The Chinese Dwarf Hamster is not technically a Dwarf Hamsters as they are part of the genus Cricetulus, not “Dwarf” Phodopus. Their scientific name is ‘Cricetus Griseus‘ and they originate from Mongolia and Northern China. They are commonly known as being Dwarf Hamsters because of their small size.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Cricetidae
- Subfamily: Cricetinae
- Genus: Cricetulus
- Species: C. griseus
- Binomial name: Cricetulus griseus
These animals grow to between 82 and 127 mm in body length (tail length 20–33 mm) and weigh 1.7 grams at birth, then as they get older can weigh 30–45 grams. They live two to three years on average. A Chinese hamster’s body proportions, compared with those of other hamsters, appear “long and thin” and they have (for a hamster) a relatively long tail.
Males have a relatively large scrotum, therefore females were generally kept as pets and males used solely for breeding and research purposes, until scientists started using other rodents, albino mice and rats. Chinese hamsters are not related to the social “dwarf” hamsters. The term “dwarf” is often used to refer solely to animals in the genus Phodopus.
The Chinese Hamster is a species of hamster, scientific name Cricetulus griseus, which originate in the deserts of northern China and Mongolia. Chinese hamsters grow to between 7.5 and 9 centimetres in length and as adults can weight 50 – 75 grams. Chinese Hamsters live two to three years on average.
In its natural habitat the Chinese Hamster lives in burrows which it excavates itself. Some burrows have a single entrance hole while others have two or even three entrances.
The complex burrows with multi-entrances are most likely to be the domain of experienced, mature animal and it is probably younger individuals that are responsible for the simpler burrows.
The first hamsters were discovered in Syria, though they also live in Greece, Romania, Belgium and northern China. In the wild, they like to live in warm, dry areas, like steppes, sand dunes and the edges of deserts.
Chinese Hamster Care Sheet
Chinese hamsters should be fed a good quality rodent mix that has a variety of seeds and grains with rodent block mixed in. Fruits and vegetables will provide variety in their diets and should be fed as treats. Apples, carrots, broccoli, yams, grapes, pears and hay may be fed as treats.
The best housing for a Chinese hamster is a glass or plastic aquarium. Substrates that may be used include aspen shavings, pine shavings or CareFresh pet bedding. The cage should be cleaned out weekly. A house should be supplied for the hamster to sleep in.
The Chinese dwarf hamsters is known for their curious, but timid, personalities. They require slow and consistent handling to become comfortable around humans, but once tamed enjoys climbing on and exploring their owners.
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Also more: Djungarian hamster