The dwarf hamster are endearing, easy to care for and require little space. They're one of the most popular pets among families, thanks to their small size, sociable nature and relatively simple needs. So, are you ready to welcome a new furry friend into your home?
The different species of dwarf hamsters
There are several species of dwarf hamsters. These pets originate from various regions of Asia and Eastern Europe. Each species has its own particularities, both in terms of size and behavior.
Russian hamsters, which belong to the genus PhodopusThey are the most popular among dwarf hamsters. They are also called Russian hamster dwarf. They usually measure between 7 and 10 centimeters and weigh between 30 and 50 grams. Their life expectancy is around 2 years old. Their coats are soft and thick, and can vary in color from gray to golden to white. Russian hamsters are generally calm and docile, making them easier to handle than some other dwarf hamster species.
Also called roborovski hamsters dwarfsare the smallest of the dwarf hamsters, generally measuring between 4 and 5 centimeters. They are native to the desert regions of Central Asia and have a life expectancy of around 3 years. Their coats are thick and sandy, with white markings on their faces and around their eyes. Roborovski hamsters are extremely lively and active, which can make them more difficult to handle than Russian hamsters. They are also less tolerant of handling and tend to prefer the company of other hamsters to that of humans.
Campbell hamsters, also called Campbell's dwarf hamstersThey measure around 10 to 12 centimeters and weigh between 30 and 50 grams. They are native to the steppic regions of Central Asia and have a life expectancy of around 2 years. Their coat is generally gray or brown, with white markings on the belly and around the eyes. Campbell hamsters are also very active and can be difficult to handle due to their liveliness. They are social and like to live in groups, but can sometimes be territorial and aggressive towards other hamsters.
The Chinese hamster
Although often classified as a dwarf hamster, the Chinese hamster is actually a separate species, slightly larger (12 cm) and with different physical characteristics, including a longer tail than other hamsters.
The dwarf hamster's needs as a pet
The material investment required to welcome a dwarf hamster into your home is relatively modest.However, it is important to ensure that a few conditions are met
The cage should be large enough to allow your hamster to move around freely and stretch at will. Dwarf hamsters need at least 0.5 square meters of space to live comfortably. Choose a metal or plastic cage, with bars spaced at around 1 centimeter apart to prevent your pet from getting trapped. Plexiglas cages are also a viable option, but they must be well ventilated to prevent moisture build-up.
Ideally, you should opt for a cage large enough to provide space and a variety of design options: hiding places, tunnels, platforms, exercise wheel, etc. The floor should be covered with absorbent, comfortable bedding, such as hemp or corn litter. The floor should be covered with a comfortable, absorbent bedding, such as hemp or corn litter.
Housing and development
To fit out your dwarf hamster's cage, you'll need the following:
- A litter absorbent bedding, such as hemp or corn litter, spread on the cage floor to a thickness of at least 5 centimetres.
- A wheel adapted to your hamster's size to give it plenty of exercise. Make sure you choose a wheel to avoid accidents.
- From tunnels and caches to allow your hamster to rest and play. You can use plastic tubes, upturned clay pots or cardboard boxes.
- From toys to stimulate your hamster's intelligence, such as ladders, swings or bridges.
- A bottle for water and a canteen which you attach to the cage to prevent spillage.
Feeding your dwarf hamster
The dwarf hamster's diet should consist mainly of seeds specially designed for rodents, supplemented by fresh vegetables and occasional proteins (insects, eggs, etc.). Be careful not to give too much sweet fruit, which can cause digestive problems and promote diabetes.
Pellets form the basis of a dwarf hamster's diet. They are specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs, and contain cereals, animal proteins, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. You can feed your hamster about a teaspoon a day.
Fruits and vegetables
Dwarf hamsters also appreciate fresh fruit and vegetables, which you can feed them in small quantities (around a teaspoon a day) to supplement their pellets. Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce or kale are particularly popular. Fruit should be given sparingly, as it is rich in sugar and can cause health problems if eaten in excess.
From time to time, you can offer your pet hamster treats such as pieces of walnut, sunflower seeds or carrot sticks. Be careful not to overdo it, though, as treats are usually high in fat and calories.
Always provide your dwarf hamster with a fresh, clean water source. Fill the bottle daily and clean it regularly to prevent the formation of bacteria.
Dwarf hamster care and maintenance
To ensure the well-being and health of your dwarf hamster, give it regular care and keep its habitat clean and safe. Here are a few tips for caring for your little companion on a daily basis.
The cleanliness of the cage
Clean your dwarf hamster's cage at least once a week to prevent the build-up of ammonia and bacteria. Remove soiled litter and replace it with clean litter. Clean cage accessories such as tunnels, toys and bowls with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse and dry thoroughly before returning them to the cage.
Learn to handle your dwarf hamster gently and carefully to avoid causing it stress or injury. At first, let him get used to your presence by moving your hand towards him slowly and speaking softly to him. When he seems comfortable with you, you can try holding him in your hand, gently supporting him under his body. Avoid grabbing him by the tail or squeezing him too hard.
Socialization and behavior
Dwarf hamsters are rather nocturnal and solitary animals. They like to explore their environment and can be quite active at night, which may disturb some people. On the other hand, they are generally docile and not very aggressive towards humans, provided they are handled with care and respect.
Make sure you respect the dwarf hamster's natural rhythms, and don't try to force it to come out of hiding or play if it doesn't want to. Interactions should be progressive and gentle, so that the animal feels confident and agrees to communicate with its owner.
By following these tips, you'll be able to provide your dwarf hamster with a suitable environment and the care it needs to lead a happy, fulfilling life. With a little patience and attention, your little furry companion will bring you much joy and affection.
The reproduction of dwarf hamsters
The reproduction dwarf hamsters is a fascinating process and can be a rewarding experience for pet lovers. However, it's essential to understand the specific needs of each species in terms of mating and newborn care.
The reproductive cycle of dwarf hamsters
The reproductive cycle of dwarf hamsters varies according to species. The Russian hamsters have a reproductive cycle of around 18 to 20 days, while the Roborovski hamsters and Campbell have a cycle of 24 to 30 days. The females go into heat approximately every 4 days and are receptive to mating for a short period of a few hours.
Mating and gestation
To promote dwarf hamster mating, place the male and female female in a neutral cage and let them interact under supervision. If mating is successful, the female will give birth to a litter of 4 to 12 young after a gestation period of 18 to 22 days, depending on the species. During this period, provide the female with a power supply balanced and rich in proteins to ensure the health of the children.
After the cubs are born, the mother will look after them by breast-feeding and keeping them warm. It's crucial not to disturb the mother and newborns for the first few weeks, as this may cause stress that results in the pups being abandoned or cannibalized. After 3 to 4 weeks, young dwarf hamsters start to feed on solids and can be weaned. At this stage, separate them from the mother and place them in cages according to their sex, to avoid unwanted mating.
Health and disease prevention in dwarf hamsters
Like all living beings, the dwarf hamster requires special attention in terms of health. Here are some key points to watch out for:
A dwarf hamster in overweight can develop health problems such as diabetes or joint problems. It is therefore essential to regularly control his weight and to make sure that he does not eat too many sweet treats.
Hamsters have incisors that grow continuously. It is therefore necessary to provide them with something to gnaw on (branches, special wood) to prevent their teeth from becoming too long and causing dental problems.
Signs of illness
Here are some signs that your pet hamster may be ill:
- Loss of weight or appetite
- Runny eyes or nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Apathy or unusual behavior
- Dull or disheveled coat
If you observe any of these signs, promptly consult a veterinarian specializing in pets.
To prevent disease in dwarf hamsters, follow these tips:
- Maintain a rigorous cleanliness of the cage and its accessories
- Provide a balanced diet adapted to the species
- Avoid draughts and extreme temperatures
- Handle your hamster with care and wash your hands before and after each contact
- Make sure your hamster gets enough exercise and mental stimulation