Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster acquired the nicknames “White Dwarf” and “Winter White” from its almost completely white winter coat, which helps it to elude predators in the snowy wild. It is also known as “Siberian Hamster,” from its origins on the grassy plains, or steppes, of southwestern Siberia, which spans the nations of Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. russian grocery store
Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster was once thought to be a subspecies of Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster, but is now recognized as its own distinct species, Phodopus sungorus.
When the weather warms and the days lengthen, the Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster molts its white fur and grows a coat that is blue-grey, with a distinctive darker gray dorsal stripe. This is actually the coat most often seen in captivity. Other distinguishing characteristics include an extremely short tail that disappears from view when the animal is sitting, and furry feet. They tend to breed during the spring and fall, and not when it is wearing its white winter coat.
These hamsters live two years on average, but have been known to live longer. It is possible for this species to interbreed with the more common Campbell’s Dwarf, producing a hybrid. However, since hybrids are susceptible to diabetes, it is advisable to obtain your Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster from a professional breeder. Crossing the two species also dilutes the purity of the breed. In contrast to the Campbell’s Dwarf, which has a tan-gray colored coat, the Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster has dark-gray fur. Generally, a true Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster is not seen very often in North American pet shops.
Some misconceptions about this unique hamster arise from misidentification. For instance, unlike the Campbell’s Dwarf with which it is often confused, the Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamster may be more aggressive towards same-sex cage mates, and may not play well with others in a larger group. To minimize this tendency, it is best to introduce hamsters to their cage at the same time, when they are youngsters. Two Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamsters would be ideal, so that they might keep each other company. However, when housing opposite sex hamsters together, it is important to realize how rapidly they procreate.
These hamsters are friendlier to humans and less likely to bite than other varieties. Due to their size – only three to four inches long at maturity – they are not a wise choice of pet for a young child, as the animal may be accidentally harmed. Although they are nocturnal, they can be quite active for short bursts during the day.
They should be fed a specially formulated food mix to ensure proper nutrition. An occasional treat might include a piece of wheat bread, or fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid all junk foods and especially all sugar — including white bread and most breakfast cereals — to prevent the development of diabetes. Healthy, high-protein snacks — such as crickets and meal worms — may be given in small quantities. Supplements of calcium or Nutri-Cal should be periodically added to the diet. Ceramic bowls are preferable to plastic to prevent the leaching of toxins. Many flowers are poisonous, but dandelion greens are easy to identify and, when thoroughly rinsed, add a healthy raw food dimension to the diet. In addition, a wire mesh hopper may be used to offer lab blocks.