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The Chinese Hamster
Author: Hamster Club
Source: www.hamster-club.com

Chinese HamsterThe Chinese hamster is not so much talked about since it is the most ‘rat-like’ hamster. It is a ‘rat like’ hamster since the chinese hamster has a longer tail than the other types of hamsters. 

Chinese hamsters actually belong to a different group, often described by zoologists as rat-tailed hamsters for the above reason.  It is also known as 'striped hamster', 'the striped-back hamster' or the 'gray hamster'.  The chinese hamster originates from Northern China and Mongolia and has been kept in the UK since 1919.  Chinese hamsters are naturally gray, brown-gray or grayish black in colour and they also have a blackish dorsal stripe. The underparts, as in other hamsters, are significantly paler, being ivory in colour. Chinese hamsters have a quiet temperament and are easily handled even though at first they might be a bit aggressive, but with patience and time they get tamed too.
 
Chinese HamsterThe average life span of a chinese hamster is from 1.5 to 2 years. On average the chinese hamster is 10-12cms long and the male is larger than the female.  The difference between a male and a female chinese hamster is easy to spot.  The male has a strikingly large scrotum.   A basic standard wire hamster cage is not ideal for the chinese hamster as the bars are usually too far apart and it can squeeze through easily. Using a mice cage is much ideal for a chinese hamster.
 
The chinese hamster is nocturnal, but can be active for short periods during the day. The gestation period for chinese hamsters is from 18 to 21 days.  Pregnant female chinese hamsters are the most aggressive, especially towards young males. Some females are so aggressive toward males during the breeding season that they kill them. 
 
Chinese hamsters have both ventral and flank scent glands that are used to mark territory. Chinese hamsters sleep a lot during the winter season. When a chinese hamster is angry or feels threatened, it will throw itself on its back and display its large, impressive and sharp incisors. It will also chatter and grind its teeth when agitated.  Chinese hamsters should always be housed individually to avoid any fights or injuries.  
 
Some chinese hamsters may spontaneously develop diabetes, which can be a hereditary trait in hamsters.  In addition, chinese hamsters have only 22 chromosomes, a very small number compared with other animal species.

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