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Talk to me about Russian Dwarf Hamsters

(24 Posts)
Pombliboo123 Sat 28-Oct-17 16:28:09

So I've never had hamsters before... I had mice when I was a little girl but my mum mostly looked after them grin

Not a new animal owner, have 2 dogs and a bunny rabbit.

However I absolutely fell in love with these little guys at the pet store today.

What can you tell me about them smile

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 28-Oct-17 17:12:04

First rule of keeping hamsters, ignore anything you are told in the pet shop (Pets at Home are especially notorious for peddling dangerous nonsense about hamsters) unless you can verify it from an independent and trustworthy source.

Much of keeping Russian dwarves is the same as other hamsters except
- they're crosses between Campbell's dwarves and Winter White dwarves (two different species) at some point in their ancestry, so dwarf hybrid is a more accurate term. This leaves them especially prone to diabetes and so they need a very low sugar diet (e.g. as a treat veg is fine, fruit... not so much) and no matter how hard you try some will still develop it. vectishams.webs.com/diabetesinhamsters.htm
- pet shops will often tell you that you can keep them together in pairs. However, sooner or later almost all pairs will start fighting and have to be separated immediately and permanently - if you don't, one will kill the other. It's best to just keep one alone.

They're pretty fast and can be quite difficult to handle - impossible for children. Having had both a Syrian and a Russian dwarf, to be blunt I wouldn't get another Russian dwarf... Syrians are invariably friendlier and easier to handle

Do note that even though they're small, they need big cages - bigger than those sold in Pets at Home (their "large" cage is about half the minimum. www.Zooplus.co.uk sell some excellent and good value cages - Alaska, Barney and Alexander in particular. My Russian dwarf is in an Alaska (great budget option) and the Syrian is in an Alexander (equally suitable for a Russian dwarf). They also need a 20cm diameter wheel, deep bedding to burrow in (3-4" minimum), Whimzee dog chews to gnaw on, a hut and various toys.

Santawontbelong Sat 28-Oct-17 17:13:06

Nasty little fuckers ime.

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 28-Oct-17 18:34:19

@santawontbelong Not sure I'd go that far - only when not tamed properly or handled roughly.

My Russian dwarf came to me totally untamed at 10 months old (she screamed if you got too close) but with lots of careful work she was handleable within a fortnight (adult only home) and has never given a serious nip

TheQueenOfWands Sat 28-Oct-17 18:37:03

Large amount of psychotic energy rolled into one fuzzy ball.

The fuckers are evil.

Syrian hamsters are nice, though.

I had one when I was a teenager, he was called Scooter grin.

He spent all night, every night, hurtling in his wheel, hurtling round his cage, or even just hurtling. I had to put him in another room so I could get some sleep. He slept in a jamjar stuffed with bedding just so I could glimpse him in daylight.

He had a vicious bite. Grumpy little git. I loved him dearly confused

expatinscotland Sat 28-Oct-17 18:45:10

They are bitey fuckers. Get a Syrian instead.

JudgeRulesNutterButter Sat 28-Oct-17 18:45:59

I had a succession of these, they were all grumpy bitey bastards. Cute as fuck and great to watch but we could never pick them up!

celticmissey Sat 28-Oct-17 18:46:46

I had two russian dwarf hamsters once. Both were a nightmare when they weren't trying to take my fingers off! I would stay away from them personally no matter how cute they look! gerbils can be quite cute as well...

Anecdoche Sat 28-Oct-17 18:49:27

bitey psychos who hate everyone.

i seriously wouldnt get a hamster for a pet. as a kid i had several. including a russian. he was a right bastard even by hamster standards 😁

generally speaking, they hate people. hate being faffed with and hate daytime so that's 3 ways you're fucked 😁

rats are far better. they just love company and are so affectionate.

Santawontbelong Sat 28-Oct-17 18:50:23

Another vote for a couple of rats instead!!

LidlAngel Sat 28-Oct-17 18:52:44

My first ever boyfriend had a Russian hamster called Stench. It was Satan covered in beige fur. A totally unengaging rodent who slept all day and all night the only way to find out if he was still alive was to touch his head with a pencil. If it clung on to the pencil with its little vice like jaws we knew it was alive. One day he didn't so we buried it. It wasn't the most pet like of pets it must be said.

Jerseysilkvelour Sun 29-Oct-17 06:56:23

another vote for Syrian hamster here - we have one in a big barney cage from zooplus. They do need a lot of room. He's really nice to watch but tbh he's a bit of a rubbish pet especially for kids as he only really comes out at night!

Pombliboo123 Sun 29-Oct-17 09:55:30

Awwww but they looked like such cute little balls of cuteness in the pet shop grin

I don't know if I want a rabid lunatic fur devil only an inch long living in my house...

ILoveDolly Fri 03-Nov-17 22:12:05

We got a pair for our children. Turns out they are terrible children's pets, but they are cute to look at and I am quite fond of them. You can train them a little, to tolerate you and not bite. They usually only bite when threatened so if you follow internet advice about training and hamster body language you'll be ok. They love their treats so I have managed to curry favour with various things.
Although they are nocturnal, we find ours will get up in the afternoon for snacks so they'd be great as pets for people who are out all day.
Quite a fascinating little creature although rather fiercer than they first look.

Runwayqueen Fri 10-Nov-17 20:48:17

I’m going to against the trend here. We have a Syrian and a Russian (well we did, she very sadly passed away today). I love them both. Yes our Syrian is much easier to handle and never nips, she is a bit sloth like, very friendly. Our Russian came to us as a singleton. We could only handle her at first with gloves on but she was easily tamed and incredibly friendly. The Syrian comes out only when she wants food, the Russian just wanted to come and play. Downside of Russians is that they go downhill quickly when not well. We’d only had her 4 months, Tuesday morning she was buzzed around fine and today she was pts having deteriorated rapidly. When our Syrian caught a virus we had time to react. I absolutely loved our Russian and despite being nippy to start with she has been pure joy to be around. In time we will definitely have another.

moogdroog Thu 16-Nov-17 22:50:27

I'll tell you the tail of my friend's Russian hamsters....
She kept them in one of those Rotastak cages. Came home one day to find a blood bath. One had partially eaten the other. It then went upto the small sleeping compartment at the top of thr cage and proceeded to do backflips until it died of exhaustion a few days later. Bitey buggers too.
Russian hamsters are horrid too. Mine was either escaping or biting me.
I have a lovely, gentle Syrian now. You can't go wrong with them.

PickAChew Thu 16-Nov-17 22:53:52

Well tempered Russian Dwarf hamsters are lovely. The ones that Pets at Home and other chain petshops sell are usually psychotic! They sell Robos as suitable to kids, ffs!

BonnesVacances Thu 16-Nov-17 22:59:07

DD has a robo hamster and rarely gets it out as it's usually asleep and it's too fast to handle.

If you want a social small furry animal pet, I'd recommend a pair of gerbils. We have had gerbils for 10 years (not the same ones obv) and have found they have been the best option for handling/ interacting with vs the amount of care they need. They are lovely but must live in pairs even though P@H will sell you a single one if you ask. angry

JumpingJellybeanz Thu 16-Nov-17 23:03:56

I had one. As others have said, evil little bitey git. We used to put him in one of those ball thingys and he was like a demon, constantly chasing after the cat and ramming him. The poor cat was terrified of the hamster. So was I.

RainbowWish Thu 16-Nov-17 23:06:12

I hate them.
We had 4 hamsters through my childhood and adulthood. The second was a Russian dwarf hamster and it was evil. It was so aggressive and could bite its way out of its ball to. I loved it too and the thing just hated us.
Rats are super! I am going to get one when my kids are bigger.

HangryHanderson Thu 16-Nov-17 23:16:19

Roborovski hamsters will buggerovski. Make sure the cage is for roborovski not syrian.

Animation86 Thu 16-Nov-17 23:19:11

They look cute

Fucking little monsters. Yeah I stupidly got mine from pets at home as a pair and one ate the other. Evil. Never again. Noisy shits as well. Syrians are way better but expect a big cage - none of this crappy little plastic things. NONE of the ones in pets at home are large enough by RSPCA recommendations

fartyghost Thu 16-Nov-17 23:24:27

Our local p at h are fantastic, they have lovely caring staff who really know their stuff. We bought a blind pet from them, he'd been seen by the in house vet and diagnosed, we got him for a voluntary donation to charity and the staff ask about him every time we go in.

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