Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Russian Dwarf Hamsters! Whether you’re a new hamster owner or simply looking to expand your knowledge, we’ve got you covered. From their origins to their behavior, we’ll answer all your burning questions about these adorable little creatures. So grab a pen and paper or bookmark this page for future reference!
What Are Russian Dwarf Hamsters?
Russian dwarf hamsters, belonging to the genus Phodopus, are a species of hamster native to China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation. There are two types of Russian Dwarf Hamsters: Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamster and Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster.
Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamster is the more popular type found in pet stores. They are easy to tame, friendly towards other hamsters, and can live together under certain circumstances. These hamsters are generally dark brown with a narrow stripe on their back and grey fur on their stomach.
Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamsters, also known as Djungarian hamsters, are very similar to Campbell’s. However, they have one distinguishing feature: they turn white in winter to blend in with the snow and hide from predators. While they share the same size, lifespan, and behavior as Campbell’s, Russian Winter Whites are rarer.
How Are Dwarf Hamsters Different from Syrian Hamsters?
Dwarf hamsters, including Russian Dwarfs, are smaller and easier to care for compared to Syrian hamsters (Gold Hamsters). Russian Dwarf Hamsters reach an average length of approximately 80mm, while Syrian hamsters can grow up to 140-180mm in length.
Unlike most hamster breeds, Russian Dwarfs can live together with a same-gender companion. They are also generally easier to look after, more affordable, and require less space than Syrian hamsters. However, it’s important to note that Dwarf hamsters may not be suitable for children under 7 years old and have a shorter lifespan compared to Syrian hamsters.
How to Handle a Russian Dwarf Hamster?
When handling a Russian Dwarf Hamster, always remember to scoop them up from underneath, similar to how you would scoop water with two hands. This method helps them get used to you and makes the taming process easier. Check out our video for a demonstration.
In the early weeks of owning a Russian Dwarf Hamster, it’s important to handle them regularly to build trust and help them overcome their natural fear of humans. Remember, you’re a giant to them, so be patient and gentle.
Are Russian Dwarf Hamsters Good Pets?
Absolutely! Russian Dwarf Hamsters, like all dwarf hamsters, make wonderful pets. They are easy to tame, care for, and are generally sociable with others if introduced properly. However, they may not be suitable for children aged 0-8, as they can easily get frightened and may resort to biting or nibbling.
How Long Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Live?
The lifespan of a Russian Dwarf Hamster is typically around 16-24 months, although this can vary between individuals.
Are Russian Dwarf Hamsters Nocturnal?
Yes, Russian Dwarf Hamsters are nocturnal creatures. They are most active at night, taking advantage of the sleeping periods of their primary predators. If you want to prevent disturbances during your sleep, consider moving their cage to another room only at night.
What Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Eat?
Russian Dwarf Hamsters have a varied diet. A good example of their food is a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, and muesli. They also enjoy fruits and vegetables as occasional treats. Make sure to check our care/diet section to find out which fruits and vegetables are safe for your hamster.
Can Russian Dwarfs Live Together?
Russian Dwarf Hamsters are sociable animals and can live together under certain conditions. While many prefer to live alone, some can coexist with a fellow hamster of the same gender, especially if they have grown up together from a young age. Females generally have a higher chance of living together peacefully compared to males, as males are more territorial.
However, it’s essential to provide plenty of space, separate food bowls, toys, and bedding to avoid conflicts. If you plan to keep a male and female together, be prepared for breeding and potentially separating them to avoid overpopulation.
What Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Like?
Russian Dwarf Hamsters love to play, run, and create nests to hide. Here are five things they absolutely love:
- Flying Saucer: This non-fixed wheel is slanted, making it easy for your hamster to use and run on. It’s a great way to keep them active.
- Wooden Accessories: Hamsters enjoy wooden toys, as they are affordable, great for their teeth, and provide mental stimulation. Opt for wooden houses, ladders, and bendable play toys over plastic ones.
- A Big Cage with Tubes: Provide your hamster with a spacious cage that has multiple floors and platforms. They enjoy exploring and climbing.
- “Chewies”: Hamsters’ teeth never stop growing, so chewies are essential to keep their teeth in check. These tasty chews also provide entertainment.
- An Exercise Ball: A fantastic tool to keep your hamster fit and healthy. Let them roam in an exercise ball and watch them have fun.
How Much Do Hamsters Cost?
The cost of a Russian Dwarf Hamster typically ranges from $10-30 or 10-20 GBP, depending on your location and the breeder.
Can Russian Dwarfs Swim?
Yes, Russian Dwarf Hamsters can swim for short periods of time, using a doggy paddle motion with their front and back legs. However, it’s important not to let them swim for too long to prevent exhaustion.
Should You Wash Your Hamster?
No, it’s not recommended to wash your Russian Dwarf Hamster. They are prone to hypothermia when exposed to water, as their fur serves as insulation. Instead, provide them with a sand bath using chinchilla sand. This helps keep them clean and stimulates their natural grooming behavior.
What Should You Do if Your Russian Dwarf Hamster Shows Unusual Behavior?
If your hamster is shaking, flipping over, not opening its eyes, or has visible lumps, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. These behaviors can indicate various issues, and it’s important not to make assumptions without professional advice.
Regular shaking and flipping over could be due to swallowing something too large or may signify an internal problem. Itching and scratching are normal, but if you notice cuts or marks, check for dust in the bedding, change the bedding material to something non-irritating, and ensure the cage is not exposed to direct sunlight.
We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the world of Russian Dwarf Hamsters. If you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment, and we’ll be happy to assist you. For more information, check out our articles on the best cages, preventing bar-biting, top accessories, and normal versus problem behavior of dwarf hamsters. Remember, these adorable little creatures make fantastic pets, so enjoy your journey with them!