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Hamsters are scientifically classified into 18 different species, 13 of which live in the wild. The remaining 5 species are domesticated: the Golden (Syrian), the Roborovsky, the Chinese, the Dwarf Campbell’s Russian and the Giungarian hamster.

Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus)

This is one of the most popular hamster species. They are also sometimes called golden or teddy bears. They are very easy to care for and are also very suitable pets for children. They do not get along with other hamster species. From the age of 10 weeks, it is advisable to separate Syrian hamsters from other hamsters and keep them separately. They are nocturnal animals and are rarely active during the day.

Syrian hamsters come in a variety of shades and are one of the largest, with a body length of about 13cm. They have a very short tail, large axillary pouches and small eyes. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is between 2 and 2.5 years, although they sometimes live up to 4 years.

Russian Dwarf Campbell’s Hamsters (Phodopus campbellii)

these hamsters are wellThey are more adaptable than Syrian hamsters and can be housed together with hamsters of different sexes and species in the same cage. However, they do not like to be handled like Syrian hamsters, and may nip or bite when they are annoyed or frightened. Although they are nocturnal, they often wake up briefly during the day.

Dwarf Campbell’s Russian hamsters are very small, reaching only 5-8cm as adults. They weigh about 7 grams. The natural coat colour is greyish-brown with a darker stripe running down the back, as well as a cream colour on the sides and a white underbelly. These hamsters live on average about 2 years.

Roborovskii hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii)

This is another species of hamster that gets along well with hamsters of different sexes and species if introduced at an early age. Roborovski hamsters do not usually bite and are cute. Due to their excessive mobility and small size, it is advisable to keep these hamsters under observation and to keep them to a minimum. If you do hand-hold, it’s important to be in a place where it can’t escape or get caught easily. These hamsters are also nocturnal.

Roborovski’s hamsters are brown with a beige tinge, have a white belly, white spots around the eyes and sometimes a white muzzle. They are the smallest of the popular hamster species. Adult hamsters are only 4-5cm long. The average lifespan is longer than that of other hamster species, with a lifespan of 3-3,5 years.

Chinese hamsters (Cricetulus griseus)

Otherwise known as striped hamsters, these hamsters do not get along with other hamster species and are best kept separately. Although they can be aggressive with each other, they are friendly with humans and rarely bite. During the day, these hamsters are only alert for short periods of time and are most active at night. Chinese hamsters are often confused with Dwarf hamsters. Their body is similar to that of rats or mice – long and slender. These hamsters come in two shades: white with darker spots and dark brown with almosthas a long back and ivory-coloured belly. The average lifespan of a Chinese hamster is 1.5-2 years.

Jungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus)

The Djungarian hamster grows to about 10 cm, weighs 45 g and prefers a solitary lifestyle after reaching sexual maturity. They do not bite as much as Campbell’s hamsters and are not as nervous as Roborovski’s hamsters. But, like all dwarf hamsters, they are nevertheless better suited to being an object of observation. The soles of the hamster’s paws are lightly furred, and its fur changes colour when the temperature is below 16 degrees Celsius for a prolonged period. In this case, the fur becomes lighter in places. But it is extremely rare for it to turn absolutely white.

Like all hamster species, the Jungle Hamster has a strong urge to keep moving and, in the absence of such opportunities, this can lead to behavioural and health problems.

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