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Dwarf Hamster Questions!

Calling all hammy owners, past and present! I have some questions for you...

Lately I've been thinking of branching out from mice and possibly adding a hamster to my inter-species family :) I'm trying to do my research first, and thought I'd ask your opinions on a few things.

#1: I'm thinking about getting a roborovski. This is based on the fact that I find them very cute, and also because I read that they tend to have the longest lifespans (obviously this will vary depending on the health of the hamster). Has anyone here owned a robo? What are they like, and how do you rate them as pets?

#2: I know that they can live in pairs/groups, but what do you think they prefer, company or solitude? I've seen a lot of conflicting information here :-? If it makes any difference, I have lots of free time on my hands, and will have plenty of time to devote to a hamster.

#3: About the environment... I was thinking of using a glass tank so that I could provide a sandy area without worrying about it spilling through bars. I know some people won't use tanks for mice, because of ventilation concerns. Is this as big of an issue for dwarf hammies, or would a tank be okay? Also, what kind of size would you recommend?

#4: Is there a brand of food, or a specific diet that you use/used for your dwarf hamster that you could recommend?

#5: I've seen dwarf hamsters for sale at Pets at Home, but I'd prefer not to buy pets from there... I don't think the conditions are always great, and I've heard stories of pets dying days after being bought. Where do you get your hamsters from? Is there anywhere I could find a breeder?

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to respond to any of these questions :D
Hamster: Archie
Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
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Comments

  • KawaiiKawaii Lemming
    Posts: 245
    Okay firstly robos are fast and fairly shy so wouldn't be very handleable because they're so quick ... But they are great fun to watch.

    1. Speaking from experience my robo lived 2.5 years roughly (rspca hammy) but my library lived hamster was a Syrian who was about three.
    2. Depends on the hamster/s!
    3.yeah a tank with a meshed roof would be fine, an ikea detour would be robo heaven.
    4.i use Burgess supahamster dwarf hamster food, I think that's what it's called anyway...
    5. Look on the rspca website, also wood green animal rescue have lots of robos right now.

    Proud owner of 2 chinchillas and a dwarf hamster

    (chins for the win!)

     If I'm not active I have probably forgotten my password (again)....

  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    Thanks for answering :) I didn't realise robos weren't really a handle-able pet. Are they faster than young mice? Cuz I kinda thought if I could handle 5 week old mice, I could handle anything, but maybe not if I've never seen a robo in action  X(
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,187
    Hi MouseLover. In a nutshell, I would say Roborovski are very easy to keep generally, but also extremely fast and the rescue robos I have kept (all four of them at separate times) have all been `workaround` robos meaning, not handled and left alone to enjoy their environment with me just going in to spot clean daily and chat! That`s the way they like it. Don`t get me wrong, they CAN sometimes tame down and accept being handled, but I would say this is more likely to be a breeders robos that are more used to being scooped gently from a very early age, but as they mature, their mad instincts kick in! It`s just accepting what they are really, fast and cute!

    On the other hand, you have the other dwarf species. The Russian dwarf hamsters, usually hybrids if sold in pet shops/adoption areas, or the Chinese hamster, which MUST be kept alone and are much more `mouse-like` in behaviour. I love Chinese hamsters but have only had the one female and was gutted when she died prematurely. She was very intelligent and so cheeky.

    Syrians are the largest and require everything else to be large, including their cage and wheel. I find the dwarf hamsters are easier in that respect. My current male Russian dwarf is housed in a Gabber Rex tank (Similar size to the Zoozone 1) which can be picked up cheaply on ebay or gumtree and similar websites. I bought mine for £22 off ebay and it`s a fantastic cage. Very safe, escape proof and these cages are universal. You can use them for all species of hamster or mice.

    You asked about keeping them in pairs? In all honesty, I would say keep one. It`s easier on you and on the hamster. They have a high separation risk and before they are separated, there has usually been bad blood between them and bites and injuries can occur. So I would say look in the PAH adoption area, RSPCA website, Gumtree for a free dwarf hamster to good home etc....just make sure they advertise the species correctly as some owners don`t have a clue what their hamster is believe it or not! They may advertise a Syrian as just a `hamster`, or a Robo as a Russian dwarf!

    Diet-wise, the Burgess dwarf food is good and the Zooplus dwarf hamster mixes are also good. They love the millet seeds and the nut varieties. I use a pestle & mortar to bach up anything I feel is larger to make it easier for a small mouth to manage.

    Russian dwarf hammies do have a reputation for nipping, but you need to approach this with an open mind. Some may nip, some don`t. It`s all about allowing the hamster to feel happy and never stressed. Not waking them up for example and only interacting once the hamster is out and about. Robos are very funny obviously! So if your not too fussed about handling, the robo is the one. I would have another wee robo today if I could as they really do like doing their own thing. Digging about, having a mad run on their wheel, gathering their food and scooting off back to their nest. They are easy little hamsters. Not to handle, but do give back much more in terms of laughter!

    Hope this helps, do ask more questions if your keen to adopt a wee hammie. Also have a look across on Hamster central forum. It`s very busy and you will find a lot of stuff under the Roborovski section. Just scroll down to it on the forum community page. x


  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    Thanks very much racingmouse :) all good info to read!

    I've been re-thinking the robo thing. I would ideally like to keep a hamster that I can handle a bit more. I am considering a winter white, if I can track down a breeder. I would prefer this to a hyrbid, as I hear they are more prone to health issues? Has anyone has a winter white?

    I am looking at a glass tank that is about 75cm x 45cm. Would this be any good for a solo russian dwarf? Also I was wondering if all dwarf species may appreciate a sand pit, or is that just a robo thing?

    I am likely to move house in early september, so I would hopefully be thinking about getting a hamster late september or october. Which gives me plenty of time for my research, and possibly tracking down a breeder :)
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • KawaiiKawaii Lemming
    Posts: 245
    Sand pits are great! There is a winter white breeder in Basingstoke, Winter Wood Hamstery...i have never used them personally though. I always rescue, but you won't find a purebred winter white in rescue, purebred dwarfs are pretty uncommon outside of the hamster clubs.
    My Russian dwarf is very handleable and lives in a70x30cm cage, so I think your tank would be fine. Princess Jane LOVES sand baths in the lolo chinchilla sand so I think a sand pit is an awesome idea. Jane had a miniature ceramic bath which is very cute. Hybrids are prone to diabetes and glaucoma, winter whites can get glaucoma but breeders should not be producing pups from susceptible lines. (camp bells are more likely to get diabetes).
    If you do get a winter white get a Pearl or sapphire hammy, they are so gorgeous! Jane is a sapphire, I believe. Kind of bluey with a white underbelly ;if she was a chinchilla she would be a non wrap Violet is all I know. Lol.

    Proud owner of 2 chinchillas and a dwarf hamster

    (chins for the win!)

     If I'm not active I have probably forgotten my password (again)....

  • NuttySianNuttySian Mouse
    Posts: 214
    Winterwood doesn't breed any more sadly, it's a shame as her hams are amazing, Mum's 2 are from her, as was my Ariana. 
    Where abouts are you MouseLover? 
  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    Thanks Kawaii :) yes I have seen pictures of sapphire dwarfs, very pretty :D

    NuttySian - I am in Bristol, so would be hoping to find one in the south west, or south wales perhaps.
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • Posts: 529
    When are you thinking of getting the hamster? There're shows in Cardiff and Bath in July and you may find a breeder willing to reserve a winter white for you to collect at one of those shows :) (There's also a chance of winter whites on the sales table at both shows, but there's never any guarantee about that)
    Currently one of two pet-humans of some hamsters (syrian, roborovski, chinese and russian hybrid), mice, mongolian gerbils and a duprasi :)
  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    This is all advanced research really. I will be moving house probably in september, so it would be more convenient to get one after that, so late september or october.

    Off topic, but I just noticed you have a duprasi. How do you find him/her as a pet? They're such interesting little things :D
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
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