Should you decide to take on a Roborovski Hamster as a pet, you should know that they are the smallest and fastest breed of hamsters.
The Roborovski Hamster (Phodopus roborovskii) is sometimes referred to as the Desert Hamster or shortened to Robo or Robs Hamsters. But either way it is the smallest of all the Dwarf Hamsters.
Roborovski Hamster Size
On average, Roborovski Hamsters can measure anywhere between 4 and 5 centimeters in length.
Roborovski Hamster Lifespan
Their average lifespan is about three years and the breed comes in one color only: golden brown, with a white patch on their stomach and light eyebrows and whiskers.
Roborovski Hamsters have a very short coat and this breed actually originated in Mongolia. As compared to other breeds of Hamsters, they are the ones with the longest lifespan.
Temperament of the Roborovski Hamster
If your kid is requesting for a Hamster to take care of, for example, Roborovski Hamsters make for an ideal pet. This is due to the fact that they are extremely fascinating to watch.
Be careful when allowing younger kids to take Roborovski Hamster as pets, though. They do not generally like to be held or cuddled – so they’re basically a type of pet that you only need to observe from afar.
To make up for the fact that they’re quite easily startled, the good thing about Roborovski Hamster is that they very rarely bite.
Roborovski Hamster Facts
Roborovski Hamsters are the smallest of all the Hamster families commonly kept as pets.
They are easily distinguished from all other Hamsters by their characteristic white spots where their eyebrows should be.
Their ‘Agouti’ colouring (also called ‘normal or ‘wild’), is a sandy color with the actual roots of their hairs being a distinct greyish color.
Typically, they will have an off-white colored tummy and quite distinctive, bushy whiskers.
Also, they will lack of any dorsal stripe that would normally be seen in all the other Dwarf Hamster breeds.
They have the longest lifespan of any other domestic Hamster breed – living, on average, three years.
Roborovski Hamster History
The Roborovski Hamster originates from the wilds of the Mongolia desert and Northern China. Their natural habitat is burrows beneath the sand. These burrows will be some 2 – 6 feet deep in semi-arid areas that have very little vegetation.
The name itself comes from Lt. Roborovski who first reported on these Hamsters whilst on expedition near Nan Shan back in July 1894. However, the first studies were made by the zoologist Konstantin Saturin at the turn of the century around 1903.
These Hamsters were not introduced into the United Kingdom until the 1970′s. The breeding was unsuccessful and it was not until the 1990′s, when they were imported from Europe, that successful breeding was achieved.
The Roborovski Hamster was not introduced to the United States until 1998. A group of Hamster breeders imported the first breeding pairs, so they are still quite a rare pet there.
Roborovski Hamster Characteristics
Through living in the arid deserts, these Hamsters have become very efficient in their ability to economize their water needs. So much so that they are able to survive on less water than any other Dwarf Hamster breed.
Interestingly, they are quite sensitive to heat.
Living in burrows, they love to dig – and this is something you must provide for in their living habitat.
Roborovski Hamster Behavior
Believe it or not, Roborovski’s generally have a good behavior. They rarely bite, have a good settlement to fellow cage-mates and can become very tame.
However, even Roborovski’s can get anti-social and can have fights with other Hamsters, as well as biting quite often. Remember to keep their teeth trim by letting them have plenty of things to gnaw on, or else you’ll be seeing them gnawing everywhere!
If you see two little Roborovski’s eating together in a pet shop, you will be tempted to buy both of them. However, if you buy two separately, that is not the good case.
However, if you buy two at the same time, it can still be Double Trouble with you and both of them. They will fight over the wheel, the treat, the nesting space etc, even over nothing.
But, always in the end, you will see both of them giving each other good company.
When the fight, it would be a paw-to-paw combat, or either one decide’s to grab the end of it’s tail and stay their following it until the other one fights back.
Sometimes, if your lucky, one of them will go on its back and lie down, still fighting!
Although it may seem like that, they still share the same things, like to talk to each other nose-to-nose, and are actually quite happy Robo’s in their own way.
There is always a risk that two Hamsters in the same cage will start fighting. When this happens it can be very serious and severe injury can occur.
However, they will normally enjoy each others company and will play, eat and socialize together for the rest of their lives if introduced properly at a very young age.
Roborovski Hamster Activities
Studies have shown Roborovski Hamsters cover huge distances each night. And it has been documented that they will run the equivalent to 3 human marathons each night. So it goes without saying you must provide a large cage for them.
As well as active and fast, they are also very curious creatures who love a challenge. Also love sniffing around and discovering new places, especially if it involves a bit of burrowing.
On the down side, they can be quite easily startled and are, at first, quite timed. As a result you will find they don’t ‘squeak’ much, certainly not as much as the other Hamster breeds.
As with most Hamster species, they will be predominantly more active during the night. However, a Roborovski Hamster will be out and about a lot more during the daytime than most other breeds.
But remember their dislike to heat and do not keep their cage in any form of direct sunlight during the day. They will most certainly not emerge to play during the daytime if there’s sunlight anywhere on the cage.
Roborovski Hamster Size
You can expect an adult to grow, on average, 2 inch long and weigh in at 1 oz (20-25 grams). Being the smallest of all the Dwarf Hamster breeds are also masters of escaping.
That means they can quite easily squeeze themselves through the bars of a standard cage. You must ensure your cage will prevent this from happening.
Roborovski Hamster Feeding
When feeding a Robo Hamster food you should always remember not to give them too much or too less food. You can read our detailed story about what can hamsters eat to learn more.
The normal Roborvski Hamster food is Hamster muesli, which normally consists of nuts and seeds. However you can feed your Robo other different types of food.
The smallcut up pieces of apple or different chopped up pieces of fruit and maybe even a meal worm or two.
Normally you would put the food in a food bowl but sometimes you can just scatter the food around their cage/aquarium. So they can look around for their food just like they would in the wild.
Also it is vital to always give your Robo Hamster water in a drinking bottle that they can reach it easily .
Always empty out their feeding bowl and water bottle so the can have fresh food and water every day.
Roborovski Hamster Cage
Due to their miniature size, make sure that you will get a cage where they cannot easily escape. Instead of going for a metal cage, you can choose a glass or plastic aquarium cage.
You can use hay or shredded paper as bedding for the bottom of the cage, any other material may cause their tiny feet to get stuck.
The Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is one of the fastest and most active Hamster breeds to own. That means you must have an adequate sized cage for them to run off all that energy.
An engaging habitat that offers a variety of challenges is essential to keep them interested and active – therefore, try to think ahead and buy a cage that will be easy to extent whenever possible.
Roborovski Hamster Cage need to be a little different from the ‘normal’ Hamster cages you buy at a pet shop. Your Hamster is very small, in the dwarf class, you must make sure the cage is suitable and the bars are closer together.
Buying cage as big as you can afford will give your Hamster a good lifestyle. Initially buy as big as possible with the ability to expand and create new runs and different areas for your Hamster to explore.
Roborovskis love burrowing and you can buy Interactive Burrowing and Nesting Accessory to add-on to their habitat.
It gives an ideal area for your Hamster to play in, but remember, it’s an add-on, not a cage (far too small) – but as an area where your Hamster can practice digging and burrowing and making a mess… it’s ideal.
Your Hamster will be full of fun and just love exploring new things. Once they have acclimated to their area and feel safe enough to come out they will be very inquisitive and nosey, exploring everything and anything that you put in their cage.
They will also have a little gnaw on just about everything too. So always make sure that everything you put in their cage is safe for them – if in doubt, do not put in in their cage.
Roborovski Hamster Handling and Safety
Some Roborovski Hamsters do not like to be held, but others love to climb all over you. It depends on the individual Hamster’s personality.
If you want a Robo Dwarf that you can hold, you should ask the workers at the pet store if you can hold them to see how they interact.
When you are holding them, you must make sure there are no other animals around, and that there is nowhere they can hide if they escape.
Most Robo Dwarf Hamster owners prefer to keep them in a ball so that they can run around their house, but they will not have to worry about losing the little guy.
These are some of the most important, but basic, things you will need to know about Robo Dwarf Hamsters.
They really do make great pets, and are a ton of fun to have around–especially if you have small children.
But remember that small children probably shouldn’t hold them, as they can be easily hurt. You may have better luck with a larger breed of Hamster.