Chinese Hamsters & 20 Things You Should Know!

by HamsterCareTips

Learn everything you need to know about Chinese hamsters, including how to properly care for them, create a suitable habitat, and provide them with a healthy diet. Our ultimate guide is perfect for both new and experienced Chinese hamster owners.

What is Chinese Hamsters?

Chinese hamsters, also known as the striped dwarf hamster, is a small rodent species native to China and Mongolia. They are characterized by their distinct grey-brown or dark brown stripe that runs down their backs.

Chinese hamsters are popular pets due to their friendly temperament and low-maintenance care requirements. They typically weigh between 30-50 grams and have a lifespan of around two to three years.

Chinese Hamsters: Origin and History

Chinese hamsters, also known as striped hamsters or dwarf hamsters, are a species of hamster that originated from northern China and Mongolia. They were first discovered in the early 20th century by zoologist Charles W. Campbell. Chinese hamsters have been kept as pets since the 1950s and have become popular due to their small size and adorable appearance.

Unlike other hamster species, they have a long tail, which sets them apart. In the wild, Chinese hamsters are considered an endangered species due to habitat destruction caused by human activities. However, they are widely bred in captivity for the pet trade.


Chinese hamsters

Physical Characteristics of Chinese Hamsters

Chinese hamsters are small rodents that are commonly kept as pets. Here are some of their physical characteristics:

  • Size: Chinese hamsters are relatively small, growing to a length of around 7 to 10 cm (excluding the tail).
  • Body Shape: They have a slender, elongated body with a pointed snout and large, rounded ears.
  • Fur: Chinese hamsters have soft fur that is typically brownish-grey on their back and sides, with white or cream-colored fur on their belly.
  • Tail: Unlike other hamster species, Chinese hamsters have a long, hairless tail that can grow up to 4 cm in length.
  • Eyes: Their eyes are large and round, with black pupils and a dark eyeliner-like ring around them.

Overall, Chinese hamsters have a distinct and adorable appearance that makes them popular pets among pet owners.

Habitat and natural range of Chinese Hamsters

The natural range of Chinese hamsters includes areas of northern China and Mongolia, as well as parts of Russia and Kazakhstan. They typically inhabit grasslands, agricultural fields, and rocky terrain, and are known to burrow underground for shelter. In captivity, they are commonly kept as pets due to their small size, ease of care, and friendly demeanor.

Chinese Hamsters Behavior and Temperament

Chinese hamsters are small, active rodents that are generally considered friendly and easy to handle. They are known for their curious and playful demeanor, making them popular as pets.

In terms of behavior, Chinese hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. They are also burrowers by nature, so providing them with a suitable enclosure that allows them to dig and tunnel is important for their well-being.

As for temperament, Chinese hamsters are generally social creatures that enjoy the company of other hamsters. However, it’s important to introduce them to each other gradually and monitor their interactions to ensure they get along. Some individual Chinese hamsters may also be more shy or skittish than others, so patience and gentle handling can help build trust and confidence.

Overall, Chinese hamsters can make great pets for those willing to provide them with proper care and attention.

Size of Chinese Hamsters?

The size of Chinese hamsters can vary depending on their gender and age. On average, adult Chinese hamsters range from 3.5 to 4 inches (8.9 to 10.2 cm) in length and weigh between 1 to 2 ounces (28 to 57 grams). Male Chinese hamsters tend to be slightly larger than females.

Chinese Hamsters Care

Chinese hamsters are small, active rodents that make great pets. To care for a Chinese hamster, provide a cage that is at least 24 inches long and has plenty of bedding for burrowing. Offer a varied diet of high-quality hamster food, fresh vegetables, and occasional treats. Provide fresh water in a water bottle or dish.

Give your hamster plenty of opportunities to exercise by providing toys, an exercise wheel, and supervised playtime outside of the cage. Clean the cage regularly and look out for signs of illness. With proper care, Chinese hamsters can live up to three years or more.

Common Health Issues of Chinese Hamsters

Common health issues of Chinese hamsters include respiratory infections, dental problems, diarrhea, and wet tail. Respiratory infections can be caused by poor ventilation or exposure to drafts, while dental problems can result from a lack of chew toys or a diet that doesn’t wear teeth down properly.


Diarrhea can be caused by stress, poor diet, or bacterial infections, while wet tail is a severe form of diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and death if left untreated. Regular veterinary checkups and proper care can help prevent and treat these health issues in Chinese hamsters.

Nutrition and Feeding Requirements for Chinese Hamsters

Chinese hamsters have a varied diet in the wild, consuming insects, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. In captivity, a balanced diet should consist of a good quality commercial hamster food supplemented with fresh vegetables, fruits, and occasional protein sources such as mealworms or boiled egg.

Feeding should be done once a day in the evening, and the amount given should be adjusted according to the hamster’s age, weight, and activity level to prevent obesity. Fresh water should always be provided in a drip bottle or shallow dish, and the feeding area should be kept clean to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Housing and Cage Setup for Chinese Hamsters

To provide appropriate housing and cage setup for Chinese hamsters, a cage with a minimum floor space of 450 square inches and a minimum height of 12 inches is recommended. The cage should have solid flooring, multiple levels or platforms, and a hiding place.

Bedding material such as paper-based or aspen shavings should be used and changed regularly. A water bottle and food dish, as well as toys and a wheel for exercise, should also be provided. The cage should be kept in a draft-free area, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

Chinese Hamsters breeding and Reproduction

Chinese hamsters are relatively easy to breed in captivity, with females reaching sexual maturity at around 6-8 weeks and males at around 10-12 weeks. It is recommended to breed them at around 3-5 months old to ensure they are fully matured.

When introducing a male and female for breeding, it is important to monitor them closely to ensure they are compatible and do not fight. Once mating occurs, the gestation period is approximately 18-21 days, after which the female will give birth to litters of 4-8 pups on average.

It is important to provide a suitable nesting area for the female to give birth and care for her young. The pups should not be disturbed or handled until they are at least two weeks old to allow them to bond with their mother and establish feeding patterns.

Overall, Chinese hamsters can be successfully bred and produce healthy offspring if given proper care and attention during the breeding and reproductive process.

Grooming and Maintenance for Chinese Hamsters

Grooming and maintenance for Chinese Hamsters involve several essential tasks to keep them healthy and comfortable:

  • Brush their fur regularly: Chinese hamsters have dense fur that requires regular grooming to prevent tangles and matting. Use a soft bristle brush to gently comb their fur.
  • Clean their cage frequently: Clean the cage at least once a week, removing any soiled bedding and replacing it with fresh material. Wipe down the cage with a mild pet-safe disinfectant solution.
  • Provide proper nutrition: Feed your Chinese hamster a balanced diet that includes high-quality pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Avoid giving them sugary or fatty treats.
  • Check for health issues: Regularly check your hamster’s eyes, ears, teeth, and skin for any signs of infection or illness. If you notice anything unusual, consult a veterinarian immediately.
  • Exercise: Provide your Chinese hamster with a wheel or other toys to encourage exercise and mental stimulation.

By following these grooming and maintenance practices, you can ensure that your Chinese hamster stays healthy and happy.


Chinese hamsters

Chinese Hamsters Lifespan

The average lifespan of Chinese hamsters is around 2 to 3 years in captivity.

How many types of Chinese Hamsters are there?

There are two types of Chinese hamsters: the wild type and the domesticated type. The wild type is also known as the gray or dark-bellied Chinese hamster, while the domesticated type is known as the golden or yellow-bellied Chinese hamster.

Chinese Hamsters as Pets

Chinese hamsters are small, active, and social animals that make great pets for those who have the time and resources to care for them properly. They require a cage with plenty of space to run and play, as well as toys and activities to keep them mentally stimulated.

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so they are most active during the evening and night hours. A proper diet includes a mix of commercial hamster food, fresh vegetables and fruits, and occasional treats. Chinese hamsters also need access to clean water at all times.

It is important to handle them gently and frequently from an early age to ensure they become comfortable with human interaction. Providing a variety of hiding places and nesting materials will also help them feel secure.

Overall, Chinese hamsters can make wonderful pets for responsible and committed owners who are willing to provide the necessary care and attention they need to thrive.

Interactions with Other Pets and Humans

Interactions with other pets and humans refer to the social interactions that a pet has with individuals and animals outside of their immediate household. These interactions can have a significant impact on a pet’s overall well-being, as they contribute to their physical and emotional health.

Positive interactions with other pets and humans can help build a pet’s confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote healthy socialization. However, negative interactions, such as aggression or fear, can lead to behavioral issues and may require professional intervention.

Pet owners can help facilitate positive interactions by providing their pets with plenty of opportunities for socialization, proper training and guidance, and a safe and controlled environment. It’s important for pet owners to monitor their pets’ behavior during interactions and intervene if necessary to prevent any negative incidents.

Overall, interactions with other pets and humans are essential for a pet’s well-being, and it’s up to pet owners to ensure that their pets receive the appropriate socialization and training to thrive in these situations.

Training and Handling Techniques for Chinese Hamsters

Training and handling techniques for Chinese hamsters involve providing a safe and secure environment, socialization through gentle interactions, and positive reinforcement. This can include offering treats, toys, and praise for desired behaviors such as climbing onto your hand or being held.

It’s important to handle them with care, as they are small and delicate animals that can easily be injured if dropped or squeezed too tightly. Additionally, providing them with a balanced diet, clean living space, and regular vet check-ups can contribute to their overall wellbeing.

Chinese Hamsters Gender Differences

Chinese hamsters exhibit gender differences in their physical appearance and reproductive anatomy. Male Chinese hamsters are typically larger in size than females, have a more prominent scrotum, and possess scent glands on their flanks.

Female Chinese hamsters have a smaller body size, have a prominent genital papilla, and possess mammary glands for nursing their offspring. Additionally, female Chinese hamsters have a four-day estrous cycle and can become pregnant at six to eight weeks of age, while males become sexually mature at around three months of age.

Different Varieties and Colors of Chinese Hamsters

Chinese hamsters come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some of the most common colors are gray, brown, and black. However, they can also have a mix of colors or a unique pattern like the dorsal stripe that runs down their backs.

There are also different varieties of Chinese hamsters, including the dominant spot, recessive spot, and banded varieties. The dominant spot Chinese hamsters have white spots on their bodies, while the recessive spot Chinese hamsters have larger, more irregular spots.

Banded Chinese hamsters have distinct banding around their bodies, which gives them a striped appearance. In addition to these varieties, there are also satin, long-haired, and short-haired Chinese hamsters.

Overall, Chinese hamsters offer a range of colors and patterns, making them a popular choice for pet owners looking for a unique and colorful companion.

Comparison of Chinese Hamsters with Other Hamster Breeds

Chinese hamsters (Cricetulus griseus) are a type of hamster that differ from other popular breeds such as Syrian, dwarf, and Roborovski hamsters in several ways.

Firstly, Chinese hamsters have a longer, more slender body shape compared to the rounder builds of other hamster breeds. They are also more agile and active, known for their climbing ability and love of exercise wheels.

Secondly, Chinese hamsters have a longer lifespan than most other hamster breeds, with an average lifespan of 2-3 years. They also tend to be less prone to health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

Lastly, Chinese hamsters have distinct physical features such as a dorsal stripe down their back and a white belly, unlike other hamster breeds which have more varied coat colors and patterns.

Overall, Chinese hamsters are a unique and rewarding pet option for those looking for a more active and long-lived hamster breed with interesting physical characteristics.


Why is my Chinese Hamsters Squeaking?

Your Chinese hamster might be squeaking for various reasons, including:

  • Communication: Hamsters use vocalizations to communicate with each other. Your hamster may be squeaking to express happiness, fear, or even to signal aggression.
  • Pain or discomfort: Squeaking can also be a sign that your hamster is in pain or discomfort. Check for any signs of injury or illness, such as limping or lack of appetite.
  • Environmental factors: Loud noises or sudden changes in the environment may cause your hamster to become stressed and start squeaking.
  • Attention-seeking: Some hamsters may squeak to get attention from their owners. Make sure your hamster has plenty of toys and interaction with you to keep them entertained.

If you are unsure why your hamster is squeaking, it’s best to observe their behavior carefully and consult with a veterinarian if necessary.

How to Tame Chinese Hamsters?

To tame Chinese hamsters, start by giving them time to acclimate to their new environment. Once they are comfortable in their cage, begin offering them treats from your hand and speaking to them softly. Gradually increase physical contact with the hamster, such as gently petting or holding them, while continuing to offer treats and positive reinforcement.

It’s important to be patient and consistent with this process, as it can take several weeks or even months for a hamster to become fully tamed.

Why is my Chinese Hamsters Sleeping At Night?

Chinese hamsters are nocturnal and naturally adapted to sleeping during the day and being active at night. This is because in their natural habitat, they need to avoid predators during the day when their burrows are more visible and hunt for food at night.

Therefore, it is completely normal for your Chinese hamster to sleep during the night and be more active during the day. It is important to provide them with a quiet and dark environment during their sleeping hours to ensure they get proper rest.

Why is my Chinese Hamsters not Drinking Water?

There could be several reasons why your Chinese hamster is not drinking water. One possibility is that it is getting enough hydration from its food. Another possibility is that the water source is not clean or fresh enough, or that the container is too small or difficult to access.

Additionally, certain health conditions or medications can cause a decrease in thirst. If you are concerned about your hamster’s drinking habits, it may be best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in small animals.

Why do Chinese Hamsters Bite Their Cage?

Chinese hamsters may bite their cage due to a variety of reasons, including boredom, stress, lack of space, or a desire to explore. It is important to ensure that the hamster’s cage is appropriately sized, enriched with toys and hiding spots, and cleaned regularly. Providing ample opportunities for exercise, social interaction, and mental stimulation can also help prevent cage-biting behavior.

Why is my Chinese Hamsters So Small?

Chinese hamsters are naturally small in size compared to other types of hamsters. They typically grow to be around 3-5 inches long and weigh between 1-2 ounces as adults. However, if your Chinese hamster seems significantly smaller than this, it could be due to factors such as poor diet, genetics, or health issues.

Ensuring that your hamster has a balanced and nutritious diet, adequate exercise, and proper medical care can help promote their growth and overall well-being.


Chinese hamsters

Why is my Chinese Hamsters Losing Hair?

Chinese hamsters commonly lose hair for several reasons, including stress, old age, skin infections, allergies, poor nutrition, and mites. To determine the specific cause and appropriate treatment, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian experienced in treating small animals or a qualified pet store professional.

It’s also important to provide your hamster with a clean and comfortable living environment, a balanced diet, and regular grooming to help prevent hair loss and maintain their overall health.

Why is my Chinese Hamsters Turning Grey?

Chinese hamsters can turn grey due to a variety of factors, such as aging, stress, genetics, or health issues. As hamsters age, their fur color may naturally fade or change. Stressful environments or handling can also cause greying in hamsters. In some cases, genetics may also play a role in the change of fur color.

Additionally, health issues such as hormonal imbalances or skin infections can lead to changes in fur color. It is best to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems and ensure your hamster is healthy.

Why are chinese hamsters illegal in california?

Chinese hamsters are not necessarily illegal in California, but they are regulated and restricted. This is because they are considered an invasive species that could potentially harm the state’s ecosystem. Invasive species can compete with native species for resources and disrupt the balance of the local environment. As a result, it is important to carefully regulate their ownership and transport.

Why are chinese hamster ovary cells used?

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are commonly used in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for producing recombinant proteins, vaccines, and other biological products. CHO cells are used primarily because they can produce a wide range of post-translational modifications to proteins, including glycosylation, which is important for the function and stability of many therapeutic proteins.

Furthermore, CHO cells are relatively easy to cultivate and can grow quickly to high densities, making them a cost-effective choice for large-scale production of complex biologics.


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