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Gerbils & Hamsters/hybrid russian hamster


I have recently bought a hybrid winter white hamster just over a week ago and keep her in a ferplast mini duna tank style cage but its only 55cm long...too small really but i'm now on state pension so cannot afford to get her a big cage of 100cm in length,so could she be bored as she doesn't get up much,isnt bothered about using her wheel so stops in her nest a lot...however when she hears me in the bedroom she comes out to investigate as shes very inquisitive.Do hybrids and pure winter whites have a tendancy to be laid back and lazy?Would she become more active if we saved up for a large cage or remain as she is now.In the past when I kept a pair they were much more active but is it usual for a single lone hybrid winter white to stay in bed more.I've found the same with our roborovskis...when they lived together for ten weeks until they had to be separated due to fighting,they were very active running around and playing(they used to have a 100cm long zoozone 2) but since separation and the each live alone in a mini duna they are more lazy now and aren't so active.Are these behaviours normal?If a hamster is bored or depressed,what can I do about it?

Hi Hazel

Thanks for your question.

Some hamsters are quite lazy or very relaxed.  I honestly don't know if she will change if you buy a larger cage.  The important thing is to provide plenty for her to do.  Dwarf hamsters love running through tunnels and having lots of different places to sleep - if there isn't room in her cage for lots of things you could always alternate them so that she gets some variety.

You can also get small exercise balls for dwarf hamsters to run around in.  If you tape over any joins as they can open if they bang into furniture.  If you do get one of these then it is important to keep a close watch on her as the dwarf balls are small enough to get stuck under furniture! I let mine have a run around in the evenings for about 20 minutes. If she nods off to sleep in it, return her to her cage.

Dwarf hamsters also love to have a dust bath - if you buy some 'chinchilla dust' from the pet shop and put it in a low dish she might enjoy rolling about in this.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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