What Is a Campbell's Hamster?

Soo Owens
Soo Owens
Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

A Campbell’s hamster is a type of dwarf hamster native to Tuva, a republic located in southern Russia as well as areas of northern China. They, like many other dwarf hamster species, are somewhat unique among hamsters due to their social nature, which allows owners and breeders to pair them with ease. Campbell’s hamsters have a simple, sugarless diet and are known to develop poor eyesight. Often bred as pets, some still live in their natural wilderness habitat.

There are many color variations among Campbell's hamster breeds, ranging from shades of dull brown and grey to black and white and even blue-grey and lilac. Blues and lilacs are the result of cross-breeding between different color mutations that exist in the hamster population. Campbell's hamsters can exhibit visible markings that include white patches, called a mottled design, and deep red eyes, called rube-eyed mottled. They may have bright white hairs throughout their coats.

Campbell's hamster coats fall into one of four categories. Normal coats are the simplest, with fur that lies close to the body and lacks any special texture or shape. Satin fur has a glossy sheen, and the rex class of fur is short and curly. Even the whiskers are curly on a hamster with this type of coat. A wavy coat is longer and has a few curls that resemble the shape of waves.

Native to the treeless steppes between China, Mongolia, and Russia, wild Campbell’s hamsters make their home in burrows beneath the ground. As they live beneath the surface in the wild, the ideal temperature for their environment is around 62°F (16°C), and bedding should consist of materials that the hamsters can burrow through without causing respiratory damage to their fragile lungs. The cages can be made from wire or plastic tubing and should be adequately spacious.

Provided that a Campbell's hamster is introduced to other hamsters early in its life, it is capable of cohabiting with both sexes. Their social nature is such that, unlike most other hamster species, the male has been documented aiding the female in childbirth. He will feed the female, help deliver the newborns, and clean them. Other cases show that same sex and mixed sex arrangements between numerous hamsters, even unrelated ones, are possible.

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    • Veterinarian with a puppy
      Veterinarian with a puppy