Facts about Chinese Hamsters, "Scientific name for Chinese Hamstersis Cricetulus griseus" Chinese Hamsters are sometimes called Cricetulus barabensis griseus or Cricetulu aureus. Chinese Hamsters are native to northeast China and were first domesticated around 1920.
Appearance of Chinese Hamsters
The Chinese Hamster resembles a mouse with a short tail. The Chinese Hamster is closely related to the Chinese Striped Hamster, but the Chinese Striped Hamster has a more prominent dorsal stripe.
Physical Characteristics of Chinese Hamsters
The Chinese Hamsters are long and slender. They have a shorter tail than a mouse. Chinese Hamsters are around four inches long. The most common color of the Chinese Hamster is brown with a black dorsal stripe. Some of the Chinese Hamsters have a white body with patches of color on it. In both cases, the stomach is mostly white.
Chinese Hamsters live two and a half to three years but some live as long as four years. Chinese Hamsters become sexually mature at five weeks of age.
Behavior of Chinese Hamsters
Chinese Hamsters will cling to the handler’s hand once they have been acclimated to the person. You can speed up this process by hand feeding them before trying to handle them.
The Chinese hamster is territorial, especially the females. The Chinese Hamster can be kept individually, in breeding pairs if you don’t mind a constant stream of babies or single sex groups. Introduce the Chinese Hamsters you want to live together before they are eight weeks old to maximize the odds of peaceful cohabitation. When introducing a male to a female, introduce them in a box or his cage. Adding the male to her cage is likely to lead to fighting.
The female can go into heat the day after giving birth. Remove the male when the babies are born unless you want more babies.
Care and Raising of Chinese Hamsters
Keep the Chinese Hamsters in mice cages or glass aquariums with a mesh top. Check the size of the Chinese Hamster before putting it in a mice cage, since adolescents can squeeze through the bars.
Give the Chinese Hamster plenty of bedding. These are natural nesters. Three inches of nesting material is a minimum. You can use shredded paper for nesting, wood shavings, hay, straw, and other materials. Don’t use cedar chips, since the oil can irritate their skin. Aspen chips are fine.
The Chinese Hamsters are omnivores and should be fed seed mixes or hamster pellets. They can eat hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and other seeds. Chinese Hamsters enjoy chewing on dog biscuits. They can be given low sugar fruits and vegetables. Chinese Hamsters will also enjoy chewing on carrots, slices of cucumber and broccoli. Don’t give them tomatoes, tomato tops, raw potatoes, potato tops or corn. Chinese hamsters can develop diabetes. The risk of this is minimized by avoiding fruits high in sugar. For example, don’t give the Chinese Hamster raisins or peas.
Your Chinese Hamster can catch the cold virus from you sow ash your hands before handling them.
Trivia about Chinese Hamsters
Putting the gene for a protein into Chinese Hamster ovary eggs causes the egg to produce the protein. This is why the Chinese Hamster is still regularly used in biomedical research in addition to white rats.
The Chinese Hamster is classified as a pest in California and New Jersey. In those states, you have to have a permit to own them, much less breed them.