Chinese hamsters are also known as Chinese dwarf hamsters and striped hamsters. This dwarf hamster species is relatively new to the pet trade, so it is not as domesticated as the Syrian or golden hamster.
According to Hamsterific.com, Chinese hamsters were originally captured in the early 1900s for use in laboratories. They arrived in America in 1948 as a laboratory animal.
Chinese hamsters differ from other dwarf hamsters in that their heads and tails are longer, like a rat's. Unlike other dwarf hamster species, they need to be housed separately, like the Syrian hamster, which is not considered a dwarf hamster.
This is the largest of pet dwarf hamster species. They average 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13cm) in length and weigh 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounces (28 to 42 grams.)
Chinese hamsters breed in total darkness and then attack each other. Sharon Vanderlip, DVM, recommends using reptile red lights in order to remove the male after mating.
Female Chinese hamsters are larger and often more aggressive than male Chinese hamsters. Chinese hamsters live an average of two years.