Wednesday, August 24, 2011

558. Pied roborovski hamsters

"Not for sale," the pet shop girl said to me as she had a sign on the cage of two dwarf hamsters. I thought every hamster should be sold as this was a pet shop.

"These are for creating awareness of this rare-coloured dwarf hamsters. They are pied hamsters."

Size between dwarf and roborovski hamsters. Sells at $90/pair. Still she had insufficient stock to meet demand. Originated from Holland. Colour - light brown and white. Hard to breed, like Roborovski. So, she kept a pair. The following is from this pet shop girl who has hands-on experience in breeding hamsters, purchase and network with breeders

1. Hard to breed - Roborovski and pied dwarf hamsters. According to the pet shop girl, roborovski sprints so fast, therefore, hard to breed. "Why not cool them down with air-conditioning?" I asked. Not practical as the cost would be higher. She had not tried.

2. Maturity. 2-3 months of age, NOT 5 weeks as in hamster books (usually written by Caucasian authors). Syrians - usually 7-8 weeks. Usually 3-4 months in Singapore. Depends on diet - a high protein-based diet (extra oats, alfalfa and vitamins).

3. Gestation. 3 weeks usually. If >3 weeks, dead.
4. Pregnancy. Abdominal bulge. Behaviour - aggressive when usually docile, restless.
5. Demand - Syrian hamsters not in great demand in Singapore. Grows up fast. Lots of stools to clear. Not worth stocking up. Therefore, not selling Syrian hamsters. Main demand from Singaporeans is dwarf hamsters.

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