I was told that the Winter White dwarf hamster changes color based on the season. i.e. brown/dark grey in the summer and white/light grey in the winter. Firstly, what causes the hamster to notice the shift in seasons? Is it the temperature, amount of sunlight, or something other? And secondly, if it's possible, how would I encourage a domestic Winter White to be one color or the other?

  • A wild guess from me would be, that the domesticated do not change color anymore, they are bred to have the "awesome" white color all the year ... But I did no research until now, so it is a comment only :) Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 10:52
  • Do you keep your hamster inside?
    – SerenaT
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 13:45
  • @SerenaT yes, my hamster is kept indoors
    – Jacob B
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


You could try to keep it outside, otherwise it might get difficult.

Just like a lot of other animals, the change in colour occurs depending on the amount of light the animals are exposed to. Since hamsters living in captivity are usually not exposed to the sun outside and not exposed to the changing in the length of days, their colours might not change.

Or as Wikipedia will put it:

In captivity, this does not usually happen as animals maintained as pets are generally housed indoors and exposed to artificial light that prevents the recognition of short winter daylengths.

If you are willing to go that far, you could try to simulate the lengthening and shortening of days.

Hamstergeek - Do Hamsters change colours?

Wikpedia - Winter White Dwarf hamster

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