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The Lookout | April 18, 2021

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Chloe’s Chat: My hamster changes colors

Chloe’s Chat: My hamster changes colors
  • On November 30, 2020

By Chloe Gregg
Staff Writer

When I bought my hamster, Slaggy, on March 26 from PetSmart, I chose her because she looked like a big, white fluffball.

She continued to look this way for months until about June, when I noticed a dark spot that was forming on her inner eye. It appeared to look as if it was growing with each passing day.

“Is it cancer?” was my immediate first thought, and I was extremely worried. What was I going to do if it was cancer? Could hamsters even have cancer?

Slaggy changes colors with the seasons. Photo by Chloe Gregg.

I took to the Internet for some answers.

With a quick search I was able to determine that Slaggy would be fine, but her spot would continue to grow. Slaggy is a Winter White Dwarf hamster. A special trait of this breed of hamster is that they change colors throughout the seasons.

Slaggy becomes a bright winter white during the winter and a dark grayish brown during the summer months, when she sheds a lot of her fur, too.

You would think that would be important information to tell a customer buying a Winter White, or that maybe it would be in the PetSmart Winter White Dwarf hamster pamphlet. But it wasn’t, and I was never told.

Oftentimes, I read online, store-bought hamsters won’t transform their coats because these hamsters are interbred so much and aren’t pure Winter White Dwarfs. Clearly, I got very lucky.

Around the end of July Slaggy had become fully grayish brown. And now as winter rolls in, she’s slowly turning back to white.

It’s incredibly cool to watch and have a color-transforming animal!