3 Reasons Why Animals Should Not Be Kept In Captivity History of Chinese Dwarf Hamsters

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History of Chinese Dwarf Hamsters

Chinese Dwarf Hamsters (or simply Chinese Hamsters) are native to Southern China and Mongolia. They belong, unlike other dwarf rodents, to the genus Cricetulus. Their full scientific name is Cricetulus barabensis griseus.

Compared to other types of dwarf hamsters, these animals have long and narrow bodies. People who see them for the first time often think that they are a rat or a mouse and not a hamster. Not only is their face long like a mouse, but they also have a long tail – well, long compared to other hamster tails.

They are also different from other dwarf hamsters in that Chinese dwarf hamsters are quite good climbers. Their legs are able to grip much better than those of other dwarves, and they can wrap themselves tightly around vertical poles – such as your finger.

Their total body length, including the head, is 4 inches (10 cm), making them one of the longest species of dwarf hamster. Their tails are about 1 inch to 1 5/16 inches long (25-34 mm); and they weigh between 1 3/8 and 1 5/8 ounces (39-46 g). They live between one and a half and three years, which is quite typical for dwarf hamsters.

While some of the other dwarf species have multiple coat colors and patterns, the Chinese dwarf hamster has by far the most diverse color variation. The standard color is called agouti, which means the hairs change color from black at the base of the hair to brown at the top of the hair. The pattern called the dominant spot is mostly white, although it may have dark spots on its wings. Both animals have a dark stripe running from their shoulders to their tails.

Chinese hamsters were used in scientific laboratories before they became pets. They were first used in 1919 and have been used to study pneumonia, influenza, diphtheria and rabies. For a long time, hamsters would not breed in captivity. In fact, it was this problem that led scientists to look for another type of hamster to use. This search resulted in the capture of the Syrian hamster.

These little creatures—yes, Chinese hamsters—have landed men in jail. In 1948, just before the Communist takeover of China, Dr. Hu of Beijing Medical College gave some specimens to Dr. Robert Watson to get them to Harvard Medical School. The animals were literally smuggled into the United States, and the two scientists were charged with war crimes by the Chinese government, which believed the hamsters were part of a biological weapons program. Doctor Hu was, in fact, imprisoned.

Later, in 1957, an ovary was isolated from a Chinese hamster and the cells reproduced. Since then, these cells have reproduced continuously. And CHO – Chinese Hamster Ovary cells have been used to create an incredible number of drugs, treating everything from infertility to hemophilia to cancer.

So, as you play with your pet, realize that his/her ancestors have played an unprecedented role in the advancement of medicine.

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