Dwarf Hamsters – Four Species

There are four dwarf hamster species kept as pets. These animals are distinct from the different breeds of Syrian hamsters that are also kept as pets.

Animals that are given the name black bear hamster, Teddy bear hamster, long-haired hamster, hairless hamster, or panda bear hamster are all types of Syrian hamsters. The scientific name for these animals is Mesocricetus auratus.

The dwarf hamster species come from to separate genera. The first genus is Cricetulus and the second genus is Phodopus.

In the genus Cricetulus, we find this species Cricetulus Barabensis Griseus, often called the Chinese hamster or the Chinese dwarf hamster. The natural coloring of this hamster is called agouti. Close to the skin, the hairs are slate gray. On the animals belly, the tip of the hairs are off-white. On its back, the hairs fade from slate gray to brown, with a chestnut tinge.

In the second genus, Phodopus, there are three dwarf hamster species kept as pets: Phodopus campbelli, Phodopus sungorus, andPhodopus Roborovskii. Each of these species is distinct, although Phodopus campbelli and Phodopus sungorus are often confused.

Phodopus Roborovskii is the smallest of all the hamsters, measuring in at just about 5 cm (2 inches) in length. These animals have been given the nicknames Robos, Robbys, Robbies, and Rovsky’s. One thing is for certain: these critters are the speed demons of the hamster world. Sometimes they move in quick, jerky movements, and sometimes they just seem to fly.

Because of their small size, you can definitely rule out housing them in a cage. They could probably fit through the bars any number of ways. Again, an aquarium would be the best house you can buy for them. And for this guy, the statement that “there’s no such thing as too big a home” holds true more than ever. They need lots of space.

Although Phodopus campbelli and Phodopus sungorus are often confused for one another, in nature these two species never meet. Their natural habitats do not overlap.

Phodopus sungorus can be properly called the winter white hamster. This is because if the cycle of daylight is short enough, it will change its coat to white to blend in with the snow. In captivity, however, where artificial lights are apt to maintain constant cycles year-round, this pelage change is unlikely to happen.

Phodopus campbelli, on the other hand, will not change colors during the winter. It is preferable to keep females rather than males, because the males can run three times faster than the females. If you want to keep more than one, you need to put them together while they are young.

Males of this species are larger than females. And when viewed from above, the female’s rump is rounder than the male’s. The fur of this dwarf hamster is thick and wooly. Even their feet are furry.

Unfortunately, these two animals are interchangeably called Russian dwarf hamsters and Djungarian dwarf hamsters, making it impossible to distinguish between the two species. Therefore, it is recommended that you use their scientific names to refer to them.

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