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Gerbils & Hamsters/Winter White Hybrids


Dear Sheila,hello.Thank You for your recent reply to me regarding Winter White hybrid dwarf hamsters.
I don't now have any smaller cages than my 100cm long Zoozone 2 tank style cage as I have sold our smaller cages that were 55cm and 71cm in length..therefore I have now put a lot of toys and hideaways in the cage to fill up all the open spaces until shes more confident about all the space in such a big cage.At the moment I've found that by sprinkling some of her(haven't decided on a name thinking about 'Poppy' or 'Suki' possibly)food around the floor of her cage as well as in her food bowl she is coming out a bit more now to gather up the food etc but when I appraoach the cage and talk to her she screetches at me which sounds like a rattlesnake and runs into her cage therefore its still early days yet as I only bought her home from the petshop last Wednesday and they hadn't handled her at all cause they said she was too jumpy and skittish and just jumped out of their hands.I am not going to start trying to handle her or pick her up until I've had her a whole week as it'll give her time to fully settle in and get used to her cage and general household sounds in the background etc before we start interacting with it'll save her from getting too stressed.

I know that if we had bought her from a breeder she would have been used to been handled and be tamer & she would have been a pure winter white,not a hybrid, but we don't have any breeders by us and I don't drive so couldn't get to one anyway so we've got no choice but to buy from a petshop..the same with our roborovskis who love having a 100cm long cage by the way as they're so fast and love to run about.We don't have a roborovski breeder near us either cause no doubt robo's would be less skittish when you first buy them if from a robo breeder.
Our robo's are very tame now and will be handled easily,though one of them wont let me handle her bare handed she seems terrified of bare hands so I have to wear woollen gloves,which isn't ideal as her nails keep getting stuck on the gloves..but I am having another bash at getting her to let me scoop her up and handle her without gloves after first rubbing my hands in her litter and also rubbing the gloves I've used to handle her all over my hands.I got one very slight little nip off Dinky when she'd had enough,plus she squeaked a little so she was obviously trying to say enough is enough as shes never nipped before if shes ran up my arm or on my bare shoulder,so why shes frightened of bare hands I don't know.
Anyway sorry for such a long reply to your email to me.Hope to hear from you soon with some further advice on all these issues.

Hi Hazel

It is just a matter of time and perseverance with her. She may always be a bit jumpy but I'm sure you will notice some improvement. In her eyes you are a giant and very scary! Once she gets used to her surroundings and has fully explored all the places in her tank she should calm down a bit.

Good luck with this.


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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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