Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are captivating creatures that call the steppes of eastern and central Asia home. These tiny creatures are known for their extensive burrows, which can reach up to three feet underground. Their burrows are lined with scavenged wool and grasses, providing a cozy and safe habitat. However, life is not always easy for these hamsters, as they face natural predators such as owls, foxes, falcons, and weasels.
Campbell’s Hamster Characteristics
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters have a relatively short lifespan of 18-24 months when raised in captivity. Surprisingly, they become sexually mature at just 5 weeks old. Their litters typically consist of 4-6 pups, born after an 18-21 day gestation period. Interestingly, the male Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster actively participates in the birth and rearing of the young, unlike other hamster species.
The male Syrian hamster, on the other hand, often assists the female during the birthing process, ensuring the safety and cleanliness of the newborns. He may even guard the nest while the female is away. This behavior showcases the unique parenting dynamics of different hamster species.
Unlike their Syrian counterparts, Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are social creatures and can be kept in colonies. When introduced at a young age, ideally before 8 weeks, they tend to live harmoniously in same-sex or mixed-sex groups. However, caution must be exercised as hamsters are prolific breeders. It’s worth noting that these hamsters are most active at dusk and dawn, as they are crepuscular animals.
Hamsters, including Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters, are rodents that require regular gnawing to prevent their incisors from overgrowing. Some pet owners offer dog biscuits to assist with this natural need. However, wooden chew toys should be used with care to avoid hamster injuries from splintering.
Campbell’s Hamster Diet
In the wild, Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters have a diverse diet consisting of grains, seeds, and vegetables. However, replicating this diet in captivity can be challenging for pet owners. Certain foods commonly consumed by other rodents are not suitable for Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters. It is crucial to avoid feeding them almonds, celery, unwashed produce, garlic (which is highly poisonous to hamsters), kidney beans, onion, potato tops, rhubarb, tomato, chocolate, cat food, and raisins (which can get lodged in their cheek pouches).
Advice for Pet Owners of Campbell’s Hamsters
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters have poor eyesight and depth perception. As they grow older, cataracts become a common issue for them. To compensate for their visual limitations, these hamsters possess multiple scent glands located on their face, behind their ears, on their cheek pouches, and near their rectum and genitals.
Many pet owners have observed their hamsters grooming themselves when in unfamiliar locations. This grooming behavior helps them spread their scent and create a trail, allowing them to find their way back to their burrow. Additionally, hamsters may use scent trails to revisit locations with abundant food. These scent trails can last up to eight days.
Apart from diabetes, hamsters can develop tumors, both benign and malignant, as well as glaucoma. Benign and malignant tumors can be surgically removed, but there is no effective treatment for glaucoma as the eye will eventually prolapse.
Colors and Markings of Campbell’s Hamsters
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are born with two coat types: satin and rex. The satin coat gives the fur a wet or greasy appearance, enhancing its color and fluffiness. The rex coat, in contrast, is sleek, smooth, and glossy, and is most commonly found in these hamsters.
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters come in three primary colors: agouti (the wild color), argente (cinnamon or sandy), and albino (white). It’s important to note that not all white hamsters with red/pink eyes are albino. Some may have heavy mottling or platinum tinges, making them appear white. Additionally, when two mottled hamsters are bred, approximately 25% of the litter will be anopthalmic whites, lacking eyes and teeth. Unfortunately, these pups rarely live past two months.
There are also different marking types, including mottling (banded, spotted, or collared, if the mottling is confined to the neck) and platinum (sometimes called pearl). Through interbreeding, new colors such as blue, blue fawn, lilac fawn, and black have arisen. However, it’s worth noting that the color or markings of a hamster do not indicate personality differences. Instead, personality traits can be more accurately predicted by examining the hamster’s bloodline and any neurological diseases displayed by its ancestors.
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