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Chinese Hamsters

Updated on March 21, 2012

Agreeing to a hamster

At the weekend, my daughter Lyndsey was 11 years old. She received some lovely gifts as well as some money from her relatives. Most of the weekend was spent begging her step-dad and I to let her buy a hamster. I sat down and worked out a list of pros and cons of allowing her to keep a hamster, and eventually gave in and took her to the pet shop yesterday to choose a furry friend. Before I could say "are you sure about this Lyndsey?", she had chosen a rather lovely female Chinese Hamster, a pink girly cage and a trolley full of accessories for the cute little critter.

While the assistant packaged newly named "Tinkerbelle" into a carry box, Lyndsey proceeded to the check-out, proudly announcing that she was now a mum!


Meet Tinkerbelle!
Meet Tinkerbelle!
Tinkerbelle's new home.
Tinkerbelle's new home.

Chinese Hamsters

Chinese hamsters are much smaller than the traditional Syrian Hamsters which are the more popular choice of pet. Originating from China and Mongolia, they are very distinctly marked with a black stripe down their back and a white underside. They look like a small mouse, but without the long tail. Adults grow to around 7-9cm in length. Although they are small in size, they are not of the dwarf variety, but often mistakenly referred to as dwarf hamsters. They are easy to handle, but are very quick and can get into the smallest of spaces. Male Chinese Hamsters can be kept in pairs; although it is not advisable to keep females in pairs as they can become aggressive with each other.

Housing a Chinese Hamster

An aquarium style house is more suitable to this type of hamster, as they can escape through the bars of a traditional cage type hamster house. They will need a little house or box with bedding to sleep in and some hamster safe shavings or shreddings to run around in. Some pet stores offer a hamster starter pack as part of the deal when you buy the house.

Feeding guide for Chinese Hamsters

Hamster specific mixes are available to buy at pet shops and their diet can be supplemented by some fresh fruit and vegetables in very small quantities, as too much can result in diarrhea.

Suitable fruit and vegetables:

Strawberries, apple (no seeds), papaya, cantaloupe, banana, melon, pear, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, celery, carrots, corn, peas, squash.

Chinese Hamsters are prone to diabetes, therefore, their diet should be monitored very carefully.

Always replace the feeding bottle with a fresh supply of water each day.


Happy Hamsters

Chinese hamsters are semi-nocturnal animals, but will come out for an hour or two in the day. To keep your pet happy, you should invest in a few "toys" to avoid them becoming bored. These are a few ideas to keep them contented:

Small teddy/bed buddy (especially if they are kept on their own)

Log or tunnel with holes in (they love to hide and explore)

Wheel (for exercise)

Runner ball

Wooden hamster sticks (to gnaw on, as their teeth grow constantly)

Mineral stone (will maintain health and provide essential minerals)

Ladders, blocks, etc will all add to the quality of your hamster's life.

Playtime

Playtime for your furry friend is just as important as its diet. Letting your hamster run around gives them a change of surroundings and gives you the opportunity to play with and handle them. My daughter takes Tinkerbelle out of her cage once a day for an hour or so and puts her in a hamster play pen with a selection of toys. Chinese hamsters love to play, and once tame they like to be handled and cling on with their tiny paws.


A hamster playpen will allow your pet to play safely without escaping.
A hamster playpen will allow your pet to play safely without escaping.

Their life expectancy is around 2-3 years. Once they are tame, they love to be handled and very rarely nip. Chinese hamsters make wonderful pets, but as they are very fast, they are not recommended for younger children.

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    • jacqui2011 profile image
      Author

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi Nell, I hadn't really known about Chinese Hamsters until a few months ago. They are quite cute. I was worried about how our cat would react, but he just had a sniff through the cage and hasn't been near since. I had a hamster as a kid (Hammy - original name!!) but it was much bigger than Tinkerbelle. Thanks for stopping by. Best wishes.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, I never knew they were Chinese hamsters! I knew they looked different, but I had only seen one before, how cute! I have had two pet rats before, loved my little bobo to bits! it was a lovely fat white one! but the last time I had a hamster was when I was a kid, fascinating, and happy birthday to your daughter!

    • jacqui2011 profile image
      Author

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi Lesley, she adores her new little friend. It is only 10 weeks old and sleeps most of the time. I'm just getting used to the noise it makes on the exercise wheel during the night, as they are nocturnal! It was worth getting it to see the expression on my daughters face. So far she has cleaned it out and given fresh food and water every day.x

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi jacqui, I have never had a hamster, I have kept rabbits and guinea pigs over the years!

      I am sure your daughter will love her pet!

      Voting up, best wishes Lesley

    • jacqui2011 profile image
      Author

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ SubRon7 - I certainly would appreciate the countryside. I buy a ticket every week, no luck so far. Maybe this week!

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Foxes in the garden, wow! I have no foxes, have seen one in the 12 years I've lived here. Yes, those darn lottery numbers! I buy tickets about every two weeks. Good luck getting back to the country, as the country needs people living in the country who "appreciate" the country.

    • jacqui2011 profile image
      Author

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ SubRon7 - I envy you living deep in the country. That is my goal one day to have a house in the country. We live in a semi-rural location and do have foxes living in the garden. I would love to have lots of animals one day. Just need to hope my lottery numbers come up at the weekend! Lol. Thank you for stopping by, your comments mean a lot to me. Best wishes.

    • jacqui2011 profile image
      Author

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ Jeannieinabottle - Thanks for stopping by. She absolutely adores Tinkerbelle, rushing home from school to see her. The playpen is great for her as she gets to run around and have a change of scenery. Thank you for the comment and the vote up.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      What a neat story, and now I am jealous of your daughter having a new pet. I would love to have pets and tame animals coming out my ears, and I live deep in the country so it would be possible. But with my busy life and so often gone I choose not to have anything that needs care, except wild birds, and their feeders can last 2-3 days. When I was about 10 to about 14 I kept an aquarium with tadpoles/frogs, snails and salamanders, which I figured would all love each other and like each other's company. One day I saw the salamander making short work of one of the tadpoles. A life lesson, so I released the salamander back into the marsh. As I grew older and got a car I traveled to larger marshes and began catching a large number of different creatures that I loved learning to identify.

      I commend you, Jackie, for allowing your daughter to take responsibility for a pet. Great hub!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      My first hamster was a Chinese Hamster named Daisy. I loved her much! Your daughter's hamster looks just like her. She was a wonderful little hamster and she never escaped as much as my two hamsters I got after her (both Syrian hamsters). I am sure your daughter will adore her! Voted up and awesome!

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