The Winter White dwarf hamster, also known as the Djungarian hamster, striped dwarf hamster, and the Siberian hamster, is one of the most popular species available in Europe and North America. They are similar to Campbell's dwarf hamster, but there are some differences.
Caring for a Winter White dwarf hamster is pretty simple, and they make a great pet for first-time hamster owners. Below, we'll go over everything you'll need to know to care for a Winter White.
Identifying A White White Dwarf Hamster And Key Info
Winter White hamsters are popular in pet stores, but not every pet store labels their hamsters accurately. With Winter White's looking similar to Campbell's hamsters, it's important to identify a Winter White hamster correctly to purchase exactly what you want.
A Winter White Russian hamster is a breed of dwarf hamster, meaning that they will only reach about 4 inches in length, and this is half the size of a typical Syrian hamster! They also have a more rounded body shape than the Campbell dwarf hamster.
This odd little characteristic is a key defining feature of these hamsters. Winter White hamsters live in the cold areas of northwest China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, and so one of the features they have developed are uniquely fur-covered legs and feet.
Another unique characteristic of the Winter White hamster is that they can change their fur color! You can see them in three main colors: black and gray with black eye sapphire, smokey bluish-gray pearl color, and mainly white-coated hamster. Dark gray color with a solid black dorsal stripe will get lighter and lighter as winter approaches, turning a beautiful pearl white color! It is unlikely for a pet Winter White hamster to turn completely white fur, and the color-changing process can take a few days to a few weeks.
Compared to other pets, hamsters have a relatively short life span. Like a typical hamster pet, a Winter White dwarf hamster will live 1.5-2 years. While this may sound short, they make a great pet for first-time pet owners who may not be ready for a long commitment.
Winter White Russian Hamsters As Pets
Winter White hamster behavior of all hamster species are known to be the most tameable and making them a great first pet. Their average lifespan is only two years, making it a low-stakes commitment for children and new pet owners. Unlike Syrian hamsters, Winter Whites are placid in nature and will be much easier to tame.
They also get along well with others, as opposed to other hamster species. This means if you want to have more than one Winter White hamster, you don't need to purchase multiple cages - just one that is large enough. Keep to only same-sex pairs in the same cage. You can also keep a mated pair together, especially because Winter Whites have a fixed breeding season.
For children, be mindful that dwarf hamsters are typically faster than other hamster breeds (although the Winter White is slow compared to other dwarf hamsters). Also, they can get seriously hurt if dropped from any height because they are so small.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Care Guide
One of the most important parts of caring for your furry friend is providing a balanced diet. All hamsters eat a mix of fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and insects. To mimic this in captivity, fill their food dish with a good-quality food mix or pelleted food. A food mix gives your hamster more variety, while pellets keep your Winter White from only picking out their favorite bits.
You can then supplement this essential food mix with any number of things. Winter Whites, in particular, love eating insects, so provide your pet hamster with dried or fresh mealworms on occasion. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a nice change of pace from the dried varieties in food mixes. Hamsters love yogurt drops as well.
Cages For A Winter White Hamster
When purchasing items to build your hamster's habitat, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that traditional wire cages are usually designed for Syrian hamsters. Winter Whites, being dwarfs, can squeeze through the wider spacing of the bars and escape easily. Look for a wire hamster cage with very small bar spacing.
Multi-story cages are great for hamsters, but some two-level hamster cages are too tall for Russian dwarf hamsters. If they were to fall from the second story, they could die or get seriously hurt. There are hamster cages available that have multiple stories but are more shallow, and these are more appropriate for a Winter White hamster.
You can opt instead to use a glass aquarium. Choose one that is at least 20 gallons large. Whatever type of cage you choose, make sure you provide lots of deep, fluffy bedding, like wood shavings. Remember that hamsters are tunneling creatures. They need to have enough bedding to accommodate their tunneling instincts. Fill the bottom of your cage with at least 3 inches of bedding.
Unlike other hamsters, Winter White hamsters can be kept in same-sex pairs for grouping but will need to be introduced at a young age. Even male Winter Whites are easier to keep together, and the risk of fighting is minimal. But if you do see any sign of a fight, separate them immediately.
When grouping them together, make sure they are of the same sex. Introduce a hamster at a young age, at least 12 weeks old. Grouping them can be quite noisy, and you may often hear squeaking. This doesn't necessarily mean they are fighting or angry, and it is just their way of communicating with one another.
If you leave a female and male together, you need to be careful as you will find yourself swarmed with baby hamsters. You have been warned.
Hamster Toys For Winter White Hamsters
Hamsters are intelligent little critters and relatively active species. Any hamster kept in captivity will need a wide variety of toys. Pet hamsters that aren't provided with adequate enrichment show signs of emotional and mental distress. The natural habitat of Winter Whites can cover a surprisingly large area, so toys that encourage exercise and tunneling are best.
Hamster Wheels/ Exercise wheels
No hamster home would be complete without an exercise wheel. Because of the small size of Winter Whites, the exercise wheel must be made of solid plastic rather than have metal rungs. These small hamsters can easily get their legs stuck and wrench in one of those rungs.
Hamster balls are like hamster wheels outside of the cage. They're a great way to keep a hamster entertained while you clean out the cage. Choose a clear hamster ball that is the proper size for a dwarf hamster, and never leave a hamster in an exercise ball too long.
Wooden Tunnels and Bridges
By choosing tunneling toys that are made of wood, it can double as a chewing toy!
Can Winter White Dwarf Hamsters Be Kept Together?
As long as the habitats are large enough, they can cohabit.
How To Breed Winter White Dwarf Hamsters?
Female hamsters are sexually mature at around three or four months old. Once they are sexually mature, they will go into heat every four days. And because they are nocturnal, she will go into heat at night and last for 12 hours. When your female hamster is sexually mature, you can place her and him in the same habitat and keep the couple in the same cage until the female gives birth. Don't remove the male a few days before or the same day of her due date, as this is not a healthy practice and will cause stress.
What Human Food Can White Dwarf Hamsters Eat?
Dwarf hamsters should eat a variety of food to keep a balanced diet, and they are at a higher risk of diabetes. Vegetables and seeds are the safest and healthiest treats.
Here Are Some Greens You Can Feed:
- Red and Green pepper
Dwarf hamsters need their protein and will eat different proteins.
Here Are Some Proteins You Can Feed:
- Boiled chicken
- Canned and drained tuna
- Roasted soybeans
- Cooked egg
You can feed dwarf hamsters some whole grains as a snack. This includes fully cooked whole grain pasta, cereal, wheat toast, and cooked whole grain rice.
What Food Should You Avoid?
Avoid feeding anything that contains high sugar content, including maltose, fructose, or dextrose. This includes carrots, corn, fruit, white rice, and white bread.
What Food is Toxic to Winter White Hamster?
Avoid feeding potatoes, raisins, citrus fruit, rhubarb leaves, raw beans, almonds, sprouts, garlic, and onions, as they can be toxic.