters have scent glands that are raised, sometimes hairless and often produce a greasy to waxy yellow secretion that may be used for territorial marking; females also have scent glands, but they are less prominent, and the secretions are associated with the estrous cycle
  • Dwarf hamsters need to chew on objects to maintain their incisor teeth, which grow continuously; ensure they have plenty of wood chew sticks, edible chew toys or mineral chews to gnaw on
  • Dwarf hamsters have large, muscular outpouchings called check pouches inside their mouth on both sides of their face; they store food, bedding and other small objects in these pouches, which can become so filled that the cheek pouch swelling stretches from the sides of their face all the way back to their shoulders
  • Never surprise a sleeping hamster, as they may be startled and bite
  • Never squeeze the body of a hamster when holding them so you don’t inflict injury; hold your hamster over a soft surface in case they jump so they don’t get injured if they fall

Dwarf hamster characteristics

Care Difficulty Beginner
Average Life Span 2–3 years with proper care
Average Adult Size 2–4 inches long, depending on species
Diet Herbivorous
Minimum Habitat Size 24″ L x 12″ W x 12″ H for single hamster; wire narrow enough to prevent from slipping through

Habitat 

Habitat size

Provide the largest habitat possible so your hamster can hide, burrow, exercise and play. Metal, wire-based habitats have better ventilation, but bars must be narrow enough to prevent tiny dwarf hamsters from slipping through. Glass or plastic habitats may be used but are harder to keep ventilated; bedding in tanks may require more frequent changing to prevent ammonia smell from droppings. All habitats should have a securely attached top to prevent escape.

Building your habitat

Hamsters acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area and should be inaccessible to other pets, such as curious cats and dogs.

  • Bedding: Use 1–2” of high-quality, commercially available paper-based bedding or crumbled paper. Paper-based bedding is preferred over wood shavings of any kind because it is digestible if hamsters eat it, and it is less dusty (so less prone to irritate hamsters’ respiratory tracts); wood shavings can cause gastrointestinal (GI) tract obstruction if ingested. Nesting material provides additional enrichment, allowing hamsters to bury themselves and build nests
  • Décor 
    • Many hamsters enjoy a hiding place within their habitats. Commercially available wood- and hay-based habitats are available for them to hide in and chew on; hard plastic hideaways are easy to disinfect but should be removed if hamsters chew on them to prevent ingestion of plastic pieces
    • Provide an appropriately sized running wheel for exercise; be sure the wheel has smooth running surface to prevent hamsters from catching and injuring toes and feet

Cleaning your habitat

Spot clean the habitat and remove soiled bedding and discarded food daily. At least once a week, thoroughly clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents:

  • Replacing all bedding and washing all habitat contents with a small animal habitat cleaner or 3% bleach solution
  • Rinse off habitat cleaner or bleach residue thoroughly 
  • Allow the habitat and décor to dry completely before returning your hamster to the habitat

Feeding 

What to feed your dwarf hamster

A well-balanced dwarf hamster diet consists of:

  • High-quality hamster lab blocks or other commercially-available, nutritionally-complete pelleted food for hamsters and limited amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits, and Timothy or other grass hay
  • Clean, fresh water, changed daily, in a sipper bottle or a shallow bowl. Bowls should not be too deep as to allow hamsters to fall into them and get stuck. Sipper bottles should be checked regularly to ensure water flow is patent
  • Do not feed chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, as these are toxic to hamsters and can cause illness or death; avoid salty, sugar and fatty treats

Things to remember when feeding your dwarf hamster:

  • Always have fresh food and water available
  • Feed once a day in the evening; hamsters are generally more active at night
  • You can give small amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits and hay daily, but limit these to 10% of your hamster’s calories
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within 12 hours should be discarded
  • Hamsters stay clean and rarely need baths but can be spot cleaned with a damp washcloth or unscented baby wipes, if needed. Hamsters enjoy a weekly dust bath to help keep their fur clean, dry and less oily; provide a shallow dish of commercially available rodent dust for hamsters to roll around in
  • Consult with a veterinarian if your hamster‘s teeth seem too long

Where to buy 

Petco sells dwarf hamsters in select stores. Call your local location ahead of time to ensure availability.

Habitat mates 

Hamsters are solitary animals, but dwarf hamsters may be kept in same-sex pairs if they are raised together; otherwise, keep adult hamsters housed separately. Different types of small animals should not be housed together. Always monitor hamsters housed together for fighting and separate them if they fight.

Health 

Signs of a healthy dwarf hamster

  • Active, alert and sociable
  • Eats, drinks and passes droppings regularly
  • Healthy fur without patches of hair loss
  • Clear eyes and nose
  • Breathing is unlabored
  • Walks normally
  • Note: The enamel covering a hamster’s front teeth is normally yellow and does not need to be cleaned off

Red flags (if you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian)

  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal hair loss
  • Diarrhea, dirty bottom or lack of stool
  • Labored or open-mouth breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Ocular or nasal discharge
  • Skin lesions, bumps or scabs
  • Itchy skin
  • Overgrown teeth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Coughing, sneezing or wheezing
  • Swollen cheek pouches that don’t empty in a few hours
  • Bloody droppings

Common dwarf hamster health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Diabetes Symptoms or Causes Frequent urination, weight loss, cloudy eyes (cataracts) and lethargy Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian
Health Issue Diarrhea Symptoms or Causes Loose stool; can be caused by poor diet, stress, GI parasites, bacterial or viral infection, unclean housing or other illness Suggested Action Consult a veterinarian to determine cause and treatment
Health Issue Dental problems Symptoms or Causes Overgrown teeth, difficulty chewing, drooling, swelling of jaw, weight loss Suggested Action Consult a veterinarian to have teeth trimmed regularly
Health Issue Skin infection Symptoms or Causes Hair loss and/or dry, flaky, itchy skin; can be caused by external parasites (such as mites), fungal infection (ringworm) or bacterial dermatitis Suggested Action Consult a veterinarian for treatment; ringworm and some species of mites are contagious to people
Health Issue Cheek pouch abscess Symptoms or Causes Swelling of side(s) of face that doesn’t resolve, foul mouth odor, discharge from mouth Suggested Action Consult a veterinarian for treatment

FAQs 

  • What can dwarf hamsters eat? Dwarf hamsters can eat a commercially available, nutritionally complete lab block or hamster pellet, with smaller amounts of vegetables, fruit, grains and grass hay
  • How big should a dwarf hamster cage be? The minimum habitat size for a single hamster is 24” L x 12” W x 12” H.
  • What fruits can dwarf hamsters eat? Hamsters can eat most fruits but should not eat fruit seeds or pits, citrus fruit or rhubarb.
  • What vegetables can dwarf hamsters eat? Hamsters can eat most vegetables except garlic, onions, unripe tomatoes and raw beans and potatoes.
  • Where can I buy a dwarf hamster? You can buy a dwarf hamster at Petco.
  • What is the lifespan of a dwarf hamster? A dwarf hamster can live 2–3 years with proper care and nutrition.

Additional care sheets

Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center associate about Petco’s selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all small animals are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, bacteria that causes rat bite fever and Salmonella bacteria, always wash your hands before and after handling your small animal or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physicians before purchasing or caring for small animals and should consider having a pet other than a hamster.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about small animals and disease.

Note: The information in this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Reviewed by Petco’s Animal Care, Education and Compliance (ACE) Team

Petco’s ACE team is a passionate group of experienced pet care experts dedicated to supporting the overall health & wellness of pets. The ACE team works to develop animal care operations and standards across the organization and promote proper animal care and education for Pet Care Center partners and pet parents, while also ensuring regulatory compliance.

FAQs

Are dwarf hamsters active at night?

Dwarf Hamster Sleep Habits Your hamster is at his most active during the night and if you are awake you will see him eating, burrowing, playing and exercising.

(Get More Info)

Are dwarf hamsters more active at day?

Dwarf hamsters are fairly easy pets to keep. They don’t take up a lot of space, are relatively quiet, and are fun and interesting to watch. However, they are nocturnal, so they might not be very active while you’re awake and they could keep you up at night

(Get More Info)

Do dwarf hamsters need light at night?

Lights Off Hamsters typically eat their meals at night, and they also typically get their exercise at night. Darkness makes them feel energetic and ready to conquer their “days.” Because of that, hamsters need to have the lights off at night.

(Get More Info)

Why is my dwarf hamster sleeping at night?

If you were wondering why your hamster sleeps so much, worry no more. It’s just part of hamsters’ DNA to sleep while most predators are active and it’s too hot outside to search for nourishment. They prefer to come out at dusk, when it’s both safer and cooler, to hunt down seeds and puddles

(Get More Info)

How often should I clean my hamsters cage?

Once a week is advisable, and certainly at least once every two weeks. But you may want to have a clean-out more frequently than that.

(Get More Info)

How do you tire out a hamster?

Regular play with your hamster will also help tire it out, so it will sleep more soundly during the day. If you can encourage your hamster to run on its wheel before you’re in bed and asleep, it may result in your hamster being more relaxed and quiet while you’re asleep.

(Get More Info)

Should I cover my hamsters cage during the day?

Cage Covers

Hamsters don’t need darkness to sleep, so it’s also unnecessary to cover their cages in the daytime.

(Get More Info)

How do I know if my hamster is happy?

Unless they’re old, it is not a good sign to see a hamster stuck in a loop of repetitive behaviors. A happy hamster will be very energetic, wanting to explore its cage, use its wheel, and will be moving around much more.

(Get More Info)

How often should I change my hamsters water?

Make sure you check the water bottle daily for leaks and/or blockages and change your hamster’s water at least once a day. You should also make time to regularly clean the bottle and nozzle properly to avoid contamination.

(Get More Info)

How often do I change my hamsters bedding?

Replacing Shavings

The ASPCA recommends completely removing all the old shavings in your hamster’s cage and replacing them with fresh shavings once a week. Take the time to scrub the enclosure using hot, soapy water during this weekly cleaning.

(Get More Info)

Do hamsters like being picked up?

They do not like to be held. They are more prone to bite if they are startled or woken from a deep sleep, or if your hands smell like another animal or food. Handle your hamster gently.

(Get More Info)

Do hamsters recognize their owners?

In the beginning, your hamster won’t know you from anyone else. With proper socialization, however, not only will your hamster recognize you, he’ll bond with you. In order to maintain this bond, you’ll need to handle your hamster regularly. You can’t expect your hamster to bond with everyone, though.

(Get More Info)

Do hamsters respond to their name?

They love to play, exercise and explore once they’ve gotten used to you, as well as their new home. Your dwarf hamster is even smart enough to recognize and respond to its own name ? once you’ve trained it to do so.

(Get More Info)

Do hamsters like being stroked?

Yes, hamsters do enjoy being held and petted. However, it requires the proper technique and time for them to feel secure with you. When you first start petting your hamster, he or she will not be so excited. However, after a little while, they may show signs of happiness, such as trying to get closer to you.

(Get More Info)

Is it OK to have 1 hamster?

Should hamsters live alone or be kept in pairs? Because they’re so territorial, it’s generally best to only keep one hamster per cage. Adding more than one hamster to the same enclosure could lead to some really nasty fighting. Possibly even to the death!

(Get More Info)

Why does my hamster freeze when I pet him?

The usual cause of hamsters stopping still is fear. If the pet is new, this is bound to happen in the early days. It will be a strange environment for the pet, and there will lots of new things to get used to. Hamsters are made nervous by threatening noises.

(Get More Info)

Sleeping Habits of Dwarf Hamsters – Pets on Mom.com

Sleeping Habits of Dwarf Hamsters i Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images Dwarf hamsters were first introduced as pets in Europe during the 1970s. Since their introduction to the domesticated world, thousands of humans have found a place for these tiny nocturnal animals in their homes. Learning to work with your dwarf hamster’s natural sleep patterns will make handling and playing with him more pleasant for both of you. Hamsters Are NocturnalAll hamsters are nocturnal. This behavior is the result of natural behavior that aided hamsters survival in the wild. Hamsters have well develop senses of smell and sound while their eyesight is somewhat limited. During the night, wild hamsters could find food and be active with less concern about being spotted or captured by a predator. Being awake at night and sleeping hidden in a burrow during the day maximized the hamster’s talents and helped protect it from predators. Dwarf breeds of hamster tend to be a bit more adaptable to different sleep schedules than Syrian hamsters are, but the basic sleep schedules are more or less the same. Dwarf Hamster Sleep HabitsYour dwarf hamster will likely still be active during the early morning hours, as he is winding down his nighttime activities. Most hamsters will go to sleep mid-morning and wake up periodically through the day in order to change positions, use the bathroom or if they are startled. He will begin to wake up during the early evening and be fully awake come night. Your hamster is at his most active during the night and if you are awake you will see him eating, burrowing, playing and exercising. Interacting With Your DwarfDwarf hamsters are generally willing to wake up and play with their humans for short periods of time during the day, but it is best to wait to interact with your pet until he is fully awake. Pay attention to your specific animal and make a note of what time he naturally wakes or goes to sleep then plan your schedule so that you have time to interact with him and perform daily care duties while he is awake. Waking Up Your HamsterSurprising a sleepy hamster or startling a sleeping hamster can cause aggressive behavior and lead to you getting bitten by your pet. If you do need to interact with your hamster during his sleeping hours, you should speak gently to him and blow lightly on him until he is awake and able to recognize your presence. You can wake your hamster up occasionally to interact with him but repeated interruptions can lead to having a grumpy, irritable and unhappy pet. Its best for your hamster if you let him sleep when he wants to and interact with him when he is already conscious. References Photo Credits Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images Writer Bio Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as “Horses Incorporated,” “The Paisley Pony” and “Alabama Living.” Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

Find Out More

How to Care for a Pet Dwarf Hamster – The Spruce Pets

How to Care for a Pet Dwarf Hamster Dwarf hamsters are actually a number of tiny species of hamsters that are native primarily to desert regions around the world. These social little creatures differ from their larger, more territorial cousins, thriving in pairs or small groups as opposed to living alone. As pets, they are generally docile and easy to handle, as well as fun to watch as they tunnel and romp around in their enclosure. They’re also simple to care for, requiring a fairly straightforward diet and regular cage cleaning. Species Overview Common Names: Dwarf hamster, Campbell hamster, Robo (Roborovski) hamster, Syrian hamster, black bear hamster, Chinese hamsterScientific Names: Phodopus campbelli, Phodopus roborovskii, Cricetulus griseusAdult Size: Around 2 inches long on average; weighs roughly 1 to 2 ouncesLifespan: 3 years in captivity Dwarf Hamster Behavior and Temperament Dwarf hamsters comprise a number of species, and each has some specific personality traits. For instance, the Campbell hamster is a curious little creature that’s notably easy to handle. The Robo (or Roborovski) hamster—a particularly tiny dwarf hamster that weighs in at just over 3/4 ounce—stays asleep during the day more than other species. And the Chinese hamster (not technically a dwarf species but just as small) is known for its love of tunneling, especially through its bedding. Overall, dwarf hamsters make for captivating and low-maintenance pets. They may not necessarily form a strong bond with their humans as a dog or cat would, but they will learn to recognize you and come to the side of their enclosure if you’re nearby (especially if you have a treat). All hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they play and eat during the night and rest during the day, though some hamsters can adjust to their owners’ sleeping and waking times. However, if you try to wake a sleeping hamster to handle it, the hamster might become grouchy and bite. In general, many hamsters will wake in the evening hours and happily interact with their humans then. Moreover, while hamsters make very soft and minimal vocalizations themselves, their movement during the nighttime can be an issue if you’re trying to sleep. If you’re a light sleeper, you probably shouldn’t keep your hamster enclosure in your bedroom. Most dwarf hamsters take well to people holding them, but they will nip if they feel uncomfortable. They don’t necessarily need other hamster companions, but keeping them in same-sex pairs or small groups can help to make them feel more comfortable. They generally should be kept away from other pets, including other species of hamsters. Size Information Dwarf hamsters slightly range in size, depending on the species. On average, they reach around 2 inches long and weigh 1 to 2 ounces. They’ll generally reach maturity at around 2 months old. Housing A dwarf hamster’s habitat should be as large as possible, allowing for maximum exercise and play. A cage that’s roughly a 2-foot square with a height of around a foot is the bare minimum that some animal groups recommend. Habitat options generally include a glass or plastic aquarium with a secure top that has ventilation or a cage that’s wire with a plastic base. Wire cages allow for better airflow to prevent overheating, though they don’t protect as well as plastic or glass do against drafts. You must make sure that the wire spacing is close enough that your hamster can’t squeeze through the bars. Include an exercise wheel in the enclosure that has a solid surface, not bars, for your hamster to run on. Also, provide plenty of wooden chew sticks or mineral chews in the enclosure. Chewing maintains a hamster’s incisor teeth, which grow continuously. Plus, add a small nest or sleeping hut (available at most pet shops) for your hamster to rest and hide in when it wants to feel secure. Hamsters acclimate well to average household temperatures. Just be cautious of extreme temperature changes, and keep the habitat away from direct sunlight and drafts. Specific Substrate Needs On the bottom of the cage, there should be a 1- to 2-inch layer of bedding, such as chemical- and dye-free shredded paper or hardwood shavings. Change the bedding once…

Start Reading Now

Are Hamsters Nocturnal Creatures? – Pocket Pets 101

Are Hamsters Nocturnal Creatures? | Pocket Pets 101A lot of first time hamster owners are surprised to see that their hamster isn’t that active during the day and fear that it’s nocturnal. Then they might think that the hamster they bought isn’t that good for their lifestyle.But you are probably an exception! You want to be a little bit better prepared and are interested in a little more background information on the sleeping habits of hamsters. These sleeping habits come down to a difference in behavior. In general, we make a distinction between diurnal, which means active during the day, and nocturnal creatures.Are hamsters nocturnal? Hamsters are often described as nocturnal pets but most hamsters are in fact crepuscular. This means that they are most active during twilight, this is at dawn and dusk. Some species of hamsters will also have short periods of activity during the day. But, in general, hamsters are considered to be crepuscular.Since hamsters are crepuscular this means that they will spend a lot of their day time sleeping. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your own lifestyle. In either case, it’s very important to understand your pet’s behavior which is its sleeping habits in this case.In this article you’ll learn everything there is to know about the sleeping habits of your hamster from why they’re crepuscular to what kind of sleeping habit is good for them.Why Are Hamsters Crepuscular and Not Nocturnal?Animals can show diurnal, nocturnal or crepuscular behavior depending on a number of factors. The most important factors that determine the sleeping habits of an animal are:the environmentthe status as predator or preyHamsters Live in Hot ClimatesMost animals adjust their sleeping habits to their environment.In hot climates, an animal will often sleep during the day to conserve energy. At twilight or during the night they’ll become active and look for food. In cooler climates, most animals will be active during the day and will sleep at night.Hamsters in the wild live in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In general, they live in very hot climates. During the day hamsters stay in their burrows, a network of tunnels beneath the surface. The temperature in these tunnels is a lot lower than outside. Hamsters will live and sleep in these burrows during the day when it’s too hot outside.At sunset, hamsters will wake up and start their search for food outside. Most hamsters are very active at this point.As you might know, the desert is an environment of extremes. While it’s extremely hot during the day, the nights can get freezing cold. Hamsters don’t like very high and very low temperatures. Hamsters can even go in a kind of “hibernation” when the temperatures are too low.Hamsters are happiest at normal room temperatures. In the desert, this kind of temperature will occur at twilight, so at dawn and dusk. At these times it’s not too hot and not too cold for the hamster.Hamsters Are Prey AnimalsPredators and prey adapt their sleeping habits to each other. Predators will be awake at times when they’re prey is available. Prey, on the other hand, will try to avoid the times when their primary predators are out hunting.You probably guessed that hamsters aren’t predatory in nature and are a so-called prey animal. The hamster has a lot of different predators and is on the menu of birds of prey, canids, snakes and wild cats.Needless to say that hamsters will try to avoid to be outside when their predators are awake. Most of their predators are nocturnal and it’s natural that they adapted to being awake at the moment when their predators are not yet awake. If hamsters would also be nocturnal they would be awake and looking for food at the same time their predators are. This would be an extremely bad idea for the hamster.What Are the Consequences of Being Crepuscular?There are some consequences of the crepuscular nature of hamsters….

Start Reading Now

Dwarf Hamster Care Sheet: Food, Habitat & Health | Petco

Dwarf Hamster Dwarf Hamster Care Sheet Phodopus spp. Developed with and approved by qualified veterinarians Dwarf hamsters, including Djungarian, Chinese, Russian and Roborovski hamsters, have high energy levels. They are clean and captivating companion animals and can make great pets when they are socialized properly. Table of contents Appearance and behavior Characteristics Habitat size Habitat setup Habitat cleaning Feeding Care Recommended supplies Habitat mates Common health issues FAQs Appearance and behavior  Dwarf hamsters are very energetic Dwarf hamsters play at the night and rest during the day (nocturnal), but can adjust to pet parents’ schedules Because they may run in wheels at night, they might not be the best pet for light sleepers  With daily gently handling, they can bond to pet parents and be cuddly companions Dwarf hamsters are easy to handle but move quickly; some species, such as Chinese and Roborovski dwarf hamsters, are less likely to nip or bite. Children handling hamsters should always be supervised They love to burrow in bedding and hide; provide nesting material or be sure habitat bedding is deep enough to allow this behavior On their abdomens, male dwarf hamsters have scent glands that are raised, sometimes hairless and often produce a greasy to waxy yellow secretion that may be used for territorial marking; females also have scent glands, but they are less prominent, and the secretions are associated with the estrous cycle Dwarf hamsters need to chew on objects to maintain their incisor teeth, which grow continuously; ensure they have plenty of wood chew sticks, edible chew toys or mineral chews to gnaw on Dwarf hamsters have large, muscular outpouchings called check pouches inside their mouth on both sides of their face; they store food, bedding and other small objects in these pouches, which can become so filled that the cheek pouch swelling stretches from the sides of their face all the way back to their shoulders Never surprise a sleeping hamster, as they may be startled and bite Never squeeze the body of a hamster when holding them so you don’t inflict injury; hold your hamster over a soft surface in case they jump so they don’t get injured if they fall Dwarf hamster characteristics Care Difficulty Beginner Average Life Span 2–3 years with proper care Average Adult Size 2–4 inches long, depending on species Diet Herbivorous Minimum Habitat Size 24″ L x 12″ W x 12″ H for single hamster; wire narrow enough to prevent from slipping through Dwarf hamster supplies Habitat  Habitat size Provide the largest habitat possible so your hamster can hide, burrow, exercise and play. Metal, wire-based habitats have better ventilation, but bars must be narrow enough to prevent tiny dwarf hamsters from slipping through. Glass or plastic habitats may be used but are harder to keep ventilated; bedding in tanks may require more frequent changing to prevent ammonia smell from droppings. All habitats should have a securely attached top to prevent escape. Building your habitat Hamsters acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area and should be inaccessible to other pets, such as curious cats and dogs. Bedding: Use 1–2” of high-quality, commercially available paper-based bedding or crumbled paper. Paper-based bedding is preferred over wood shavings of any kind because it is digestible if hamsters eat it, and it is less dusty (so less prone to irritate hamsters’ respiratory tracts); wood shavings can cause gastrointestinal (GI) tract obstruction if ingested. Nesting material provides additional enrichment, allowing hamsters to bury themselves and build nests Décor  Many hamsters enjoy a hiding place within their habitats. Commercially available wood- and hay-based habitats are available for them to hide in and chew on; hard plastic hideaways are easy to disinfect but should be removed if hamsters chew on them to prevent ingestion of plastic pieces Provide an appropriately sized running wheel for exercise; be sure the wheel has smooth running surface to prevent…

Get the text you want

Dwarf Hamster – Facts and Beyond | Biology Dictionary

Dwarf HamsterThere are ten species of dwarf hamsters. Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Mammalia Order Rodentia Family Cricetidae Genus There are two: Cricetulus and Phodopus Species Ten in total Niche Omnivorous Length 2 – 3 inches (5.1 – 7.6 cm) Weight 1 ounce (28 grams) Lifespan The average is 1 – 2 years Social Structure Can be solitary or in small groups Conservation Status Least Concern Preferred Habitat Arid areas such as deserts and scrubland Average Litter Size 1 – 13 Main Prey Species Grains, seeds, berries, insects and other invertebrates Main Threats Agriculture The Basics Dwarf hamsters are small mammals with stout bodies, short tails, and stubby legs. They are usually two to three inches in length, although some can be smaller. There are ten species in total; seven species belong to the genus Cricetulus, while the remaining three belong to the genus Phodopus. The smallest dwarf hamster is the dwarf desert hamster, which is just two to four inches in length! Dwarf hamsters are found through much of Europe and Asia. They are located across central Europe, with their range extending as far north as Siberia, Mongolia, China, and Korea. Their southern range reaches Syria and Pakistan. They live in arid regions such as deserts and scrubland, as well as being found in some mountainous areas and forests. Each species has its own specific range. These mammals are omnivores and feed on a variety of food, including seeds, grains, fruits, berries, and invertebrates. Each species has a different diet based on the habitat it lives in. Some of these hamsters are nocturnal and only forage at night. In comparison, others are active during parts of the day, especially at dawn and at dusk. A Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster. While these animals do not hibernate in the winter, they will enter a period of inactivity called torpor, which can range from a few days to several weeks. Their breeding season is from April to October. During this time, the female can have two to five litters. Each litter can have 1 to 13 young after a short gestation period, lasting just 13 to 22 days. The young are born hairless and blind and depend on the female to take care of them. Dwarf hamsters can be preyed upon by many species, including foxes, weasels, snakes, and owls. Aside from being prey for several species, hamster populations are also threatened by humans. Agriculture is a large threat to these animals as it results in the disruption of their habitat. Some farms even see them as pests and trap or poison them as they destroy crops. Pet Trade Hamsters have become a popular pet over the years due to their relatively low maintenance. They are also fairly easy to tame and are more social than other hamsters, meaning they can be kept in same-sex pairs often without any difficulty. There are four species of dwarf hamster that have been domesticated: Campbell’s Russian dwarf (Phodopus campbelli) Winter white Russian dwarf (Phodopus sungorus) Roborovski dwarf (Phodopus roborovskii) Chinese dwarf (Cricetulus griseus) The smallest of these is the Roborovski dwarf hamster, which is just 2 inches long! This hamster was first discovered and described by scientists in 1903. In the wild, they are found in the deserts of central Asia. These small hamsters are fast-moving, which can make them challenging to handle. Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are probably the most commonly kept species of dwarf hamsters. They look very similar to winter white dwarf hamsters. The first hamster was collected in Mongolia on July 1, 1902. These hamsters are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dawn and at dusk. Chinese dwarf hamsters are popular pets. Interesting Insights…

Complete Post

Hamsters: Diet, habits & types | Live Science

Hamsters: Diet, habits & types Home References (Image credit: Getty Images) Hamsters are small rodents that are commonly kept as house pets. They are distinguishable from other rodents due to their short tails, stubby legs and small ears. Hamsters have many different colors, including black, grey, brown, white, yellow, red or a mixture of several colors.How big are hamsters?There are 24 species of hamsters, according to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (opens in new tab), and these animals come in a wide range of sizes. The European breed can grow as large as 12.5 inches (32 centimeters) long and are some of the biggest varieties of hamsters, according to the journal Biomarkers in Toxicology (opens in new tab). The dwarf hamster lives up to its name. These tiny hamsters grow to around 2 to 4 inches (5.5 to 10.5 cm) long, according to AZ animals (opens in new tab). The most common pet hamster, the Syrian hamster, also known as the teddy bear hamster or golden hamster, usually grows to about 6 inches (15.24 cm) long.Hamster habitatThe first hamsters were discovered in Syria, according to the book ‘The Hamster (opens in new tab)’, though they also live in Greece, Romania, Belgium and northern China. In the wild, they like to live in warm, dry areas, like steppes, sand dunes and the edges of deserts, according to World Atlas (opens in new tab).Hamsters were brought to the United States in 1936 from Syria, according to the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (opens in new tab). They were some of the first domesticated hamsters.Habits and behaviorDwarf hamsters are social hamsters. (Image credit: Getty Images)Hamsters are nocturnal, according to the ASPCA (opens in new tab), which means they like sleeping during the day. In the wild, they dig burrows, which are a series of tunnels, to live and breed in. Hamsters will also store food in their burrows. Living underground keeps wild hamsters cool in hot climates.Some hamsters are very social, while others are loners. For example, the Syrian hamster doesn’t like living near other hamsters, according to the Hamster Society Singapore (opens in new tab). They are very territorial and should never be put in a cage with other hamsters. It will bite the other hamster, and may even kill it. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, are social and like to have a friend nearby.Wild hamsters will hibernate if the weather gets cold enough. Hamsters will wake up from their hibernation periodically to eat, according to the journal Hormones and Behavior (opens in new tab). If there isn’t enough food stored, hamsters will wait to hibernate until their surplus is to their liking.Classification/taxonomyKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataSubphylum: VertebrataClass: MammaliaOrder: RodentiaSuborder: MyomorphaSuperfamily: MuroideaFamily: CricetidaeSubfamily: CricetinaeGenera: Allocricetulus, Cansumus, Cricetus, Cricetulus, Mesocricetus, Phodopus and TscherskiaSpecies: 24 species. The most common hamsters found as pets are: Syrian golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus);  Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus); Campbell’s or dwarf hamster (Phodopus campbelli); Djungarian or winter-white Russian dwarf hamster (Phodopus sungorus); Roborovski hamster (Phodopus roborovskii)Hamster dietSome hamsters can fit up to 20% of their own body mass in their cheek pouches.  (Image credit: Getty Images)Hamsters like to eat seeds, grains, nuts, cracked corn, fruits and vegetables, according to the Hamster Society Singapore (opens in new tab). Wild hamsters also eat insects, frogs, lizards and other small animals. A captive hamster’s diet should be at least 16 percent protein and 5 percent fat, according…

Get More Info

Keeping Hamsters As Pets | RSPCA

Keeping Hamsters As Pets | RSPCA Hamsters are fun animals and can make good first pets for children, provided you understand what they need to be healthy and happy. Find out more about them on this page, and then why not take a look at all the hamsters we have available for rehoming? Hamster fact file There are several different breeds and varieties of hamster, varying in size and temperament. Hamsters usually live for up to two years, although some may live for longer. Here are some top hamster facts: There are 24 species of hamster and they belong to the family Cricetidae. The Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell and Roborovski breeds are the most popular for pets. Hamsters enjoy exploring and use their whiskers to help them sense objects in their environment. A hamster’s teeth never stop growing and they have a ‘self-sharpening’ system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down. Hamsters are nocturnal, with large eyes and a retina dominated by rods – the part of the eye that can function in lower light. Not all hamsters are sociable – in the wild, Syrian hamster adults generally live on their own in their burrows. Other species, such as the Russian dwarf, naturally live in groups. Why not have a read of our full Hamster fact file? Understanding your hamster’s needs Find out everything you need to know about keeping hamsters as pets in our series of handy guides to hamsters, including their: environment diet behaviour company health and welfare You can find even more about looking after your pet hamster in our guide to how to take care of your hamster.

See the difference you make