The Chinese Dwarf Hamster (Cricetulus griseus) is native to Tuva. He belongs to the long-tailed dwarf hamsters and is a shy animal. The little Chinese has a longer body compared to the other dwarf hamster species and of course a longer tail. The tail helps the animal, among other things, to keep it in balance when climbing.
The Chinese Dwarf Hamster was initially considered a subspecies of the Daurian Dwarf Hamster (Cricetulus Barabensis). They are very similar, but in the end the Chinese Dwarf Hamster got its addition "griseus" instead of "Barabensis"
Head-torso length : Men 11 - 12.5 cm and 45 grams, women 9 - 11 cm. and 38 grams
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are dusk active, meaning they are most active in the evening and early morning. However, the animals sleep cyclically, which means that a few hours of sleep is alternated with a few hours of being awake, so these dwarf hamsters are also regularly awake during the day.
Tame and familiarize yourself with the Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Always read carefully before you decide to get a Chinese Dwarf Hamster. They are very nice pets that are regularly awake, so that they can also be seen during the day. The Chinese Dwarf Hamster does not always like to cuddle and he finds being picked up very scary, especially in the beginning. It seems that the Chinese Dwarf Hamster can see a little more depth than the other Dwarf hamster species, but caution is advised. The longer tail of this dwarf hamster ensures that they can keep their balance better by hand, for example. Once they are used to the hands, they also like to walk over the hand and between the fingers.
A new resident should be approached calmly, especially at first. The animal must first become familiar with its own enclosure, feel safe in it before it dares to approach people. Of course there are also daredevils who immediately approach you and are social, but most hamsters are a bit shy the first time. Give the animal time and try to make contact calmly by talking to the hamster. Handing over some treats often also works well to gain the trust of the animals.
Housing of the Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters need a spacious enclosure of at least 80 x 40 cm ( LICG ). A good stay gives the animals the opportunity to dig, but also a bit of climbing. In the wild, Chinese Dwarf Hamsters build beautiful tunnels and they would like to continue to do so in captivity. A castle in the wild is at a depth of at least 1 to 2 meters and is about 1 meter long. The depth of the castle depends on the ambient temperature. When the temperature rises, the dwarf hamster digs deeper underground to reach the cool earth, a kind of natural air conditioning.
Hamsterscaping is therefore very nice for Chinese Dwarf Hamsters.
At our house this translates into a spacious stay with digging possibilities! A terrarium is the best choice because of its closed nature. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably has two grids (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters cannot tolerate high temperatures in combination with high humidity, so a temperature between 20 - 24°C is recommended and a humidity below 70%. You can use a hygrometer to measure these values.
House for a Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are lucky! because almost all houses made for hamsters are a good size for this dwarf hamster species. Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are prey animals and do not like to walk openly through the enclosure, if they come across a shelter now and then they already feel a lot safer. Our advice is therefore to have at least two houses for the hamster. A house where the dwarf hamster can sleep and another where he can hide. At least one of the two houses must be larger so that the dwarf hamster can also dispose of its food supplies. Being able to put away food supplies can cause stress for the animals.
Running wheel for a Chinese Dwarf hamster
The hamster running wheel is a very important part of the design of the dwarf hamster house. Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are active animals that like to run, often at night. This is because they naturally run a lot at night in search of food. This is, as it were, in their DNA. In addition, scientific research has shown that running on a running wheel makes hamsters happy, digestion is improved and the animals in general remain in good condition.
Ground cover for the Chinese Dwarf Hamster
It is important that the ground cover for Dwarf Hamsters can be dug, ie that they can make holes and holes in it, which preferably remain standing. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is digable in itself or by mixing ground cover to make it digable. An example of an excavatable ground cover is for example the Humus and the Holenzand , but also Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber, Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber, Hemp Fiber and Hay. Ground covers such as Back 2 Nature are not suitable because the animals cannot dig in them. An ideal height of the ground cover to dig in is around 20 cm.
Sand bath for Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters like to take a sand bath every now and then. Sand has a degreasing effect and therefore also has a cooling effect. Because sand is degreasing, it also has a drying effect. Animals with skin problems should therefore not be given a sand bath. If the skin dries out too much because of the sand, it can start to itch, causing the animals to bathe even more. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the bathing behavior of the hamsters and to remove the sandbox if there are signs of skin problems (red spots, bald spots, scabs, wounds).
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are nest builders
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are real nest builders, they always need nesting material so that they can line their burrows with it. Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a dwarf hamster. Therefore always give him 15-25 grams of nesting material.
Nest material should be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot get entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.
Chinese Dwarf Hamster food
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are true granivores (seed eaters). The diet of Chinese Dwarf Hamsters therefore mainly consists of seeds and an almost negligible part of animal proteins . The animals mainly eat more animal proteins such as insects when few seeds are available.
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters carry their hamster food in their cheek pouches. What you see is that the hamster stuffs his food into his cheek pouches and quickly takes it to his house or pantry. Transporting food in the cheek pouches is also called "Hoarding". Thanks to the cheek pouch muscle, the food is retained in the cheek pouch and the hamster can transport it safely and quickly.
Dental formula: 1013/1013 (Incisor ratio at the top - bottom = 1 : 2-3) Incisors keep growing
The Chinese Dwarf Hamster actually eats no plant parts, so the food may have a low fiber content and must certainly remain below 10%.
Gnawing material for Chinese Dwarf hamsters
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters have a natural need to gnaw. This is because dwarf hamsters are rodents and have growing incisors. It is therefore necessary that they can gnaw on something to wear out the teeth. If dwarf hamsters have too few opportunities to wear the teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.
Some Chinese Dwarf Hamsters gnaw gnawing very actively and others don't at all. It is on the one hand a matter of taste, but on the other hand a matter of need. If a dwarf hamster has no need to gnaw because the teeth remain at a good length through food, hay or other nibbles, then he will gnaw less on gnawing wood. It is good to always offer natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw if they have a need to gnaw.
Dental Problems in Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
If you notice that your hamster is very eager to take the food, but then doesn't eat it, there may be something wrong with the teeth. Drooling can also indicate dental problems. If you suspect that you have dental problems, it is best to contact your vet.
Reproduction of the Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are 100% solitary, they only come together during the mating season. Once young are born, the mother takes care of them until they are old enough to leave the nest.
The female is willing (in rut) and ready to mate every 4 days. This will take approximately 12 hours. If a successful mating has taken place on these days, the young are born after about 19 days.
The difference between males and females can be seen in the distance between the genital opening and the anus. This distance is greater in a male than in a female.
Sexual maturity : from 4 weeks
Health of the Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese Dwarf hamsters are generally quite healthy animals. The most common health problems are dental problems, diabetes and eye problems. In connection with the dental problems, we recommend that you check them regularly in order to discover any dental problems in time.
It is not necessary to treat the animals preventively with anti-parasite. It is not necessary to give extra vitamins with a complete hamster food.
It is wise to consult a veterinarian if you have the following symptoms:
Drooling, moist nose and eyes, protruding teeth, not eating, losing weight, eating foreign materials that are softer than the food.
Bald spots, lots of scratching, scabs, wounds, bumps and lumps
Wet and dirty ass, drinking a lot, falling over, listless, different shape and color of the droppings