Popular for being docile and sociable, the Russian hamster is a type of domesticable rodent that, in addition, does not require excessive care.
These animals tend to be more active at night, while during the day they usually sleep.
They should eat a wide variety of foods that allow them to maintain a healthy life.
They can eat seeds and some insects. In the homes Your diet can be based on sunflower seeds, corn, barley,safflower and insects like grasshoppers and mealworms. Fresh and clean water should not be lacking.
The hamster's feeding cannot be complete without the proteins, present in meat and fish.
Those who have a rodent of this species as a pet can feed it with tuna, boiled chicken, cooked egg white, unprocessed cheeses or skimmed yogurt.
Russian hamsters, unlike other hamster species, tend to develop diabetes, so it is advisable not to feed them foods that contain sugar, such as sweets, fruit, corn, refined products, bread or rice.
The Russian hamster has a small size, measures between 7 and 11 centimeters in length and can weigh between 35 and 50 grams.
The tail is short and the body is rounded. Its coat may have brown, gray and white tones.
They are characterized by having a black spot on the man and a line of the same color that runs along the back. Normally the belly is white.
His life expectancy is around 1.5 or 2 years, although it depends a lot on the genetic quality of the specimen and the care it receives.
As happens to the rest of hamsters, they reach sexual maturity when they reach 2 months. In the case of the females, they have the zeal every 4 days.
These animals have an incredible reproductive capacity: if the male fertilizes the female, it will begin gestation, which will last between 18 and 21 days, after which the female will give birth to 4, 8 or up to 12 offspring.
They are more active at night. During the day they usually remain asleep.
They are lonely and it is not advisable to live with others of the same sex, because they are very territorial and it is easy for them to be attacked.
Even the female can get to attack her partner if she is in heat or in childbirth, to protect her young.
Those who lead a free and wild life have a habit of hibernating.
They come from the steppes of Kasajastán, Siberia and Mongolia.
Size, weight and color of the Russian hamster
On average, a Russian hamster is 3 to 5 inches long. The male is usually longer than the female. This hamster is about half the size of a Syrian hamster. You can weigh less in winter and more in summer.
The weight of a male hamster can be between 19 grams to 45 grams, while a female can be between 19 grams to 36 grams.
The color of the coat can be light or dark gray, sapphire or golden yellow or orange, pearl sapphire or pearl. A dark, dorsal stripe runs throughout your body. Those in captivity exhibit more variety in their fur than those found in the wild. Pet hamsters may be slightly heavier.
Buy a Russian hamster
The Average lifespan of a Russian hamster As a pet it is 1 to 3 years old, choose a young hamster. In the wild, they can live for only one year.
Choose a healthy hamster. Your eyes and nose should be clear and there should be no hairless pieces in your fur. Wet tails are infectious diseases that have been proven to be fatal. If you notice a hamster with a wet tail, do not buy it.
First identify the genus of the hamster with the help of a store employee and then buy it (It is a bit complicated to identify the genus of a very young hamster).
Russian hamster habitat
You can keep the hamster in a cage or fish tank. The cage bars should not be far apart, but the hamsters will easily escape. Since hamsters are nocturnal animals, they will shriek, scratch, hit or use the mill quite a bit during the night, so put the cage away from your room. These small pets should be protected from cats, dogs and other potential predators. Do not put the box directly in the sun.
Put a trough in the cage (bite proof) filled with fresh, clean water. The drinker comes with an adjustable hanger.
Instead of a plastic bowl, take a clay bowl and use it as a food dish. As they constantly need something to chew, they can chew the plastic, drown in it or ingest it and die. Put the bowl and bed on different levels.
If you want, you can buy a bath house and sand baths for your pet. Hamsters should never be washed with water. They can enjoy a sand bath. Add only a little sand in the bath house at a time.
As Russian hamsters are energetic and agile animals, you should buy a running mill (a 6.5-inch mill for one or two hamsters). Wildly, hamsters travel a lot, in search of food and soft and warm material for their burrows. In captivity, along with a good diet, exercises can keep them healthy and active. A solid mill is recommended, this allows easy movements and helps prevent wounds.
Distribute some wood chips on the floor of the cage. Do not distribute fine sawdust as it can irritate hamsters' eyes. Similarly, avoid using cedar or pine shavings as well as aromatic oils as they can cause allergic reactions and irritate hamsters. A non-toxic, soft and highly absorbent bed is commercially available. This also helps control the smell. Man-made beds (made of cloth or other materials) should be avoided. The limbs of the hamster can get stuck in it.
Create some places to hide for your pet. It will make you feel happy and protected. You can use a roll of toilet paper for this purpose. A cage with multiple compartments and internal connecting tubes comes with several places to hide. They also like to hide their food in these places.
Diet of the small Russian rodent
Hamsters they must be fed with a good dry and well balanced mix of hamster feed. It contains all the essential nutrients. Since hamsters are more active at night, you should also feed them at night.
Hamsters' teeth grow continuously in their life. Therefore, provide them with chewing sticks. Non-toxic wooden chew toys, etc., help keep teeth under control.
You can occasionally feed it with fruits, seeds, nuts, cereals, mealworms, vegetables, and some cooked poultry meat. Excessive amounts of this can cause diarrhea.
A lot of lettuce in food can affect the functioning of the liver.
Change the bed whenever required.
Remains and old food should be removed from the cage properly. The cage must be cleaned weekly. It is not necessary to wash the cage, use a cleaner that is designed to clean the cages of small rodents.
Mating and breeding
A female Russian hamster will mate at will with a male if they have grown together since young. These hamsters create ties between couples. They prefer to create monogamous ties. Pregnant females treat the male viciously. Males can hide in the tubes.
Russian hamsters have a gestation period of 18 to 25 days.
There is no specific mating season, they mate all year. Its population can grow significantly in a short period of time. Although, a female is less likely to conceive in the presence of several males.
Usually, a litter consists of 4 to 8 puppies, but there can be 10 to 14 puppies in a litter. The litter is weaned in 18 days. Small puppies depend on their parents for food and body heat.
Hamster parents have hormonal fluctuations similar to mothers around birth time. The presence of the father has an important role in the survival of the puppies. The male hamster should not be removed from the cage after the birth of the puppies. When the mother leaves the place, he keeps them warm. When the mother feeds them and takes care of them, he brings her food.
Russian hamsters can mate every 4 or 6 months. Since the hamster's heat cycle lasts 4 days, the female is in heat every four days and is ready to accept a male again to mate.
After giving birth to several puppies, the female can get pregnant on the same day.
Young puppies can act aggressively with each other. You should remove the litter from the cage when the puppies are 3 weeks old (or at the time they are weaned), but the mother can cannibalize the litter.
These hamsters can delay the implantation or development of the embryo. If the puppies in the existing litter do not grow at the desired rate, pregnancies can be delayed 3 to 7 days.
Short periods of sunlight can not only cause the color change of the coat, but also temporarily reduce body temperature. This can cause a complete collapse in reproductive abilities. Similarly, an increase in room temperature and lack of water can affect your fertility.
Common diseases and medical care
As mentioned earlier, Russian hamsters are allergic to oils in cedar and pine shavings. Oil can cause respiratory and digestive problems.
Sharp objects can damage the fragile inner skin of your bags in cheeks.
The consumption of fruits, nuts and vegetables can cause stomach upset. Let them drink a lot of water. Provide only solid dry food blends. Diarrhea can cause dehydration and even death.
Other health problems include bite wounds, broken teeth, skin infection, constipation, misalignment of the teeth of the two jaws and problems in the ears.
Hybrid mating can cause reproductive and health problems. Hybridizing (for example, mating a Campbell dwarf hamster and a Russian hamster) may eventually risk the existence of the two pure species.
The presence of ticks can cause itching and irritation, you can use anti-tick atomizers designed for small animals or birds. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the cage, bowl, toys, etc. It can help keep diseases away.
With proper hygiene, food and care, Russian hamsters should not have health problems. Although, it has been found that like most rodents, these hamsters tend to suffer from tumors. A regular check-up by a veterinarian can help avoid serious health problems.
Your pet hamsters can be accustomed to your voice and can respond in various ways, when they are called by name. The Russian hamster is advisable for both children and adults. Although, children who begin to walk should not be allowed to handle them, since they scratch very quickly if they are disturbed.
I can have two Russian hamsters in a cage
Yes, you can have two Russian hamsters living together because they are sociable, unlike golden hamsters, who must live alone. But they have to be same sex hamsters, that is, 2 females or two males. If not, by joining a male with a female, they will reproduce without control.
Another requirement for a good coexistence is that both hamsters have been raised together, or that have been known since very young (maximum two months of age).
Besides, the cage must be large enough So they don't get stressed. And keep in mind that there may always be some less sociable than average specimens that prefer to live alone. If that is the case of one of your hamsters, you will have to be alert, and if you notice that the hamsters you have together fight or become aggressive, you will have to separate them into two cages, quickly.