Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
The scientific name for Chinese dwarf hamsters is Cricetus Griseus. It is not uncommon for this hamster to be mistaken for a mouse. Many people who aren’t very familiar with dwarf hamsters make this mistake, primarily because this is the only dwarf hamster with a tail.
If you hear people talk about striped hamsters or Chinese striped, they’re referring to Chinese dwarf hamsters. And although this website is all about dwarf hamsters and dwarf hamster care, one thing that may surprise you is that Chinese dwarf hamsters aren’t technically dwarf hamsters! But that’s only technically. These hamsters are so incredibly small that they’ve become accepted members of the dwarf hamster family and no longer can you discuss dwarf hamsters without including Chinese dwarf hamsters.
Chinese dwarf hamsters are very slender. As adults, they’ll grow no larger than four inches. Chinese dwarf hamsters are so small that it’s important to make sure the hamster home is secure enough so they don’t escape and get hurt.
Before you buy a cage for your Chinese hamster, consider housing him in an aquarium. This is a much safer choice. You won’t have to worry about this nocturnal animal making a “break out” while you’re asleep some night.
The coloring of the Chinese hamster is very interesting. Their hairs are banded with both light and dark colors. They have a black line that runs along their spine and ivory bellies. The other color pattern that Chinese dwarf hamsters have is called the Dominant Spot. This is a white coat with patches or spots of a color. They are truly beautiful animals.
Chinese hamsters have a hairless tail which is about an inch long. Because of their tail, you may also hear people refer to this species as a rat-like or a mouse-like hamster.
And even though it’s a nocturnal creature, you’ll discover the Chinese hamster stirs around somewhat during the day. You may experience a few problems socializing your new friend. He’s a bit timid by nature, although he is normally a very good-natured fellow. Some hamsters have the bad habit of nipping, but you can be assured this isn’t a problem with the Chinese hamster.
The tiny size and swiftness translate into a pet that’s quick. And this means they may become quite a little difficult to handle – especially for children. So keep this in mind if the hamster is destined to be a children’s pet.
Despite their small size, these guys need lots of room to roam. They’re active and need the space to help prevent boredom.
And as sweet as they may be to you, if you’re housing these guys in an aquarium with other hamsters, you may run into “roommate” problems. As these hamsters age, they may become aggressive with the others living with them (especially the females!). You may even discover that you’ll have to separate these from the others.
You may want to consider housing the Chinese hamster separate from the others. While some owners have been known to keep everyone happy in the same “house,” you really can’t always count on this happening!
You’d care for this hamster just like you would any other. A wire cage may not be the best choice of housing. And you really want to avoid the cedar or pine wood shavings that you’d normally associate with a hamster’s cage. And of course it’s important to keep things clean and perform the necessary hamster home maintenance.
If you have your mind and heart set on getting a Chinese hamster, be prepared to hunt for one. These guys aren’t that common and can be difficult to find. In fact, in California, you actually need a permit in order to own one. So you may want to check with your local pet store or vet to discover any restrictions that may be placed on owning one of these wonderful animals.