The Djungarian hamster, also known as the Dzungarian hamster, striped dwarf hamster, Siberian hamster, Siberian dwarf hamster or Russian winter white dwarf hamster, is one of three species of hamster in the genus Phodopus. It is ball-shaped and typically half the size of the Syrian hamster, so is called a dwarf hamster along with all Phodopus species.
Features of the Djungarian hamster include a typically thick, dark grey dorsal stripe and furry feet. As winter approaches and the days shorten, the Djungarian hamster’s dark fur is almost entirely replaced with white fur. In captivity, this does not always happen. In the wild, they originate from Dzungaria, the wheat fields of Kazakhstan, the meadows of Mongolia, Siberia, and the birch stands of Manchuria.
Size, Weight, and Color
On an average, a Djungarian hamster is 3-5 inches long. The male is usually larger than the female. This hamster is about half the size of a Syrian hamster. It may weigh less in winter and more in summer.
The weight of a male hamster can be 19 grams (0.67 oz) to 45 grams (1.6 oz), while that of a female can be from 19 grams (0.67 oz) to 36 grams (1.3 oz).
The color of the coat can be light or dark gray, sapphire or golden yellow or rust orange (Sunfire Djungarian hamster with bright orange coloration), sapphire pearl, or normal pearl. A dark, dorsal stripe runs all over the body. Those in captivity exhibit greater variance in their coats than those found in the wild. Pet hamsters can be slightly heavier too.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Cricetidae
- Subfamily: Cricetinae
- Genus: Phodopus
- Species: P. sungorus
- Binomial name: Phodopus sungorus
- Lifespan: 12 months
- Mass: 30 g (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
- Gestation period: 21 days Encyclopedia of Life
- Scientific name: Phodopus sungorus
- Length: 8 cm
Djungarian hamsters reproduce at a faster rate than Syrian hamsters. Phodopus species are able to become pregnant again on the same day that they have given birth. This can all happen within a 36-day period. This is done as a survival strategy to produce large numbers of offspring in a short period of time. This places tremendous demands on the mother.
Djungarian hamster care
A well-balanced dwarf hamster diet consists of: High-quality hamster lab blocks and limited amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits and Timothy hay. Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
A well-balanced dry hamster food mix should be fed to them. It contains all the essential nutrients. As the hamsters are more active at night, you should also feed them at night.
Behavior and Temperament
Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters are nocturnal but may be active for short times during the day too. They make good pets and are generally quite good-natured. Because they are small and quick they can be a challenge to handle, especially for kids.
The average lifespan of the Djungarian hamster is one to three years in captivity, though they can live longer. In the wild, they are known to live as little as one year.
- Winter White Hamsters can change their coat to blend in with the snow in their wild native habitats to hide from predators. Domestic hamsters tend not to change their coats.
- Winter Whites are more likely to be active in the daytime compared to their close cousins the Campbell’s.
- They have the Latin name of ‘Phodopus Sungorus’.
Also more: Golden hamster