Winter White dwarf hamsters, also called Siberian hamsters or Djungarian hamsters, are the most popular dwarf hamsters.
The breed is closely related to the Campbells dwarf hamster and is commonly kept as a pet in North America, Asia, and Europe. It’s most distinct feature is the ability to change its fur color to white during winter, hence its name “Winter White”.
In this comprehensive article, you will learn about Winter White dwarf hamsters. We’ll explore their color-shifting appearance, their curious nature, how to breed and care for them, and the fact that as rodents, they need something to chew continually.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Appearance
Winter White dwarf hamsters are about half of a Syrian hamster‘s size, and a bit larger than Roborovski hamsters. At their 5-8 cm (two to three inches) size, they usually weigh about 30 grams (1 ounce).
Winter White hamsters come in 3 different colors. Although there may be additional colors, they are usually due to cross-breeding with the Campbell dwarf hamster. Here are three colors:
- Pearl – mostly white-coated hamster
- Sapphire – bluish gray
- Normal – gray and black with black eyes
The Winter White hamsters can turn white in winter, though this may not occur in captivity. In summer, like most other hamsters, Winter White hamsters usually have a dorsal stripe, though with the following distinct features:
- Less woolly, smoother, and softer to touch coat
- Romanesque nose profile
- Fur covered legs and feet
- Rounder and oval-shaped body
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Behavior
Winter White hamsters are generally shy, so it would be nice to place your pet hamster’s cage in a quiet area or corner. They can sometimes be a chatterbox, squealing and squeaking.
If you hear your little hamster make a scream (high-pitched), this implies its spooked.
They are also slower than Roborovski hamsters, making them easier for small children to handle. Besides their temperament and speed, you also need to consider that they are more active at night and dusk.
Winter White hamsters are nocturnal creatures, so they are active at night and sleep during the day.
While this may fit well with most people’s schedule, it might be an issue if you have very little kids that usually go to bed early. There is enough time to bond and play with the hamsters in the evening for most adults and children.
Watching the little Winter White hamster run in its tunnels can be lovely. A Winter White hamster can cohabitate with others (winter white hamsters of the same sex) and live alone.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Housing
While Syrian hamsters can’t stay together with other hamsters of its kind, you can keep White Winter dwarf hamsters alone and in groups or pairs. Here are a few guidelines to ensure they don’t fight:
- Introduce them at an early age, ideally before they reach 12 weeks old.
- Ensure the hamsters are the same sex.
- If you notice any sign of fighting between the hamsters, separate them quickly.
- Unlike Roborovski hamster males, Winter White hamster males are more comfortable together than females, as there’s a lesser risk of fighting.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Cage Size
When choosing a cage for your Winter White hamster, remember that a bigger cage is always better if you can afford it. The minimum recommended cage should measure 24 inches by 12 inches.
Most 20-gallon aquariums should typically adhere to that. Also, you need to be careful when selecting traditional wire cages as some of them are specially built for Syrian hamsters. Your Winter White hamster can squeeze itself out between the cage bars.
After getting your preferred hamster cage, it’s essential to get a designated spot for the hamster to eat. Consider providing a food bowl that is large enough to prevent your hamster from tipping it over.
It’s advisable to get one made of ceramic or stainless steel materials as they are hygienic and cannot be easily chewed up. Besides food, the hamster will need water as it will become thirsty after all that running.
We recommend providing a water bottle to ensure the hamster doesn’t tip a shorter cup or bowl over and being without any water.
However, spills can occur, and the cage will require cleaning. We recommend cleaning the cage at least once every week.
Finally, it would be best to design a place within the hamster’s cage where it can relax and sleep. There are several cute options available for hamster huts.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Breeding
Female White dwarf hamsters are able to reproduce from the age of three to four weeks! It would be best if you researched before buying hamsters and request a double-check from the pet store worker, as some pet stores might accidentally sell pregnant hamsters.
Winter White hamsters have a higher chance of breeding during the warm months but may still produce small litters in winter. They usually make breeding attempts every 4 days because that’s how often the female hamsters will produce a unique scent for their males while in heat.
As soon as the female Winter White hamster is pregnant, she will carry the babies for about 18 to 25 days. The female hamster can even extend the pregnancy period if she feels threatened in her immediate environment!
It’s advisable to relocate the male hamster when the birth date is close. That’s because female hamsters become sexually active a few minutes after delivery and can get impregnated immediately, which isn’t healthy for her.
You can expect four to six healthy Winter White hamsters after the female has completed pregnancy! Unlike Syrian hamsters, Winter Whites are easy to encourage when it comes to mating.
Simply pair a female and make together in the same cage, and they’ll handle the rest! There might be a need to change the male if you don’t notice any progress for a considerable period.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster Food and Diet
Winter White hamsters love to run. Hence, they need a balanced and good diet. They are omnivores, which implies they eat seeds, plants, and meat (insects).
There are several kinds of hamster food available in pet stores, and here are some guidelines to help choose your pet’s diet. There are 2 kinds of food:
– Seed Hamster Food
Whatever kind of food you choose to purchase, ensure that it has the proper combination of seeds, grains, and nuts with 12 – 15 percent protein and 3-6 percent fat.
Historically, seed food has been the primary option when getting a Winter White hamster.
While it may seem okay for your hamster to eat its favorite seeds, it can become too picky. This can result in an unbalanced diet, and worse, the hamster won’t get the vitamins it requires.
So if you decide to opt for seed hamster food, ensure the hamster food bowl is empty before putting any more food.
– Pelleted Hamster Food
This feed ensures your pet gets all the necessary vitamins it requires. Pelleted hamster food is currently considered a better choice.
It contains a mix of everything, so your hamster gets a balanced diet from every bite it takes. Pelleted food typically looks like cookies, cereal, or small biscuits.
– Feeding Treats
You can include “normal” food as a major part of your hamster’s diet. Hamsters enjoy having treats, just like humans. Fortunately, most common household veggies can also be fed to hamsters as treats.
They love foods, such as carrots, spinach, cabbage, banana, etc. Insects and fresh or dried mealworms are also an ideal treat for them after successfully doing what you want.
There are also several other snacks that your hamster can eat. We recommend feeding your pet hamster one or two times a week.
How Much to Feed Your Winter White Hamster?
Ensure to feed your Winter White hamster a spoonful of food mix each day. You can supplement with fresh fruits and other hamster treats. Your hamster shouldn’t eat excess treats as Winter White hamsters are prone to diabetes.
– Foods to Avoid
Corn, white bread, and white rice should be avoided due to their high sugar content. Also, you want to avoid sugars, including dextrose, maltose, or fructose for your pets. Other foods you should avoid include highly acidic foods (oranges and citrus), onions, garlic, raisins, potatoes, and sprouts, because of toxicity risk.
Winter White Hamster Common Health Issues
While hamsters are reasonably hardy pets, you need to ensure you have an easily reachable exotics vet in case of emergencies. Here are some common health issues in Winter White hamsters:
- Respiratory infections
- Wet tail (diarrhea)
- Skin problems (mites)
- Injuries from sharp objects, falling or fights with house-mates
If your Winter White hamster is uncomfortable, you’ll notice one or two signs of illness or injury, such as sneezing, loss of energy, loss of appetite, wetness around its tail (or diarrhea), discharge from its eyes or nose, wheezing, hair loss (or excessive scratching), or hiding (unwillingness to socialize). If your pet appears to be injured or sick, you can keep them calm by ensuring they are warm, and contact your vet.
Winter White Hamster Care
Caring for your Winter White hamster is pretty straightforward. Ensure to provide a cage that’s large enough to prevent them from escaping, and feed them balanced diets with fresh water every day.
Also, they need some forms of enrichment in exercise wheels and hamster toys. If you have multiple Winter White hamsters, consider getting multiple toys to prevent territorial behavior and aggression. A good hamster will help them to run, as that’s their hobby!
While Winter White hamsters may not be as prone to diabetes as Campbell hamsters, always feed them a balanced diet to be on the safe side. Also, give them chewy toys and foods to help wear down their teeth; hamster teeth grow continuously!
Provide a dust-free and clean bedding material for your pet to live in. Also, keep a hiding area in the cage for your pet. Hamster huts are ideal for this.
It’s also essential to provide a ceramic bowl. Another thing to keep in mind is the weekly cage cleaning! All you need to maintain cleanliness in the hamster’s cage is a weekly change of bedding and general cleaning. You also want to avoid putting your pet cage in direct sunlight.
What Is Their Lifespan of Winter White Hamster?
Hamsters’ life span is relatively shorter than other pets, and Winter White hamsters are no different. They have a two-year life expectancy, which is the shortest of all hamster pets.
Although it’s a short time, it makes it easy for new pet owners who may not be ready for the ten-year commitment of cats and dogs.
And that’s why Winter White hamsters often make the first pets in a home. The life expectancy of hamsters can be influenced by several factors, which include:
- Housing environment
- Diet and nutrition
- Level of happiness
- Amount of exercise
How Big Do Winter White Dwarf Hamsters Get?
An average adult Winter White hamster is 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 inches) long. That’s about half a Syrian hamster’s size. They weigh an average of 30 grams.
Are Winter White Hamsters Good Pets?
If you’re looking to get a hamster pet, the Winter White hamster is a great option. These animals have a gentle temperament and are easy to tame. Winter White dwarf hamsters are a lovely and safe pet to keep.
They are calm animals that you can tame with ease. Once tamed, they can easily be picked up and stroked. To sum up, you need to consider the following facts before taking in a Winter White:
- Easy to tame
- Can live in groups, in pairs, or alone
- Awake at night and in the evening
- Relatively slow (unlike other dwarf hamsters)
- Very nice temperament
Keeping Winter White dwarf hamsters as pets is pretty simple. You only need a little knowledge, and this comprehensive article contains every resource you’ll need to care for and even breed Winter White hamsters.
If you’re looking to buy a Winter White hamster, you can check pets stores or a reputable breeder. Be sure it is healthy, energetic, and alert. It should have a dry tail, a shiny coat, bright eyes, and no eye or nasal discharge. Check the bedding quality to ensure it’s clean.