Siberian Dwarf Hamster
The Siberian dwarf hamster, also known as the winter white dwarf hamster, is originally from.. Yup, you guessed it, Siberia. Of course this hamster is also found today in other countries including Kazakhstan, China, and areas of Russia outside of Siberia. The Siberian dwarf is only one of the three species of Russian dwarf hamsters, the other two being the Campbell’s dwarf hamster and the Roborovski dwarf hamster. The Roborovski is the species that stands out because they are clearly different, being about half the size of the Siberian dwarf hamster. But when comparing the Siberian with the Campbell’s things aren’t quite as clear. In fact, for a long time the Siberian dwarf hamster was confused with the Campbell’s dwarf. This is because they are both the same size, they both look very similar, and they both behave similarly (they’re both social and friendly which is somewhat rare amongst hamsters). Don’t be fooled though, these are two clearly distinct species, the Siberian dwarfs being of the scientific classification of ‘Phodopus Sungorus’ and the Campbell’s being of the classification ‘Phodopus Campbelli.’
The Winter White
One of the really cool things, and also the most distinguishing thing, about the Siberian dwarf hamster is the coat. Their coats change color from dark grey into white during the winter. This is a survival feature to blend in with the snow during the winter in order to avoid predators. This is also the reason for their nickname “Winter White.” The way their bodies know to change color is pretty cool as well. The sun is out less during the winter time so when they’re getting less sun, their bodies recognize this and change their coats to white.
So you might be wondering where you can get your hands on such a cool hamster. Well unfortunately they aren’t as common as the Campbell’s dwarf hamster. You can still find them in pet stores though and they definitely make great pets.
Because Siberian dwarf hamsters are very social, when caring for them it’s ok to raise more than one of them together. They may be considered to be noisy in comparison to other hamsters but they are also very nice and tame. A few things to watch out for when raising one of these hamsters is to handle them very carefully since they are very small. A child could very easily grip one of these hamsters too hard! Also they have very poor eyesight (similarly to other dwarf hamsters) so you need to be careful they don’t crawl off high surfaces.
Other care is the same as that of other dwarf hamsters. A few quick tips: You need to clean their home weekly. Don’t use pine as a substrate as this could be harmful. A hamster wheel is a must. Also when feeding, hamster pellets are great but you’ll also want to supplement this with fresh foods and of course fresh water must always be available. If you own or are planning on adopting a Siberian dwarf hamster, sign up for my free mini course below and you’ll learn the tips, techniques, and secrets to raising a happy, healthy dwarf hamster!