The species of dwarf hamsters, also known as Phodopus is a genus of rodents who are very small in size and are natives to the central part of Asia. They are seen to have been very adaptive to extreme temperatures. They are nocturnal and are active throughout the entire year and never hibernate. The members in the genera Cricetulus, Allocricetulus, and TscherSkia along with the Species of Phodopus constitute the “dwarf hamster” family. They are so called because of their small size which ranges around 7-10 centimeters or 2.8-3.9 inches.
The body shape of this family is around as the normal hamsters, and they have short tails and the significant cheek pouches to carry their food. They are mainly found in the regions with extreme temperatures like Mongolia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, and China. They are mainly sold as pets and are sometimes used as lab animals for testing. They evolved surrounded by huge areas of space, what implicates their great need for territory. That is why you should not save on the habitat and buy best hamster cage you can find.
They are listed under the category “Least Concerned” by the IUCN Red Listen owing to the fact that their population is abundant. But recent studies have shown that they are not being found in their natural habitats which are evoking questions as to how their lifestyle is changing at a rapid rate.
Process of adaptation:
Before we continue to know about the types of dwarf hamster, let us take a look at the way they adapt to these extreme weather conditions.
- To withstand heavy cold, they tend to develop a shielding mechanism by making their bodies spherical and compact, so as to increase the amount of insulation with the aid of the fur and the fat bodies inside the body.
- In order to maintain the water balance of the body during both summer and winter, their body tends to conserve as much as it can with the mechanism of low evaporation resulting in less water loss from the body.
- During times of excessive heat, they lie down on their belly and splay out their limbs outwards. They also groom their fur into “clumps” which creates gaps known as the “ventilation gaps” which allow more passage of air keeping their body cool.
The three different kinds of dwarf hamsters are:
- Campbell’s dwarf hamster:
The Campbell’s dwarf hamster which is otherwise known as Phodopus campbelli has white fur on their lips and cheeks. This region surrounding the ear region has gray fur. There is a dark dorsal line that is present and visible from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. The rest of the body is covered in white feathers except for the paws which resemble a silvery shade of white. Their average body mass is weighed around 23.4 grams.
- Djungarian hamster:
The second type in the “dwarf hamster” family is what is named as the Djungarian hamster or Phodopus sungorus. During the summer time, the fur around their face is brown and is a slightly lighter shade in comparison to the fur around the ears and mouth. The rest of their body is brown and also have a black rim around their eyes.
- Roborovski hamster:
The smallest of the lot is Phodopus robosrovskii. They have tiny feet and have a dense coat of fur on them. They are generally gray in color.