The Djungarian Hamster
The Siberian hamster, Siberian dwarf hamster, Russian winter white dwarf hamster
Species: phodopus sungorus.
It would seem that such a small and fragile animal as the Djungarian hamster is not able to live in the wild. Nevertheless, it feels great in the steppes of Western Siberia and in semi deserts of Central Asia and north-west of Kazakhstan. This rodent prefers to dig holes in sandy soil with little or no vegetation. Seasonal adaptation of coat coloring can also be explained by the terrain. The Djungarian hamster has to hide from predators in deserted area, so in winter it buries itself in the snow and remains unnoticed.
The Djungarian hamsters are extremely popular as pets in Europe and Asia. In the US and Canada they are rarely kept at home.
The adult Djungarian hamster is about 10 cm long and weighs 35-65 g. It has a large head, big black eyes, furry legs and a very short tail. Their coat is brownish or yellow-gray. Light-gray and snow-white species have been acquired by selective breeding. This rodent has a dark-gray stripe along its back.
This species is very active and agile, they are adapted to life in very dry areas, so they don’t need a lot of water. They are nocturnal. When the hamster is sexually mature, it prefers to live alone.
The Djungarian hamster is an excellent pet. Unpleasant smells are just a myth made up by untidy owners. Daily cleaning will save you from all troubles. You should put in the cage wood cuttings for bedding and some chalk in order for the hamster to grind its teeth. Your hamster will also need space for running and climbing. If you provide your pet with proper care, you will be able to enjoy its company for 3 years or more.
Be very careful if you let the hamster out of the cage: it is so small that it can easily get lost in a room and when unnoticed, they can get badly injured. If you breed hamsters, don’t forget to put the youngsters (approximately after one month) in a separate cage from their parents.
In the wild the Djungarian hamster mainly eats seeds, small insects and young shoots. In autumn they stock seeds: like other hamsters, they stuff their cheek ouches full of food.
In captivity the menu of the Djungarian hamster should mainly consist of specialized commercial dry mixes. These rodents are prone to diabetes, so you should never feed them with sweets, salty or spicy food. Fruit (except for citrus and exotic ones) are good for the hamster. You can also feed it with raw or cooked vegetables, such as carrots, beetroot, bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes. Their menu should contain nuts, cereals and even tree leaves.
The Djungarian hamster is prone to overeating. They can suffer from allergies to citrus fruit and some mineral supplements. This is a nocturnal species.
Djungarian hamsters are prone to such illnesses as cystitis, enteritis, rachitis, respiratory system illnesses, digestive system disorders, rectum prolapse, itch. Also sometimes they get pouch injuries and tapeworms.
Average life span is from 1.5 to 3 years.