Domesticated Hamster Species

by Hamster Care

Domesticated hamster species

While each hamster species may be known for certain characteristic traits, it is important to bear in mind that every hamster is a unique individual which may or may not display behaviour consistent with that of their species. It is best to use this page to get a general idea of the types of hamsters available, and then spend time getting to know a hamster to find the perfect fit for you and your family.

Syrian hamster

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Syrian hamsters are the most popular species of hamsters around the world. They are also known as Golden hamsters and Teddy hamsters. Syrian hamsters generally make good pets and are suited for beginners and families with children.

However, while Syrian hamsters are social with people, they do not tolerate the presence of their fellow hamsters. Please be aware that from (at the very latest) 10 weeks of age, Syrian hamsters should be kept alone. If you have more than one hamster, please house them separately at all times, as they are very territorial and may fight to the point of killing each other.

Please also note that Syrian hamsters are crepuscular and need their rest during the day, so it is best to only play with them in the evenings or at night.

Campbellโ€™s dwarf hamster

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Campbellโ€™s dwarf hamsters are less territorial than other hamster species and can be housed in same-sex pairs, provided that they are siblings and have never been apart for more than 1 or 2 hours from birth. Please note that a separate, back up hamster house should still be prepared as they tend to develop territorial behaviour as they age.

On the flipside, Campbell dwarf hamsters are less social with humans, and unfortunately have a reputation for biting when nervous. This should not deter you from choosing a Campbellโ€™s dwarf hamster as a pet; just ensure that they are handled under supervision (children may opt to start with leather gloves until they are more familiar with handling the hamsters), and they should be every bit as rewarding a companion as the other hamster species.

Most dwarf hamsters available or bred in Singapore are hybrids, and have a mix of Campbell and Winter White dwarf hamster genes.

Winter White/Djungarian dwarf hamster

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Winter White dwarf hamsters, also known as Djungarian dwarf hamsters or the Siberian hamster, are similar to the Campbellโ€™s dwarf hamsters in terms of size, lifespan, daytime bursts of activity. They can also be kept in same-sex pairs or groups (provided they are from the same litter). Please note that if you do manage to harmoniously house them in a single cage, the cage would, consequently, have to be twice the recommended size. In addition, a separate, back up hamster house should always be kept ready as they tend to develop territorial behaviour as they age.

Djungarian dwarf hamsters are sweet and friendly with humans. However, they are more agile and energetic than their Campbell cousins, so handle them in their cage as much as possible; they have a reputation for leaping from unsuspecting hands and disappearing under furniture in the blink of an eye!

Roborovski dwarf hamster

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Roborovski dwarf hamsters are simultaneously the tiniest and also the longest-lived of the 5 pet hamster species! Roborovski dwarf hamsters have a similar temperament to Winter White dwarf hamsters. They are relatively social with both their litter mates and their human buddies. Bear in mind that even if you do manage to harmoniously house your hamsters in a single cage, the cage must be twice the recommended size for a single hamster. Additionally, a separate, back up hamster cage should always be kept ready as they tend to develop territorial behaviour as they age.

It is important to note that these little balls of frenetic energy are notorious escape artists, and hence are more suitable for observation than handling. Even experts have trouble keeping up with their lightning reflexes! Roborovski dwarf hamsters are very shy creatures, so taming takes longer than with other species. Some will never be entirely tamed in their lifetime. Roborovski dwarf hamsters are, therefore, not recommended for first time hamster owners.

Chinese hamster

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The โ€œsupermodelโ€ of the hamster clan, Chinese hamsters are known for their signature long and slender bodies. Although nervous and nippy at first, once tamed, Chinese hamsters can be very social and even affectionate with humans, and are also famous for clinging to their ownerโ€™s fingers with their little paws, like harvest mice on stalks of corn!

Although Chinese hamsters resemble mice at first glance, like other species of hamsters, they are strictly solitary. Please house them individually at all times.

Chinese hamsters are crepuscular and may display short bursts of activity during the day. While this is entirely normal, please keep play time short and limited during the day, as it is their important rest and recovery time. As they have naturally shorter lives than other hamster species, as much rest as possible is recommended to ensure they live out their maximum lifespan happily and healthily.

If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!

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By HamsterCareTip.Com

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