The Chinese hamster is known scientifically as Cricetulus griseus. It originates in the deserts of northern China and Mongolia. Chinese hamster is a small rodent, similar to a mouse in size, and is apparently smaller than other species of hamsters. Chinese hamster, like other species of hamsters is cute, friendly, and sociable. It can be distinguished from other species by the unique color of its coat: it has a white underbelly, grey-brown top, and a dark stripe that runs through its body length. Also, its tail looks somewhat longer than in other species. Chinese hamster was originally tamed as a laboratory animal but was later used as a show animal. In general, Chinese hamsters are slender, have large dark eyes, with tulip-shaped ears. When they are fully grown, Chinese hamsters can grow to 4 inches in length. Chinese hamsters are otherwise known as Chinese dwarfs.
Breeding and Lifestyle of Chinese Hamsters
Chinese hamsters are mature for sexual activities from about 5 weeks of age. Usually, mating is not easy between a male and a female counterpart. Thus, a number of approaches has been adopted to enhance mating between opposite-sex hamsters. First, male and female hamsters may be left to grow up together in the same confinement until maturity. Second, a younger, sexually-mature female hamster may be introduced to an older male. A male hamster should never be taken to a female hamster as this can result in violence or death. After mating, the female hamster carries the pregnancy for 18 or 21 days. Pregnant hamsters should not be placed together with a male counterpart. A few days before delivery, a pregnant hamster begins to prepare nest for the expected babies. Female hamsters, like American lopsreference , are very prolific, and can give birth to 2 to 7 babies per breeding season. Baby hamsters are usually born blind and naked. Hair begins to grow on baby hamsters when they are about 5 days old. The extent of interaction and social life among Chinese hamsters has no definite rule: some hamsters prefer solitary lifestyle while others are social animals, and prefer being in the company of mates. In addition, Chinese hamsters are most active at night, and normally lie down to rest or sleep in broad daylight. In general, Chinese hamsters have longer life span relative to many other species of hamsters. They can live up to three and a half or four years.
Feeding Habits of Chinese Hamsters
Chinese hamsters eat plants and insects. In the wild, Chinese dwarfs depend essentially on grass, shoots and seeds. However, they prey on insects too occasionally when there is shortage of food. In captivity, hamsters can eat hamster mix, fresh vegetables, cooked chicken, cricket, milk porridge and mealworm. Examples of hamster mix include pinhead oatmeal beaphar hamster mix. Examples of vegetables for Chinese hamsters include cauliflower, strawberries, dandelions, broccoli, cucumber, watermelon, and carrots. Also, seeds, including Budgie Tonic Seeds, almond seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. In addition, fruits, including apples, oranges, grapes, raisins, blueberries, and bananas, may be provided as treats to Chinese dwarfs on occasions. These foods contain various nutrients that are beneficial to the overall wellbeing of the Chinese hamsters. Fruits contain vitamin C which improves eyesight in hamsters. A lack of vitamin C in hamsters causes scurvy. Also, hamster mix of various brands contain carbohydrate and minerals that perform various useful benefits in hamsters. And the various seeds provide fibers and fats for hamsters which help in digestion, and also improves hamsters’ digestive systems. Chinese hamsters also derive protein essentially from cooked chicken and seeds, and in minute amounts from fresh vegetables. Protein help build strong tissues and also replace worn-out tissues in Chinese dwarfs. Lastly, attention should be given to providing sufficient water for Chinese hamsters to drink. This is just as essential as feeding nutritive foods to the hamsters.
However, it is vital to provide them these foods in moderate quantities. Chinese dwarf hamsters tend to develop obesity due to overfeeding. Also, excess sugar in hamsters’ diets can result in diabetes. This is why foods to which refined sugar has been added is unsafe for hamsters. Both obesity and diabetes can become a serious concern for the hamster’s owner. In addition, a lack of or inadequate vitamin C in hamsters causes scurvy. As a general rule, it is advisable to include all foods in equal proportions in hamsters’ diets; a mix of foods is far preferable to separate foods. Diabetes in hamsters can be detected using Diastix, which are available in chemists’ outlets. Detecting diabetes in Chinese hamsters can be done by getting the hamster into a plastic container. When the hamster gets into the container, allow the hamster to release urine. Dip Diastix into the urine sample. Where a color change is observed, the hamster has diabetes, and should be taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
Caring for Chinese Hamsters
Requirements of Chinese hamsters comprise three main components which are feeding the hamsters, relating with them in a friendly way, and providing a suitable shelter for them. Morereference The feeding component has already been dealt with in detail above. The remaining two components are discussed as follows. Concerning Chinese hamster’s housing, the Chinese dwarf should be kept in a hamster cage. The cage should be lined with plenty of bedding material, and should be kept away from direct sunlight. It is also crucial to clean the cage regularly, and occasionally, deep cleaning should be done. Also, provide accessories for your Chinese pet such as exercise wheel and toys to keep them busy. Keeping Chinese hamsters as pets requires that the owner should handle them with care. It may require some time and patience before the hamster trusts its owner to carry it in their hand or cuddle them. In addition, the hamster should be let out of its cage to an enclosed space once per week. Lastly, the hamster should be taken to a veterinarian for check up on a regular basis to be sure they stay healthy.
Chinese hamsters are adorable hamsters, slightly cuter than other species of hamsters. They are easy to tame, and make good pets. Domesticating the Chinese hamsters can go a large extent to strengthen the bond between humans and these small creatures.