Roborovski hamsters are becoming quite popular as family pets. They are good-natured and shy animals that are full of personality. If you are thinking of getting a new addition to your home then this guide will help you with everything that you need to know about the Roborovski Hamster.
Features and Origin
The Roborovski Hamster is the smallest species of hamster, growing to a maximum of 5cm in length. They originate from the deserts of Central Asia, spending the nights exploring, covering around six miles every night. They live in burrows that they dig themselves, some are over six feet deep under the sand. They are most active at dawn and dusk, meaning that they are crepuscular.
Roborovski hamsters are quite sociable animals, meaning that they can be kept in same sex pairs or groups. However, you will need to introduce the hamsters to each other at a young age. They are sweet hamsters, and they don’t tend to bite, but due to their size and speed, they can be difficult to handle. They are actually the fastest of the hamster family. However, they are greatly entertaining and fascinating creatures to watch. They also have a longer lifespan than most hamsters, living for around three to three and a half years. They are curious creatures that will love exploring and playing/interacting with new toys.
Wheels are a necessity for a Roborovski Hamster – it is in their nature to cover six miles every night. Therefore, placing a wheel in your hammy’s cage is a good way of letting them exercise while bringing them enjoyment and letting them burn their energy. When choosing a wheel, make sure that you choose one that does not make your hamster’s back arch when running on it. This can cause spinal injuries in your hammy and can lead to complications. Ideally your hamster should be running as though running on a flat surface inside its wheel. You should also avoid wheels that are made of wire, especially when catering for the smallest hamster species, as they can fall through the bars and get hurt.
Normally robos are sandy brown with a white stomach and white marks on their face. Some of them have a sandy brown colour covering their whole body, whereas others have a sandy body and a lighter face. You can also get platinum and white variations.
How to care for a Roborovski Hamster
Robo care is fairly simple, it is very similar to caring for any other hamster, so if you have had hamsters before then it will come as second nature to you.
Although they are small creatures, and the smallest of the hamsters, you will need to provide your robo with a decent sized cage in order to allow for exploring. The best cage is one that has at least a plastic bottom and bars with a quarter of an inch spacing between them or less. As mentioned, these hamsters are very small and we all know that hamsters are escape artists. A cage measuring around 30 x 20 x 20 inches will work a treat. It will allow plenty of room for exploring and it will hold more than one hamster if that’s what you decide on.
As mentioned, robos are quite adventurous and curious animals. To keep these active little hammys entertained, you are going to need to provide them with plenty of toys to keep them occupied and to burn their energy. Climbing frames, chewing toys, tunnels, and wheels are all good examples of toys that will have your hammy feeling happy and content in their new home. Don’t forget the tunnels, as mentioned before robos dig their own tunnels in the wild, it is in their nature to dig, they will love to run around the cage navigating the tunnels you place in their cage.
Remember that you will need to clean out your hamster’s cage at least once a week, by purchasing an animal safe disinfectant you can safely wipe down the surface of the cage and toys to allow for a safe and clean environment for your pet. Cleaning your hamster’s cage will stop your hammy from contracting illnesses such as wet tail.
You should also make sure to feed your hammy with a healthy and nutritional diet and provide water daily. They eat fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and insects. An unknown fact is that many hamsters’ love insects, robos are very fond of mealworms so you can even give your robo mealworms as a treat for being good. Make sure that the fruit you feed your pet is fresh, otherwise it may cause problems for your hammy. A high quality hamster food mix should be served daily, make sure not to feed them too much fruit at once. Robos are prone to diarrhoea and fruit will cause this if they eat too much. Make sure to choose a food mix that has plenty of protein, energy, and with a low fat and sugar content as dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes.
You get different types of hamster food mix, seed based, and pelleted are the most popular. Seeded food mix is a good choice for robos, and probably the most popular. Just make sure that your four-legged friend eats the whole dish of seeds before you add more or change the dish. Robos are clever animals and they will pick out their favourite seeds and leave the rest, this can be bad for their health by not providing them with a balanced diet. So, make sure your robo eats all of the seeds if you opt for the seeded mix option. If you go with the pellet mix, it does provide plenty of nutrients although most hamsters much prefer the seeded mix.
You should feed your hammy one spoonful of hamster mix per day, and per hamster. You should also provide fresh fruit and vegetables and you can give them regular treats such as mealworms.
With temperatures below around ten degrees celsius, sometimes a Roborovski Hamster can be triggered to go into hibernation. This means that they will become motionless and will not respond to you, so don’t panic. Your furry friend is ok, hammys associate colder temperatures with a lack of food and so they hibernate in order to preserve energy and to stay alive. If your hamster goes into hibernation, simply warm them up in your hands by gently stroking them and they will wake up.
You can read more about other hamster breeds on our blog to find out which hamster is the best for you.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Siberian Hamsters.