Winter White Dwarf Hamsters get their name from their amazing ability to change the color of their fur for the winter months. They are also known as the Djungarian Hamster or the Siberian Hamster.
These dwarf hamsters are native to Asia. They are common as household pets in Asia as well as Europe and North America. Their native habitat is in regions where there is snowy terrain.
The Winter White hamsters have the fantastic ability to change their fur color. They sport a brownish coat during the summer months and a white coat during the winter months.
This ability to have white fur during the winter months helps them blend into the snow in their natural habitat. With this camouflage, they are better able to hide from predators. If you keep these hamsters as pets, they will likely not display this coat change.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Appearance
These hamsters are close relatives of the Cambell’s Dwarf hamster. Many people cross-breed the Winter White Dwarf hamsters with this close relative. This cross-breeding results in various colors of fur, including black, white, gray, and brown.
The Winter White hamsters are timider than their close relatives, the Campbell Dwarf hamster. However, with proper care and training, they make excellent pets.
The typical lifespan of these dwarf hamsters is 1.5- 2 years. This brief lifespan is one of the shortest lifespans of hamster pets. They have a small size as a dwarf hamster measuring two to four inches in length.
Weighing in at around 1 ounce, the Winter White Dwarf hamster weighs about the same amount as one slice of bread. This small size is about half the size of the common Syrian hamster.
Your new pet will have a smooth coat. Its body is shaped more like an oval than other hamster breeds. You will also notice its feet and legs will be covered with fur.
Winter White Dwarf Hamsters As Pets
If you are looking for a great breed of hamster to keep as a pet, the Winter White Hamster is a great choice. These rodents have a mild temperament, which makes them easy to tame. Although they can be quick, they are still easy for children and adults to handle.
As nocturnal creatures, the Winter Whites are mostly active in the evenings and at night. However, they do play and eat during the day as well.
Unlike the common Syrian hamster, the Winter Whites can live alone or with other cage mates. If they are cohabitating, it should be with the same gender winter white breed hamsters. They also do better when they begin this living arrangement as young hamsters.
Male Winter Whites also do better living together than females. They are less likely to fight with each other. If you see any signs of fighting, you should separate the hamsters immediately.
Housing a Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Due to their small size, it is best if you keep these rodents in plastic cages or aquariums to prevent them from slipping between the bars of a metal cage. The minimum size for a right house for your new pet is a 12 inch X 24-inch cage, or a 20-gallon aquarium.
You should cover the bottom of your cage with shredded paper, wood shavings, or a store-bought bag of hamster bedding. This soft bedding creates a comfortable place for your new friend to burrow down and sleep.
In its natural habitat, your Winter White Dwarf hamster would create burrows as deep as three feet. They would develop multiple entrances to this burrow. The small rodent would then stuff the r entrances with wool to keep warm for the winter.
With that in mind, your Winter White Dwarf hamster would love to have enough space and bedding to create burrows.
Your new hamster needs plenty of exercise and love to run around. A big cage is always preferred, especially if you are housing multiple Winter White Dwarf hamsters in one home.
Be sure that your new cage has plenty of stimulating toys and areas for your new friend. Keeping new toys in your hamster’s cage will help to prevent boredom. You can change the toys out regularly to keep your new pet curious.
These hamsters love to chew. Many pet stores sell wooden ladders and chew toys to help with this instinct. You may also throw in pieces of cardboard boxes or toilet paper tubes.
You do want to ensure that any household cardboard or wood you place in the cage does not contain any toxic chemicals. For example, make sure there is no price stickers or colored labeling on the box pieces.
You also want to provide your hamster with plenty of exercise. One favorite toy is the hamster wheel. This toy can attach to the cage and offers continuous running training for your new pet.
Another fun exercise option is the plastic hamster ball. You can place your pet inside of this ball while you clean the cage each week. It can roll around and explore it’s more abundant surroundings inside of the ball.
Feeding your Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Pet stores sell seed and grain mix hamster food as well as pellet food. Both of these are good options for your new pet. You can also feed your hamster a variety of fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables.
Some favorite treats for your new friend include spinach, carrots, and apples. You should stay away from citrus fruits, potatoes, and onions. These fresh foods can cause health problems with your new pet.
Your new pet Winter White Dwarf hamster has a small body. Make sure that you give your new pet small sizes of treats. What may seem small to us could feel huge to your new friend.
Be sure that your hamster gets plenty of fresh water. An attached hamster water bottle is the best option for ensuring that your pet always has clean water to drink. Just like humans, your hamster needs to stay hydrated for all that exercise!
Handling Your Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Winter White Dwarf hamsters can be tamed. If you want to handle and play with your new pet, you want to be sure to tame them soon after bringing them into your home. This breed of hamsters also tends to be a little timid at first.
You want to give your new friend a few days to get comfortable in its new home before trying to handle it. After a couple of days, you should begin gently talking to your hamster and reaching your hand inside the cage to change bedding or add food and water.
Once the hamster gets used to your voice and hand, you can begin to try and feed it a small seed or treat by hand. As your new pet gets comfortable climbing on your hand, you can slowly try lifting it on your palm. Don’t worry if it quickly jumps off.
Continue to try these steps until your new pet is comfortable with being moved around in your hand. Then you can gently cup your hamster in your hand and allow it to come out of the cage. Be sure to do this with a surface under you in case it slips from your hands.
In the case that your new pet nips your hand, do not overreact. Simply place it back in the cage gently. Later, return to the steps of only reaching your hand in the cage and hand feeding your new friend.
It may take several days or weeks to tame your new pet. Be aware that your new friend is also rather quick, so you want to be sure to handle it carefully outside of the cage.
Playing with your new pet an allowing it to climb from hand to hand is an excellent way to bond. Your hamster will gradually enjoy this exercise and opportunity to explore its new owners.
Breeding Your Winter White Dwarf Hamster
Winter White Dwarf hamsters breed at a quicker rate than the common Syrian hamster. These pets can reproduce all year with no particular breeding season. A female Winter White can even become pregnant the same day she gives birth.
Female Winter Whites can be aggressive if you try to breed them when they are not in heat. This time takes place for your female hamster every four days.
When the female is in heat, you can introduce the male into a neutral space. This space can be an enclosure you set up separate from each cage. You should place some bedding in this space.
Once you introduce the male hamster, your female Winter White dwarf will freeze up. During that time, the male hamster will mount her several times. This process can take 20 minutes to an hour or more.
Both your male and female Winter Whites will clean themselves after the mating has occurred. The gestation period typically lasts 17-25 days for your female. Be sure to provide an environment with low stress while she carries the pups.
A typical litter for a Winter White Dwarf female can range from four to nine pups. When the pups are born, they will not have any fur, and their eyes will be shut. Although they cannot hear or see, they already have a keen sense of smell.
It is tempting to pick up the newborn pups because they are adorable. You should wait until the babies are two to three weeks old before attempting to handle them. Once the pups have reached three weeks, you should move each pup into their own cage.
Keeping Your Winter White Dwarf Hamster Healthy
Keeping your new Winter White Dwarf hamster healthy is just as important as keeping it happy. Your new pet should have a shiny, sleek coat. If you notice that its fur has become dull, your new hamster may be sick.
Your new friend may come down with a cold, much like a human. The symptoms for your hamster would include sniffling and a significant decrease in activity. If you notice these signs, move the cage to a warmer area and clean the cage out thoroughly.
Being separated from their mothers can be a stressful event for your young pet. This stress may cause an illness called “wet tail.” This illness is a condition causing hamster diarrhea. Wet tail is very common is Winter White Dwarf hamsters that are under ten weeks old.
You can detect a wet tail if your new pet has a hunched appearance. Your hamster will also have matted, damp fur near its tail. If you notice these signs, bring your Winter White Dwarf hamster to a vet who can prescribe the proper medicine.
Skin problems can occur on your Winter White Dwarf hamster. This problem may be caused by mites, lice, or parasites. If you notice this is an issue, you may use an insecticide designed for cats to help relieve the irritation.
Vaccinations will not be given to your new hamster. One way to help prevent illness is by making sure you clean out the cage weekly with soap and water. You should also avoid drastic changes in temperature or diet.
Another common issue for your pet is overgrown teeth. Providing your Winter White Dwarf hamster with plenty of toys and wood to chew on should help prevent this issue. However, if it does occur, you can take your hamster to have his teeth clipped from a professional.
One of the best ways to help keep your new friend healthy is to clean out its cage each week. You should replace any old bedding or worn out toys and wood. Be sure to also provide fresh, clean water daily for your hamster.
If you are looking for a small pet to keep you company, the Winter White Dwarf hamster may be the right choice. Be sure that you are ready to take on the responsibilities of keeping this small rodent healthy and happy.