Roborovski dwarf hamster as a pet
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are small in size compared to Syrian hamsters but they are excellent pets, gentle and love to be held but not easy because of their speed movements, they just need to be tamed and they require daily attention like any other hamster, and a large enclosure as well.
Roborovski dwarf hamster or Desert dwarf hamster is also known as “Robbie or Robo” hamster.
Like Campbell’s dwarf hamster (1902), this hamster was discovered in 1903 but only became known in the 1970s. This flightless hamster is not a stuffed animal but is a feast for the eyes.
Digging, climbing, and running: this dwarf hamster does not sit still much. Cleaning the cage of this little whirlwind is quite a task, just try to catch it!
This special hamster is not very common. When you go looking for a Roborovski dwarf hamster, you will discover that they are not easy to find in pet stores. Some breeders specialize in these hamsters, but supply and demand remain scarce.
What do Roborovski hamsters look like?
This is the smallest domestic hamster species. They are about 8 to 9 cm long and weigh 20 – 30 grams.
They are dull yellow without a back stripe and have a white belly.
They are very fast and agile. Nice animals to look at, not so suitable to cuddle.
Like the Chinese hamster, this Roborovski species came from dry areas in Mongolia. In the wild, they live in colonies.
In captivity you can also house them in small groups as long as your cage is big enough, you keep a close eye on them and the group is well put together.
You can keep a group with only males or a group with only females. In a group of males, quarrels can break out more quickly.
It is golden brown on the back and white on the lower parts of the body (throat, belly). It is fearful towards humans and reacts most often by fleeing, so it is not easy to tame it: it is a rodent to observe rather than to handle.
Because of its small size and speed, it is easy to let it escape by accident and to lose it in its home! It is therefore not the most suitable species of hamster for children unless you make them understand that they can look at it without touching it. Its life expectancy is 2 to 3 years.
How to choose your Roborovski hamster?
Go to the pet store at the end of the day, because Roborovski’s hamsters will be more active there, and the goal is to observe their behavior.
Make sure that the males and females are well separated if you don’t want to end up with a litter at home!
The hamster you adopt should ideally be 4 to 6 weeks old, and show all the signs of good health: shiny, dry coat, eyes that are open and not glued shut, ears that are erect.
If you see a hamster with a wet hindquarters (wet tail disease), switch to another pet store as the condition may have spread to others. , Find here all hamster’s diseases and their symptoms to avoid picking a sick one
Ask to put your hand in the cage: these hamsters are very shy, but after a while, some will come out of their hiding place to sniff it.
It is among these that you will be able to choose the one that makes you fall in love the most!
For more details, I recommend you my other article on how to choose your new hamster.
Are Roborovski Dwarf hamsters the tamer?
Many people look for a hamster that is easy to tame or even naturally familiar with people. With all species, it is important that you give the animal time, don’t spend all day holding a new animal, it needs to feel comfortable in its new environment.
Build up contact with a hamster slowly and let the animal get used to your smell. Are you looking for a hamster that is easy to tame? Then a golden hamster is probably the best idea.
Not only because of the character but also because Golden hamsters are somewhat larger than dwarf hamsters and therefore easier to handle.
Unlike the Campbell’s dwarf hamster, the Roborovski hamster, on the other hand, is a hamster species that is more difficult to tame, given its character and speed.
Welcoming and Taming your New Roborovski
After the purchase, go straight home and install your hamster gently in its cage. For the first few days, leave it completely alone as it will be stressed by its change of habitat.
His acclimatization may be longer if you disturb him. Then, gradually change his water and food, and get him used to seeing your hand in his cage.
Be careful not to wake your hamster, which could put him in a bad mood and stress him even more in the taming phase.
When you’re tending to the cage, let him come and feel your hand, but don’t try to grab him.
When it’s time to change the entire cage, you can put him in a hamster park with his toys. He’ll be happy to run around in a large space.
Ideally, he should be taken out every day and his cage thoroughly cleaned every week. If you can hold him, sit on the floor to prevent him from
Housing a Roborovski dwarf hamster
So groups are possible, but the pairing has to be done well and you also have to be sure of the sexes.
A Roborovski on its own needs a continuous floor space of at least 150×50 cm, bigger is always better and the more hamsters the more space you need.
They are not real climbers, but they will make use of a staircase or a tube going up at an angle and horizontal bars will also climb.
They appreciate a small wheel, but make sure the diameter of the wheel is at least 17 cm, otherwise, they will walk with a hollow back which can cause back problems.
A closed wheel is better than one with open bars and you should never buy hamster wadding or licks.
With toilet rolls, strips of toilet paper and kitchen rolls you can make them very happy.
They also like to dig, a thick layer of sawdust or better yet aubiose or hemparade (because it is less dusty) is very nice. Personally, I prefer paper-based bedding.
A Roborovski hamster likes to wash itself in a sand bath, for this, you can best use chinchilla sand. Do not use shell sand as it has sharp edges. And of course, they appreciate a sleeping house, hideouts, and a lot of enrichment like any other hamster.
Feeding a Roborovski dwarf hamster
I always advise you to prepare your own seed mix and find the foods that your Roborovski likes to eat more than the others.
But there are several packs of hamster food available in the pet store. Make sure you really choose hamster food and not guinea pig food or general rodent food.
Good food has a high protein content (15-18%) and contains animal protein because hamsters are not vegetarians!
A Roborovski dwarf hamster needs about 2 teaspoons of this hard (dry) food per day. A part of this food he will ‘hoard’, meaning hide it somewhere else in the cage. You can just leave it there until you change the cage, don’t begrudge a hamster its supply.
Green food is allowed to the hamster daily, but not too much, at most a leaf or a cube of fruit about the size of a corn kernel and remove what remains because otherwise it may rot.
Some suggestions ( veggies they can have in moderation ):
chicory, broccoli, endive, bell pepper, carrot, apple, grape, banana, dandelion, chamomile, and daisies. Variety is just fine.
There is a list of what they really should not have. This includes poisonous plants and human food with lots of sugar, salt, and other additives (such as chocolate and chips, kiwi, citrus fruits, peanuts, and potatoes are poisonous.
Remember to remove any fruit not eaten during the day before it rots. Change the water once or several times a day.
You can give your hamster treats such as mealworms, dog food (not cat food because it is often too salty), pieces of cooked egg whites, sunflower seeds, etc.
We don’t know if hamsters digest dairy properly, so it’s best to avoid it.
And of course, a hamster needs water, so give it fresh every day. Even though it may seem like he doesn’t take any of it, they don’t drink much either but they need it.
Do not give a gnawing stone, lick stone, or gnawing block. These are sold in pet stores but hamsters don’t need these and can even overdose on salt or other minerals from these causing death.
To wear down his teeth, the hamster has enough of the ordinary hard food. Otherwise, you can also give them some wood to chew.
Breeding Roborovski dwarf hamsters
Nothing is cuter than a litter of young hamsters, but there is a lot involved (including knowledge of genetics) and it is best left to professionals.
The shelters are full enough with hamsters as it is, so we strongly advise against this. The gestation period is about 20 days, a litter contains 4 – 9 young, but outliers of 12 young or more can occur.
The cubs are littermates, they are born bald and blind. Do not touch the young for the first few days, your smell could lead to cannibalism from the mother.
At 3 weeks the young become sexually mature, so it is important to separate them in time.
Roborovski dwarf hamster Health
This hamster is very fragile from a digestive point of view, prone to occlusions as well as diarrhea, that’s why you shouldn’t give him too much fruit.
He is also sensitive to respiratory problems, so we advise you to avoid dusty litters. Wood shavings are also to be avoided, as they may hurt your hamster’s paws.
Regularly check that no lumps appear on the belly, on the testicles, on the vulva: like all hamsters, Roborovskis are prone to tumors.
Look at the condition of the legs, which should not be scratched, the claws and the teeth if you can to check their length. If they are excessively long, consider giving your hamster more things to gnaw on and taking him to the vet to have the claws trimmed.
Finally, to keep your Roborovski hamster healthy, keep it free of stress such as other animals (cats, dogs) around its cage and let it sleep during the day.
Some good practices with Roborovski Hamsters
A Roborovski dwarf hamster can be kept with more than one adult if a group of only females or only males is formed.
The hamster must have enough space. Roborovski dwarf hamster needs a cage with a minimum of 1000 square inches. Bigger is always better. And with more hamsters, you also need a bigger cage.
The wheel of a Roborovski dwarf hamster should have a diameter of at least 17 cm and preferably be closed (without bars).
You must be prepared to pay for good food, vet fees, etc..
Roborovski hamsters are certainly small but they have needs like any other hamsters, a large cage and daily maintenance, and a lot of attention and love.
I don’t recommend them as a first hamster, but they can be very gentle with children after they have been tamed.