Russian hamsters or Russian dwarf hamsters are one of the most popular types of rodent pests. When not in captivity, Russian hamster is native North-Kazakhstan and western Siberia, but nowadays, they are even popular across Europe and North America.
Their natural fur color is ‘ruddy’ or ‘agouti’ color, which is a kind of grayish or dark brown color. But in captivity, Russian hamsters can have a wide range of different colors. Russian hamster has a small ball-shaped body, which only grows to a length of 7 to 10 cm (well, literally, their middle name is dwarf!). However, behind the tiny body, they are super active and sociable!
Russian hamsters are easy to tame. In fact, they are known as one of the most tameable types of hamster. Russian hamsters can also be trained and easy to take care of, so they might be a suitable pet for children or any beginner owner. Russian hamsters can live for half to two years on average as long as they are treated well and healthy.
Russian hamster is also commonly known as Winter white dwarf hamster. They got the ‘winter white’ name from their ability to camouflages. In the wild, they can change their dark fur color to completely white during the winter months so they can hide from predators.
Captivated Russian hamsters, on the other hand, do not usually exhibit this ability. As housed indoors pet, they cannot recognize the short winter day lengths because usually they are exposed to the artificial light.
Talking about Russian hamsters, Russian hamster is also often mistaken for Campbell’s dwarf hamster. They almost look alike because they are also come from genus Phodopus. However. Campbell’s hamsters have smaller ears with no dark fur on their crown. Also, unlike the Russian hamster, Campbell’s hamsters do not change their fur color during winter.
Do Russian Hamsters Should Live in The Wild Nature Before It Is Caring?
Recalling what we have discussed earlier, there are some different habits and behavior from wild Russian hamsters and the captivated one. For example, the wild Russian hamster can change its color during winter in order to hide from a predator, while the captivated hamster kind of ‘losing’ this ability because they cannot tell the day lengths well. The captivated Russian hamster also has more variety of fur colors rather than the wild one.
On the other hand, just like any other hamster, captivated Russian hamsters are more prone to diabetes. The wild hamster is not a picky eater. They usually eat the food that is provided in their surroundings. The captivated hamsters’ diet plan surely depends on our choices of food. You probably choose the packaged hamster food, with seeds mix or fresh veggies and fruits. Those options are healthy (we do always want to make sure our hamsters have the best and healthy food, right?), but some of them are high in sugar or acid levels, which is bad for your little friend’s tummy. Your Russian hamster might easily get sick from the wrong food options, but as long as you ensure the food that you offer is safe for it, It will stay healthy and active!
Because of those differentiations, before we purchase a Russian hamster, there are some important notes that we have to ensure:
1. Where do they come from
First, you have to make sure that your Russian hamster comes from a hamster pair that were raised in captivity. Captivated pets are mostly in a good health condition and surely will be used to being handled by humans, so when you bring your little friend to its new home, they can customize easily and feel comfortable and safe.
2. How many Russian hamsters do you want to have?
Since hamsters are one of the social animals, purchasing a pair or small group oh hamster might help your hamster adapt easily. However, if you are going to do so, you probably want to make sure that they are from the same habitat, which means they already have experience of living together so they can get along when placed in the same home. Another important note of bringing multiple hamsters is their sex: if don’t have a plan to breed them and have an extreme population growth (because that’s how male and female rodents do when they are kept in the same habitat), you might want to ensure that you have a same-sex pair!
3. Give them some time to adapt
It is hard to resist the temptation to hold your little furry friend right away after you bring it home, right? But well, you probably want to give your hamster some time to adapt first. because your new Russian hamster, or any other new pet, is going to be easily scared with the new environment. If you have to hold it, use both hands and scoop and lift it gently. Keep your hands cupped as well because your new hamster has a lot of energy so it might try to escape and drop.
In conclusion, you don’t have to get a wild hamster to be your pet. Having a captivated one will be better and easier for you, anyway. If you get it from a good pet store, you don’t have to worry about your Russian hamsters’ health condition. Some of them are usually well-trained too so it will be easier for you to take care of them. You can also consult about the suitable diet plan or accessories that are suitable for its condition. Maybe you need exercise balls or exercise wheels in order to keep your Russian hamster happy and stay active. Maybe you need some supplements for its health or notes on some type of food that your hamster need to avoid. Each of Russian hamsters can have different needs and you can get those helpful informations from a good pet store or breeder who raised and captivated them first.