We often think about different breeds of cats and dogs when choosing a family pet, but what about hamsters? These little folks can vary by breed, too. From size, color, personality, and more… here’s what you should know about Winter White Dwarf Hamsters if you’re thinking of bringing home a new pet.
Behavior & Personality
Winter White Dwarf hamsters are peaceful pocket pets that are fairly easy to tame with enough patience. Like most small pets, you should expect your hamster to be shy at first but once they learn that they can trust you, they should become more sociable. Most hamster owners have reported less biting from the Winter White compared to other types of hamsters.
Like most small pets, the Winter White is nocturnal so they will be more active at night than during the day. This is something to consider when deciding where to keep the cage as hamsters can be quite noisy! You probably won’t want to keep their cage in a bedroom, unless you’re a very heavy sleeper.
Housing & Maintenance
When looking for a suitable cage for your hamster, you need to think about the spacing on wire cages. Winter White Dwarf hamsters reach a maximum length of 3” and can squeeze themselves through surprisingly tight spaces. Some people choose to use a glass reptile tank to avoid this issue, but then you will have to deal with poor air circulation and the potential health conditions to follow.
Luckily, there are cages designed for hamsters like the Lixit Savic Hamster Heaven or the Prevue Small Animal Home that are the perfect size for a Winter White Dwarf hamster with minimal spacing between bars.
- Extra large hamster cage with lots of accessories included
- Easy to assemble
- Quality plastic
- Designed to home a wide variety of small animals
- Tight 3/8'' wire spacing. Large tubby base offers room for exercise and accessories
- Extra deep 6 1/4'' tubby base
- 2 large entry doors - one on top and one on the side
- 32 ½'' L x 19'' W x 17 ½'' H with 3/8'' wire spacing
When setting up your hamster’s cage, you’ll need to provide bedding for comfort and burrowing purposes. A good quality bedding will also help reduce odors in the cage. Good choices include shredded paper or most commercial small animal bedding. You’ll want to avoid using pine or cedar bedding as they contain oils that are toxic for hamsters as well as anything that is scented.
For cleaning, it’s recommended that you remove soiled bedding and wipe down frequent potty areas around the cage. This will help reduce odors and the buildup of ammonia. Pieces of fresh food should also be removed daily.
Once per week, you need to replace soiled bedding and wipe down the entire cage and accessories with hot, soapy water while your hamster plays in a safe and secure spot. Ensure that any products you use are safe for use around animals and to rinse thoroughly to be on the safe side.
Food & Water
You can find high-quality hamster food locally at most major pet stores. Popular brands include Oxbow Animal Health Hamster and Gerbil Fortified Food, Kaytee Fiesta Hamster Food, and Sunseed Company Vitakraft Dwarf Hamster Formula.
Otherwise you can offer your Winter White Dwarf hamster a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds. Some popular choices of safe food include cucumbers, broccoli, cashews, oats, boiled eggs, and cooked plain chicken. Fruit should be offered sparingly due to its high sugar content, but you can be sure that your hamster will love apples, bananas, and grapes.
Beans, potatoes, citrus fruit, onions, and garlic have toxic properties for hamsters and should not be offered to your Winter White Dwarf hamster.
Like all animals, Winter White Dwarf hamsters need accessible fresh water daily.
Toys & Accessories
Toys are important for keeping your hamster occupied and reducing boredom. They provide opportunities to exercise and help reduce stress.
A hamster wheel is one of the most beloved hamster toys available. Most hamsters love using them, and they’re a great way to encourage regular exercise. Hamster balls are another popular choice for promoting exercise. For a Winter White Dwarf hamster, you’ll want to buy a 5” hamster ball, anything larger will be too difficult for them to move
Along with exercise, you will want to offer wooden chew toys marketed towards small animals. This will encourage healthy chewing while preoccupying your hamster throughout the day. Finally, don’t forget to include hiding spots and things to climb!
Other than toys, your hamster will need a water bottle, food dish, and litter box.
Winter White Dwarf Hamsters have an average life expectancy of 2 – 4 years when living under ideal conditions. Unfortunately, like most pets they are prone to certain health concerns.
Common ailments affecting hamsters can include respiratory infections, a bacterial infection called Wet Tail, abscesses, and skin issues like mites. Additionally, their small size and squirmy nature make them highly susceptible to injuries from falls and squabbles between cage mates.
Signs of injuries and illnesses include: Lethargy, lack of appetite, sneezing, hair loss, wheezing, diarrhea, and unexplained antisocial behavior.
Hamsters are relatively clean pets and should keep themselves clean through self-grooming. You can gently brush your Winter White Dwarf hamster’s fur, but you should avoid bathing them with water unless absolutely necessarily. Bathing can be a traumatic experience for a hamster, creating unnecessary stress and putting them at risk for shock. Not only that, but bathing can remove beneficial oil from your hamster’s fur.
An alternative to bathing is the sand bath. A sand bath is a commercial product designed for small animals to bathe themselves by rolling and playing in sand. You can purchase one from most pet stores, or you can make your own using a plastic container and pet-safe sand. Sand baths help remove excess grease and dirt while entertaining your hamster making them a great choice to add to hamster’s grooming routine.
Where to Buy Winter White Dwarf Hamsters
You can find Winter White Dwarf hamsters readily available at most big-name pet stores. When choosing a hamster to bring home, look for signs of good health like clear eyes, eating, active, and no bald patches on their body. Also, take a look around the enclosure. Do you notice any ill looking hamsters? Are there signs of diarrhea? Some illnesses are contagious, and you don’t want to risk bringing home an ill hamster!
A local breeder is another choice when it comes to finding a pet hamster, but they can be difficult to find depending on the demand in your area.