Hamsters are popular pets, much loved for their soft, silky coats. However, there is a variety of hamsters that arouses curiosity because of its total absence of hair: the hairless hamster. In this article, we will explore the origins and characteristics of this genetic anomaly, as well as the precautions to take to ensure the well-being of these small rodents.
Genetic anomaly: the origin of the hairless hamster
The hair loss in hamsters is mainly due to a genetic mutation. Indeed, this particularity is the result of the expression of a specific gene named the satin gene. This gene can be present in different types of hamsters, such as Syrian hamsters or dwarf hamsters, but it does not express itself systematically. When it is expressed, it causes a change in the structure of the hair, leading to the loss of hair and giving birth to the hairless hamster.
Transmission of the satin gene
The satin gene is a recessive gene, which means that it must be inherited from two carrier parents to be expressed. If a hamster carries only one copy of the satin gene, it will carry the mutation but will keep its normal coat. On the other hand, if a hamster inherits two copies of the satin gene, it will be born without hair or will lose it over time.
Consequences of the genetic anomaly on the health of the hamster
Although the hairless hamster is a subject of curiosity for some, assume that this genetic anomaly can have repercussions on its health and well-being. Indeed, the absence of hair makes these animals more vulnerable to various health problems.
Sensitivity to temperature variations
Hair plays an essential role in the thermal regulation of hamsters. Without it, hairless hamsters are more sensitive to temperature changes and can suffer from hypothermia if exposed to cold for long periods. It is therefore crucial to ensure that their environment maintains a stable and comfortable temperature.
Increased risk of skin infections
The coat also protects the skin of hamsters against bacterial and fungal infections. Hamsters without hair are deprived of this natural protection and are therefore at a higher risk of developing skin infections. To prevent these problems, it is necessary to keep the hamster's environment clean and to regularly monitor for signs of infection.
Finally, some hairless hamsters can also develop eye problems, such as irritation or infection. Take a look regularly (nice pun, eh?), and consult a vet if you notice any abnormal signs.
Precautions to take for the well-being of the hairless hamster
To ensure a comfortable and healthy life for the hairless hamster, several precautions must be taken:
- Housing development : It is recommended to use soft and non-irritating materials for the hamster's nest, such as unscented toilet paper or fleece.
- Thermal control : The ideal temperature for a hairless hamster is between 20 and 22°C. A heating mat can be used if necessary to maintain this temperature in their habitat.
- Hygiene: Regularly clean the hamster cage to avoid the proliferation of bacteria and fungi that can cause skin infections.
- Power supply : A balanced diet adapted to the nutritional needs of hamsters is essential to prevent health problems related to the genetic anomaly.
Ethics in breeding hairless hamsters
Because of the many health problems associated with the genetic anomaly, ask yourself about the ethics of breeding hairless hamsters. Some breeders deliberately choose to crossbreed hamsters carrying the satin gene to obtain hairless individuals, while others consider this practice irresponsible and potentially harmful to the animals.
To avoid encouraging the spread of this genetic disorder, it is recommended that you adopt a hairless hamster only if you are certain that you can meet its specific needs and if you are aware of the health problems it may face.
The hairless hamster is the result of a genetic anomaly linked to the satin gene, which causes a change in the structure of the hair and its fall. This makes these animals more vulnerable to various health problems, such as sensitivity to temperature variations, skin infections and eye problems. To ensure the well-being of hairless hamsters, it is crucial to take additional precautions in terms of housing design, temperature control and hygiene. Finally, it is important to consider the ethics of breeding these animals and not to encourage the spread of this genetic abnormality through demand.