Types of Hamsters
Author: Nadia VellaSource: www.hamster-club.com
There are 5 types of hamsters. These are: the Syrian Hamster, Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamster, Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster, Roborovksi Hamster and the Chinese Hamster.
The Syrian Hamster lives alone in the wild and it feels much happier when it’s alone in captivity too. Syrian Hamsters can be aggressive with each other and can seriously hurt each other. Never keep Syrian Hamsters in a pair or a group. Syrian Hamsters are the most commonly found in pet stores.
The Syrian Hamster is sometimes referred to as the 'Golden Hamster' due to its original wild golden colouring although today there are many different colour and coat mutations. It is also sometimes referred to as the 'Standard Hamster' or as the 'Fancy Hamster'. A Long Haired Syrian Hamster is sometimes also referred to as the 'Teddy Bear Hamster'. A female Syrian Hamster is larger than a male Syrian Hamster.
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster
The Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster is also known as the Djungarian Dwarf Hamster. It originates from the steppes of Northern Kazakhstan and Siberia. When kept outdoors it gets a white winter coat. This is a natural protective colour during a period when its original habitat is covered in snow. Hamsters are most comfortable at temperatures between 65 ° F / 18° C and 80°F / 26°C and should always be housed indoors.
Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamster
Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamsters are closely related to Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters. Because of its thicker coat, the Campbell’s appears somewhat larger than Dwarf Russian Hamster, but in fact it's not.
Campbell's Hamsters tend to become fatter in captivity than the Russian Hamsters. The Campbell’s coat is yellow-brownish with a thin, sharply lined dorsal stripe. Its coat turns slightly greyer in winter. Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamsters can live in groups of the same gender if brought together from a young age. Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamsters are around 8-11cm long.
The Roborovski Hamster is also a short-tailed Dwarf Hamster, but its yellow-brown colouring and striking whiskers lend it a totally different appearance to the other two short-tailed species of Dwarf Hamsters.
The Roborovski Hamster is the smallest Dwarf Hamster. Its body measures only 4-5.5cm in length and its tail is barely visible. Its back is a brownish-yellow with grey under colouring. Sometimes the yellow on its back appears somewhat rusty in colour. Roborovski Hamsters don’t have dorsal stripes. Roborovski Hamsters can live in groups of the same gender if brought together from a young age. Roborovski Hamsters may live up to 3 years but breed very few young.
The Chinese Hamster is a long-tailed Dwarf Hamster and not closely related to the other Dwarf Hamsters. The Chinese Hamster’s coat is not as woolly as that of the other species. Its fur lies close and dark-brown dorsal stripe on its back is not always clearly visible and its belly is light grey. The Chinese Hamster has dark ears, lightly edged. The male has a strikingly large scrotum.
Chinese Hamsters have a quiet temperament and are easily handled even though at first they might be a bit aggressive, but with patience and time they get tamed too. The average life span of a Chinese Hamster is from 1.5 to 2 years. On average the Chinese Hamster is 10-12cm long and the male is larger than the female.
PLEASE NOTE: Even though most Dwarf Hamsters accept to live with other hamsters of the same type and gender (if brought together from a young age); there are exceptions, thus if you plan to get more than one hamster, make sure that you have a spare cage handy, just in case they fight and you would need to separate them forever.