Though hamsters are mammalians, they are classified as rodents also, because of their constant need to gnaw, in order to keep their continuously growing incisors at a comfortable, workable size. They have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, but suffer from poor eyesight. Since they are adorable, cute and friendly, hamsters are considered as one of the favorite pets to be owned. They are low maintenance as well, who love to stay clean and are basically odorless. Hamsters feed on grains, fruits, grasses, seeds and insects while in the wild. However, when kept as pets, they can be fed on grains, seeds, pellets, fruits and vegetables that have been chopped small. There are mainly five types of hamsters. Read on to know about each one of them in detail.
Different Kinds Of Hamsters
Measuring around 4 to 9 cm in length, Roborovski hamsters are the smallest hamsters. Originated in Mongolia and Northern Chins, they are yellow brown in color with a short tail and striking whiskers. They are the most active and lively of all hamsters. They make excellent pets for those who like to watch them from a distance and do not like to be held and cuddled. The average lifespan of a Roborovski hamster is 3 to 4 years.
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamsters
Originating from Kazakhstan and southwest Siberia, Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters measure about 8 to 10 cm and are found in colors of white, sandy, gray, brown and even a double color coat. Also referred to as Siberian hamsters or Djungarian Dwarf hamsters, they develop a thicker coat in the cold winter days. This hamster has a spine that curves towards the rear, thus giving it an oval or bullet-like shape. Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters live for about 1½ to 2 years of age.
Chinese hamsters are long tailed dwarf hamsters with a length of about 10 to 12 cm. They are mouse-looking hamsters that originated in China and have only three coat colors - brown, white, and grey and white. They are extremely timid and quick, making it difficult to catch them. Hence, they are generally not kept as pets. They have a lifespan of about 1½ to 2 years.
Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters
Found in the semi deserts of Central Asia, Mongolia, Altai Mountains and Northeastern China, Dwarf Campbell’s Russian hamsters measure about 8 to 11 cm. They are brownish in color, with a distinct stripe down the spine. With a round plump body and furry feet, they are social animals and make great pets. They are known to nip clumsy handlers, if irritated. Dwarf Campbell’s Russian hamsters live up to 1½ to 2½ years, on an average.
Syrian/ Golden Hamsters
Measuring around 12 to 16 cm in length, Syrian or Golden hamsters are the most common types of pet hamsters. They are fiery golden in color and are sometimes called fancy or standard hamsters as well. The longhaired Syrian hamster is called the “teddy bear” hamster; while the dark, longer haired version is known as the European black bear hamster. A Syrian or golden hamster lives for about 2 to 4 years.