There are five domesticated varieties of hamsters' the most popular being the Syrian hamster.
The long haired variety of the Syrian hamster is sometimes referred to as the "Teddy Bear," "Panda bear," "Black bear," and other nicknames such as these, depending on their coat and coloration. These hamsters are one and the same breed the Syrian hamster. (Mesocricetus auratus)
There are four other species of hamster. Roborovski, Chinese, Winter white, and the Campbell's Dwarf hamster. The needs of all hamsters are basically the same, but housing and feeding needs do differ slightly. The temperaments can also vary between each variety of hamster. Dwarf hamsters it is said has always been the more sociable species that could safely be maintained in pairs or groups, as opposed to the Syrian hamsters solitary nature. This is not always the case however, and fights are not uncommon among the Dwarf hamsters'.
Attempts to keep Dwarf hamsters in small groups in captivity have proved to be less successful. Some may happily live together for weeks and even months at a time then for no apparent reason, may suddenly start fighting.
The Roborovski Hamster:
The Roborovski Hamster
Campbell's Dwarf Hamster
The Roborovski Hamster: (Phodopus Roborovski) Origin, Western and Eastern Mongolia, and Northern China. Are the smallest measuring only 4-5 cm long, and are the fastest of the hamster species. This makes them unsuitable as pets for children that wish to handle them. Being considerably more difficult to handle and tame than the Syrian hamster. The Dwarf hamster are mostly kept for observation rather than as a pet. The Roborovski can be hand tamed and become accustomed to handling if acquired at a young age, although a little time and patience is required. The Roborovski are however, extremely social and affectionate with each other.
Campbell's Russian Dwarf hamster.
Campbell's Russian Dwarf hamster. (Phodopus Campbelli) Origin, North Eastern China, Mongolia, Russia. The Campbell's Dwarf is also native to the steppes and semi arid areas of Central Asia. It is claimed that the Campbell's Dwarf hamster is less friendly in temperament, and is more likely to bite or nip. The Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamster is approximately 10-12cm in length when fully grown. The average life span of the Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamster is 18 months to 2 years, maybe longer. Campbell's Dwarf hamsters are a more sociable species that may be kept in pairs.
If the hamsters are introduced at a young age, younger than 8 weeks, they may live happily in mixed sex, or same sex groups. Mixed sex groups, or pairs should be avoided if pregnancies are not wanted.
Hamsters kept in pairs do pose a problem when one of the pair dies, as it can often prove to be very difficult to introduce another. If the remaining animal is old it is probably less traumatic to leave it on its own rather than risk trying to introduce another.
Chinese hamster:(Cricetulus griseus) Origin: Southern China and Mongolia. Not actually a true Dwarf hamster,with a long and slender body, a relatively longer tail than other hamsters. They have a relatively good temperament and are easily handled once tamed they are usually of a gentle character. One of the disadvantages of Chinese hamsters is that they are not a very sociable hamster particularly towards their own kind on reaching maturity. They can grow up to 7.5 / 9 cm in length, and live two to three years on average.
Winter white Dwarf: Phodopus Sungorus Sungorus: Eastern Kazakhstan, Siberia
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