The Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster
The winter white dwarf hamster is rather alike to the Campbell’s hamster. They both have the same number of chromosomes and can be bred to produce hybrids (though it is NOT advised). They grow to the same size roughly of the Campbell’s hamster; about 2 to 3 inches long and also have the rounder figure and furred feet and tail.
They have a more Romanesque profile in their noses and also can change colour in the winter. As days shorten the light levels can trigger the winter whites to turn white as the name suggests.
Their body tends to be more egg (oval) shaped compared to campbells, and less broad. Their wild colour is also known as normal (or agouti) it differs slightly to the Campbell’s colour it is usually a more vibrant shade compared to the dulled Campbell’s tone and also a shade or so darker, it is also more defined on the arches giving a greater contrast between colours, like with the Campbell’s their colours also feature the dorsal stripe.
There are fewer colours in winter whites than there are in Campbell’s, but personally I believe winter whites to be the cuter of the two. Winter whites fur tends to be softer than a campbells, very thick and dense, giving the animal an almost chinchilla like feel.
These hamsters live best in pairs rather than in colonies I find, with male pairs coping better than female, though you do still sometimes find yourself with one winter white to a tank. Being alone though they are a social animal is fine as long as they are in a stimulating environment, you as owner can help fill the void of a missing cage mate.
They tend to be very placid critters, sitting on your hand like a soft furred squashed tennis ball doing very little. Some people find that off putting as they will often just sit there to be stroked. The can be noisy when in pairs as they will often squeak at each other. This is often simple communication along the lines of ‘get off my head’ or ‘this is my nut/water bottle’, and will stick to just squeaks that sound rather like sweep from ‘sooty and sweep’. If the pitch changes or the squeaking goes on for a prolonged time investigate though, as one hamster could be bulling the other, or a fight could have broken out. With winter whites though fighting is often done is silence, and its only the little things they are noisy about.