Phodopus roborovskii, Roborovski dwarf hamsters, Roborovski hamsters, Robos, Desert hamsters
Expected Life Span
Robos typically live an average of about two to three years.
Roborovski hamsters are very small, reaching an adult size of only a couple of inches (4-5 cm). This means they are small enough to squeeze through the bars on many hamster cages so an aquarium is a safer choice for housing.
They are considered to be the smallest and fastest kind of hamster.
Behavior and Temperament of Roborovski Hamsters
Roborovski hamsters are nocturnal so they usually wake at duck and are active at night. They are generally gentle and rarely nip but they are very fast and agile which makes handling them difficult. It is advisable to handle them in an area where they will be easy to catch if they get away (over a large box, for example). Also, because of their speed and agility, a large cage is necessary to give them room to move about.
Characteristics of Roborovski Hamsters
Roborovski hamsters are social and are ideally kept in same sex pairs or groupings (find out what sex your hamster is). This works best if they are introduced at a young age, though.
The natural coloration of Roborovski hamsters is sandy brown on their backs, with a white belly. In the wild this enables them to blend in with their desert surroundings (they are native to Mongolia and China).
They also have distinctive white marks over their eyes. A white-faced variety is also seen (the coloration is similar but with a white face).
Care of Roborovski Hamsters
Basic care is like that of other hamsters. As mentioned above, an aquarium or other solid sided cage with a ventilated but secure top is preferable, the larger the better.
Avoid cedar or pine wood shavings and keep cages well cleaned though to prevent ammonia build-up from accumulated urine as ventilation is diminished with solid sided housing. And finally, feed a good quality hamster food supplemented with small amounts of fresh foods for a health hamster.
Edited by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT