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Sir Hamilton McFluffy of the Syrian Longhairs

Hamilton McFluffy is a 2 year old Satin Golden Banded Syrian hamster. We adopted him on Dec 25th 2010. He weighs about 177 grams. His original name was Hammy, but we felt that was too plain for such a dapper fellow.

Princess Periwinkle ~ Secret Agent P

Periwinkle is a Sapphire Winter White dwarf hamster. She was born on December 23rd 2010, and we adopted her on Feb 5th 2011. She weighs about 52 grams. She has been entered in SoCal hamster shows, placing 1st place in 'Best in Show' and 'Cutest'.

Rest in Peace Micro and Nano

The two little roborovski superstars that started it all, Micro and Nano. They were adopted on April 19th 2009. They entered one show, placing 1st and 2nd in 'Best in Show' and 'Fastest Ball Race', and 2nd and 3rd in 'Most Unusual Markings'. Micro passed away on April 6th 2010, and Nano on Feb 15th 2011.

Basic Hamster Care 1O1

General information about the species commonly kept as pets, their diet, habitats, safety tips and other useful tidbits.

DIY Bin Cage Tutorial

The cheap and easy solution to providing your hamster with plenty of floorspace. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and easily customizable. You don't need to be a wiz with the tools to figure it out, either!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Stop Hybridization!

There are two species of hamsters kept as pets that are capable of interbreeding; the Campbells and the Winter White. These hamsters live in completely different areas; therefore the possibility of hybridization occurring in the wild is unlikely. When interbreeding occurs, the female must always be a Campbells because they have a wider head than Winter Whites. The offspring of these animals are often larger than the standards for either the Campbells or the Winter White.

The mixed breeding of the Campbells and the Winter White dwarf hamster is occurring out of ignorance and greed. Many commercial breeders believe that cross-breeding will allow new color mutations for the Campbells and Winter Whites, giving them an opportunity to advertise a “rare” hamster for more money. Hybrid hamsters will only produce hybrids. Breeding for new colors between the two is only delaying the process naturally since it’s harder to find pure stock, depending on where you live.

Colors aren’t the only thing being passed down; diseases commonly found in one of the species are showing up in the hybrids. Glaucoma from the Winter White lines and diabetes from the Campbells are among the most popular diseases between the two. A strict diet must be enforced to reduce the chance of diabetes.

If interbreeding became popular enough, it would eventually make it nearly impossible to find Winter White or Campbells aside from the few breeders who keep track of their lines. Hybrids have a high chance of producing infertile offspring, so it would prove difficult to support an indefinite line of hybrids.

I personally believe that no hamster fancier would intentionally breed hybrids.

Where To Get A Hamster

You finally made the decision to get a hamster. Congratulations! Now here comes another tough decision. Where should you get your hamster? There is a big difference between most hamsters being sold in pet shops and the hamsters you can get from quality breeders. Pet shop hamsters are mass produced in breeding mills, and are often sold with illnesses or battle wounds. Russian Dwarf hamsters from the pet shop have a high chance of being a hybrid. Quality breeders know the genetic history of their hamsters, and they are often bred to have a better temperament. Plenty of hamsters find their way into rescue shelters every year. These hamsters still have lots of love left in them to give to someone who will appreciate them. Which do you want to choose?

It’s no secret that chain pet stores such as Petco and PetSmart get the majority, if not all, of their rodent stock from breeding farms and mills. The producers of such get-ups are in it for the money. This means that the animals are mass produced to make as much money as possible. The people behind it do not care about the quality of their animals. The hamsters are then shipped around to various stores, and shoved into small containers with a bunch of other hamsters. Quite a few hamsters often come home with battle wounds, or illnesses they had before reaching the pet shop, and pass shortly after creating a heartbreaking situation that pulls on every animal lover’s heartstrings.

Since the Winter White and Campbell Dwarf hamsters can interbreed, there is a high chance that most hamsters labeled as either are a hybrid. To the untrained eye, it could be hard to tell the difference between the two. Winter Whites are bullet shaped with a thick dorsal stripe, whereas Campbells are paler with a puffier shorter face. Hybridization became popular because people wanted to create new color patterns such as “Lilac”, “Pudding”, and “Mandarin”. Interbreeding the two together is doing nothing for either species. If interbreeding takes over, you will not only see a decline in pure dwarfs, but also the hybrids as  they are often infertile. In my own opinion, any quality breeder or hamster lover would not breed the two together.  

Reputable breeders breed hamsters to have certain attributes. They are usually experienced and knowledgeable in the species they are breeding. They will let you know if they feel you would be the perfect fit for owning the species you are trying to obtain. Breeders care about the species as a whole and the quality of the animals they produce. The pups are bred to have a good temperament and are healthier. They keep records of their lines. Some breeders will allow you to interact with the hamster to get to know its personality, and also see the parents since the pups will inherit personality traits from them. Beware, not all breeders will breed to the same standards, so pay close attention just like you would at a pet shop. Not everybody has access to a quality breeder, so rescue centers are another great place to check out.

Many hamsters are bought for children as pets and then discarded to the shelter. The reason being the kids lose interest in the responsibility of caring for the animal, they failed to do the research on the species beforehand, or the animal is aging and they don’t want to deal with it. These hamsters deserve your love and attention, too. Rescue hamsters can be some of the sweetest hamsters because they will appreciate all of the nice things you do for them. Be extra patient with them because you have no idea what their past is like. Adopting a hamster is a great way to not only brighten your day, but greatly impact a hamster’s life as well.

Check online, such as petfinder.com, or craigslist.com. I personally see many hamsters up for adoptions online, some even with the cages. Be wary of the owners who claim to not have time for their hamster anymore, but keep the cage, and the ones who ask ridiculous adoption fees. They should be looking for a good home for the pet, not a way to make some quick cash.  

Pet shops are the easiest way to go, and have hamsters available at almost any time. These hamsters are often not up to par. Reputable breeders have hamsters bred for health and temperament. Rescue shelters aren’t just for cats and dogs, they have hamsters, too! These hamsters are just waiting to open their heart up to you. In conclusion, the choice is really up to you to decide where you want to get your hamster, but some sources will have better animals than others.

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