Winter White Hamsters
Winter White Hamsters are known by many names, including Dwarf Russian Winter White Hamster, Siberian Hamster, and Furry Hamster. Each name accurately describes one aspect of this prized animal, such as the hamster’s white winter coat, tiny size, place of origin and furry feet. Perhaps the most descriptive name would be Winter White Russian Siberian Furry Dwarf Hamster – try asking for one of those at the pet shop!
Winter White Hamsters are only 3 to 4 inches long at maturity. Their prominent eyes belie their poor eyesight. Other distinctive features are a curved spine, Roman nose and short tail. Like all hamsters, this species has expandable cheek pouches for transporting food.
On the Siberian steppes that are the Winter White Hamster’s natural home, the white coat is a vital survival tool, providing them camouflage against vast plains of snow. When the days lengthen, the snowy white coat moults into summer garb: slate grey coat, pearl white underbelly and dark grey dorsal stripe.
In captivity, they seldom wear the white coat that gives them their name, making positive identification more difficult. It is rare to find purebreds in North American pet shops. They are often confused with Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamster, which are the most common dwarf hamster on the market. Even a hamster identified as a Winter White Hamster in a pet store may have been mislabelled. Although the Campbell’s and the Winter White Hamsters are separate species, they can interbreed with disastrous results. The hybrid offspring are prone to disease and ruin the purity of the breed. It is therefore wise to obtain your Winter White Hamsters from a professional breeder if you plan on allowing your hamsters to procreate.
An aquarium provides the ideal habitat for them because their tiny size allows them to squeeze through the bars of traditional hamster cages. An appropriate food mix with the occasional boost of supplements will keep your hamsters healthy. They also require abundant fresh water, which is best delivered in bottles, rather than bowls.
The Winter White Hamster’s small size renders it susceptible to toxins, and it is therefore advisable to choose organic treats — vegetables and thoroughly rinsed dandelion greens — and to use glass or stoneware bowls rather than plastic. Avoid sugary foods, which can lead to diabetes. Never feed junk food and if giving cereal as treats, avoid those with sugar in the ingredients list. A bit of cooked, organic, steel-cut oatmeal has the ideal texture, roughage and proper nutritive values, and is not an overly sticky food. Small quantities of chicken or ham may be offered as an occasional treat. It is important to avoid toxic bedding, such as that made with cedar or pine, which can induce allergies. Of the wood beddings, only shredded aspen is approved for hamsters. Hay, straw and paper are also fine.
Introducing same-sex hamsters to the habitat at different times can lead to territorial disputes. It is best to place your hamsters in their new home at the same time, when they are young. However, even hamsters that have grown up together can become hostile over time. Fighting hamsters must be placed in separate containers, so it is wise to have an extra cage on hand.
There are many delightful hamster accessories available including chew toys, which are absolutely necessary for the health of the animal’s teeth. Hamster toys featuring tunnels and hideaways replicate the Winter White Hamster’s natural habitat of burrows and galleries and will make your pet comfortable. Although hamsters are nocturnal, they often engage in short bursts of activity during the day, such as running on a hamster wheel.
These hamsters are among the friendliest of all the breeds. They enjoy interacting with humans, biting and nipping less than other hamsters. However, due to their small size, they are not suitable as pets for very young children, who may inadvertently harm them.
With proper food, a clean environment, appropriate bedding and veterinary care, your hamster should live out its natural life expectancy of two years or longer. Overall, the Winter White Hamster makes an ideal and beautiful pet.
Source by Jeremy Smart