Other name(s): Winter White Russian Hamster; Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster;Siberian Hamster; Djungarian Hamster; Dzhungarian Hamster; Hairy Footed Hamster; Furry Footed Hamster
Scientific name: Phodopus sungorus
The Siberian Dwarf Hamster is also well-known as the Winter White Dwarf Hamster because of their unusual ability to change from a dark to white coat in the winter. Sweet-natured, the Siberian is often preferred over other breeds because of a low tendency to nip. However, this is an agile, quick-moving, and energetic hamster that may be difficult to catch and hold. Because of this, they may not be the ideal breed for households with children. In addition, the Siberian Dwarf Hamster may be more likely to trigger allergies in those with sensitivities.
Though it may be possible to find Siberian Dwarf Hamsters in pet stores, their similarity to the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster means they are often misidentified and interbred with Campbell’s. If you have your heart set on a Siberian, your best bet is to find a reputable breeder who can ensure you’re getting the real deal.
The Siberian Dwarf Hamster still exists in the wilds of southern and western Siberia and eastern Kazakhstan. The Siberian’s color-change adaptation developed to camouflage them for the long, snowy winters.
Appearance / health:
The Siberian Dwarf Hamster is a small hamster that matures to a length of 3 to 4 inches long. They have a rounded, oval body with short legs, a short tail, and a head that blends into the body. The heads is broad and short with a blunt nose, wide-set eyes, and small rounded ears. Hamsters have large, expandable cheek pouches which will become more or less visible based on how full they’ve been stuffed with food.
The Siberian’s body is covered in short, thick fur. The Siberian Dwarf Hamster is perhaps best known for their seasonal color-change ability. While the change is less common in the domestic variety, wild Siberians have an ashen-grey to brown coat, with a white belly and a dark dorsal stripe down the back. During the winter, their coat may change completely to white. Domestic Siberians can also be pearl, sapphire, and sapphire pearl, and may not experience any color change or less pronounced color change.
The Siberian Dwarf Hamster and the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster are very similar in appearance and are often mistaken for one another. The Siberian’s eyes are larger and the ears are smaller.
All hamsters are prone to certain illnesses including impacted cheek pouches, over-grown teeth, respiratory infections (often from too much moisture, drafts, or very high temperatures), “wet tail” (diarrhea caused by stress), and indigestion related to food. The Siberian Dwarf Hamster has an average lifespan of 1 to 2.5 years.
Behavior / temperament:
The Siberian Dwarf Hamster is energetic and good-natured. Unlike many breeds, Siberian Dwarf Hamsters are often social with other hamsters, and when raised together or introduced young, can be kept in pairs or groups of their own kind. They are a curious and energetic hamster who should be given plenty of options and opportunities to exercise and explore. They are said to be sweeter and less prone to biting than their cousin, the Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster, but may spend more time sleeping and less time outside of their hideout.
Hamsters, including Siberian’s, are nocturnal and will be most active in the evenings. They may venture out occasionally during the day for food or some brief exercise. When disturbed during the day, they may be more prone to bite and you should never reach into a sleeping hamster’s house. They like to run, climb, and gnaw and should be given appropriate ways to do so. Hamsters have poor eye sight so care should be taken if they are allowed to explore areas they could fall from.
Your Siberian Dwarf Hamster’s cage will be the most important investment you make for your new pet, and many commercial cages are much too small for an adult hamster. Recommended floor space is at least 360 square inches and bigger is always better. Popular cages include 20-gallon long glass tanks, wire cages, and modular cages. For dwarf hamsters, wire cages should have a gap between the bars of no more than 0.3cm. On their own, modular cages are usually much too small but are designed to be expanded via stacking and tubes. Though modular cages look bright and fun, they can be difficult to clean and may have ventilation problems. Cages with external or linking tubes are not recommended in households with cats or other animals that might knock structures loose.
The second most important choice for your new hamster’s home is bedding. Aspen shavings and paper-based beddings are ideal. Pine and cedar shavings can irritate a hamster’s sensitive respiratory tract and should never be used. Hamsters like to dig, so bedding should be a minimum of 3 inches deep. If you notice your hamster is particularly fond of burrowing, more is better!
A wheel is an essential addition to your hamster’s cage. Hamsters can run as much as 5 miles in a night, so choosing a safe and appropriate wheel is essential. The wheel should have a solid running surface – bars and mesh can cause serious problems with a hamster’s feet, including a painful condition called Bumble Foot. In addition, to prevent back injury the wheel needs to be large enough that your hamster can run with its back straight.
A wide variety of toys and tubes can be used in your hamster’s cage and many can double as a much-needed chewing surface. Your hamster should also be provided with at least one hideout/house and the occasional sand bath. The cage should also include a water bottle and a food dish.
There are many commercial foods available to provide a well-balanced diet for your hamster. They come in the form of pellets, lab blocks, and seed mixes. While hamsters probably enjoy seed mixes the most, many may be high in fat and low in protein. Choosing a food with a good mix of both pellets and seed, or mixing your own from two different foods, is the best way to ensure your hamster is getting everything it needs. Many hamster owners keep a dish of pellets or lab blocks and then scatter some seed mix throughout the cage to encourage a hamster’s natural foraging behavior.
In addition to the dry food mixes, hamsters should be given small portions of fruits and vegetables. Hamsters like to hoard their food so only as much fresh food as they will eat in a day should be offered to avoid hidden rotting food.
A variety of edible chews are available to help wear down your hamster’s teeth. In addition, hard dog biscuits, a small amount of uncooked pasta, and even edible dog chews are popular. Other treats should be given sparingly, and those high in sugar should probably be avoided.
good beginner pets, distinctive personalities, Friendly little guys, fun hamster, social hamster
annoying noises, nippy, frequent cage cleanings, escape artists, opposite gender, nocturnal creatures
pelleted diet, heat stroke, nocturnal, sand baths, territorial species
Friendly, small and easy to handle
My siberian dwarf hamster is very friendly and loves to be handled. She will appear every time the door of her cage opens. She uses her wheel very often and loves treats. I would recommend this hamster if you are looking for a smaller breed that is still enjoyable to have for company..
From jstgeorges Feb 12 2019 1:39AM
She LOVES her Running Wheel
A running wheel is the most practical way to ensure your furry little friend is getting enough exercise. Just simply place the running wheel in their cage and let them discover the fun! My hamster instantly began to enjoy her running wheel and I very often find her on it throughout the night. SO SIMPLE..
From jstgeorges 520 days ago
Pepper; Cute But Unpleasant
Pepper, my Siberian Dwarf Hamster, was one of the first real pets I owned, and she was a great one for a good portion of when I had owned her. She was timid, but she was particularly sweet and liked to be held, along with roaming around in her ball. She also liked doing tricks, like climbing the rungs of the cage in order to scale to the top to grab sunflower seeds, a personal favorite of hers. However, some bad experiences with younger children getting their hands on her had caused her mental distress, and she was never the same after that.
To summarize what had happened, a small child of around seven years old had come into our home, and while holding her, they had dropped her a number of times. Now, when hamster’s go through a lot of stress, they can forever be changed, getting mean and doing unfavorable behaviors. So, to sum it up, be very careful in regards to who is allowed to hold them, and carefully watch them, as to make sure to handle the small animals very carefully.
In terms of care, Siberian Dwarf Hamsters are not too difficult to care for. Bag mixes of various different nuts and dried fruits constitute as their main feed, along with the occasional vegetable in the bowl to keep them healthy. A drip bottle positioned for ease of access will do for water. Bedding is the standard for any rodent type pet, and with that, a few toys and hiding / sleeping places will keep your hamster happy. Tubes throughout the cage can also be very entertaining for both you and the hamster, so having those is a plus. Finally, a rolling ball for them to explore the rest of your home will keep you and the hamster happy, so long as precautions are made to make sure they experience no stress.
Pepper, for the time before the incident, was a great pet, but after the incident, the consistent nipping, escaping, and disinterest in her ball had made her an unfavorable pet. Make sure if you are getting one of these breeds, to always watch them with others, as they may end up forever sour..
From ShadeFox Apr 8 2016 12:45AM