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Dwarf Hamster Care

Marian K
You need to be well-versed with the care involved in keeping a dwarf hamster, before you bring one home. They are easy to look after - proper food, shelter, and care will keep them in good spirits.
Dwarf hamsters are rodents, and belong to the genus Phodopus (short-tailed dwarf hamsters).
They can be further categorized into Campbell's dwarf hamsters, Winter White Russian (Dzhungarian) dwarf hamsters, and Roborovski's (Desert) dwarf hamsters. The first two are very similar in appearance, especially in size and color. Chinese hamsters also appear fairly similar, but belong to the Genus Cricetulus (ratlike hamsters).
These diminutive hamsters are very cute, which is part of the reason why they are such popular pets. They are also easy to care for, and fairly sociable. They are often sold in same-sex pairs, and the best time to bring one home is when it is between 4 - 7 weeks old.


The first step is to get it well settled and comfortable. While selecting a home for your dwarf hamster, keep in mind that it is very small and can easily squeeze through small openings. A close wire mesh cage or home intended for a mouse will be quite appropriate.
To make the home resemble its natural habitat, you can add about 2'' of pine shavings to the base. However, be careful never to use cedar, as some of them are very sensitive to cedar oil.
In the wild, hamsters make and live in burrows, so you can expect them to try to burrow. This will result in scattered shavings if it resides in a wire-sided cage. Thus, an alternative is a ten-gallon glass aquarium, for a pair.
A good home needs a water bottle, an exercise wheel, and a salt block, at least. If you can add tunnels or burrows, you'll have on truly happy hamster. You can create tunnels from toilet paper tubes.


Make a special enclosure for it to sleep in. Make a 2'' opening in a small, closed cardboard box, and place it in any corner of the cage. Don't add any shavings to it, as your hamster will make it comfortable by lining it for himself/herself. You can introduce a chew toy to the cage, and if it likes it then you can add some more.


It is important to clean out the cage once a week, but you only need to replace the box once every few months. Take out the bedding from the cage, and wipe it clean. If the bedding is soiled or damp, replace it with new fresh bedding.
Check the cage daily, and every two days, take out any bits of uneaten fruits and vegetables, before the rot or attract ants. You should keep the cage covered it you have other pets.


In the wild, this animal will mostly eat seeds and other plant materials. The best food for your hamster is pellets intended for rats and mice, and you can throw in a few seeds. Some people like to feed them vegetables, which is fine as long as the quantity of greens is kept to a minimum, or ideally avoided altogether. Carrots and potatoes are good options.
An important aspect is proper socializing and handing. As they are very nearsighted, you must first speak to it, and once it gets accustomed to you, then pick it up.
The best way to pick up a hamster is to pin it down and scoop it up with a handful of its bedding. Once safely nestled in your hands, it should settle down. While handling them, ensure your hands are clean and do not smell of food.