The Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is also called the desert dwarf hamster. That is because he does indeed live naturally in the (semi) deserts of Russia, China, Manchuria and Mongolia. The Roborovski is also the smallest and fastest dwarf hamster species.
Head-body length : up to 7 cm
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are twilight active, which means that they are most active in the evening and early morning. However, the animals sleep cyclically, that is, a few hours of sleep alternate with a few hours of being awake, which means that these dwarf hamsters are also regularly awake during the day.
Tame and familiarize yourself with the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Always read carefully before you decide to get one or two Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters. They are very nice pets that are awake regularly, so they can also be seen during the day. This can be especially fun for kids. Although the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster looks very cuddly, he doesn't always like to be hugged and he certainly finds it very scary at first. Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are very fast, which makes them sometimes difficult to handle, especially for children. Because the animals do not see depth, they can run off your hand if they are frightened, so it is important when children handle the animals that there is always a parent present who can help and support.
A new resident must be approached calmly, especially during the first few months. The animal must first become familiar with its own enclosure, feel safe in it before it dares to approach people. Of course there are also daredevils who immediately approach you and are social, but most hamsters are a bit shy at first. Give the animal time and try to make contact calmly by talking to the Dwarf hamster(s). Handing out some treats often works well to gain the trust of the animals.
Housing the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are social animals that can be kept together. The best combination is male/female, but then young will be born. Two males or two females can also be kept together, but be very well informed about this because the animals can also get into a fight just like that. So it is not said that keeping two Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters together always goes well.
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters need a spacious enclosure of at least 80 x 40 cm ( LICG ). A good enclosure gives the animals the opportunity to show their natural behaviour. In the wild, Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters build beautiful tunnel systems and they would like to continue to do so in captivity. The Roborovski has a very simple corridor system, it is actually a straight tunnel with a nesting chamber at the end. The lining of the nest consists mainly of camel wool. The burrow in the wild lies at a depth of about 1 meter and is between 50 - 100 cm long. The depth of the castle depends on the ambient temperature. When the temperature rises, the dwarf hamster digs deeper underground to reach the cool earth, a kind of natural air conditioning.
Hamsterscaping is therefore great fun for Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters.
At our home this translates into a spacious enclosure with digging possibilities and a sand part of at least 1/3 of the enclosure. A terrarium is the best choice here thanks to its closed character. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably has two grids (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.
A sand part is important for the animals because they are desert dwellers, that is of course the natural environment of the animals. Chinchilla sand can be used for this. The disadvantage of Chinchilla sand is that no holes can be made in it, so the dwarf hamsters also need a part where they can dig comfortably in normal soil cover.
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters cannot withstand high temperatures in combination with high humidity. They are desert dwellers by nature, so they are not used to high humidity. An optimum humidity for these animals is on average around 55%. A temperature between 20 - 24°C is recommended and a humidity below 70%. You can use a hygrometer to measure these values.
House for a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are lucky! because almost all houses that are made for hamsters are a good size for this dwarf hamster species. Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are prey animals and do not like to walk openly through the enclosure, if they occasionally encounter a shelter they feel a lot safer. Our advice is therefore to have at least two houses for the hamster. A house for the dwarf hamster to sleep in and another one for him to hide in. At least one of the two houses must be larger so that the dwarf hamster can store its food supplies there as well. Not being able to put food supplies away can cause stress for the animals.
Wheel for a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
The hamster wheel is a very important part of the design of the dwarf hamster enclosure. Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are active animals that like to run, often at night. This is because they naturally run a lot at night in search of food. This is, as it were, in their DNA. In addition, scientific research has shown that running on a running wheel makes hamsters happy, that this promotes digestion and that the animals generally stay in good shape by running.
It is wise to place several exercise wheels as the group grows to prevent the animals from fighting over the exercise wheel.
Ground cover for the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
A sand part is important for the Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters, it is also important that the soil cover is dignable for Dwarf Hamsters , which means that they can make corridors and holes in it, which preferably remain. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is already diggable in itself or by mixing ground cover crops together to make them diggable. Examples of excavable soil cover are, for example, the Humus and the Holenzand , but also Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber , Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber , Hemp Fiber and Hay. Ground covers such as Back 2 Nature are not suitable because the animals cannot dig in them. The ideal height of the digging part is between 15 and 20 cm.
Sand bath for Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters enjoy regular sand baths . The ideal housing distribution for a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is 1/3 sand and the rest a diggable bedding. Sand has a degreasing effect and therefore also cooling. Because sand is degreasing, it also has a drying effect. Animals with skin problems should therefore not be given a sand bath. If the skin dries out too much due to the sand, it can start to itch, causing the animals to bathe even more. It is therefore important to monitor the bathing behavior of the Dwarf hamsters and to remove the sandbox if there are signs of skin problems (red spots, bald spots, scabs, wounds).
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are nest builders
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are real nest builders, they always need nesting material so they can line their hole with it. Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a dwarf hamster. Therefore always give him 15-25 grams of nesting material. In the wild, Roborovski Dwarf hamsters collect camel fur to line their nest.
Nesting material must be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot become entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.
Roborovski Dwarf hamster food
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are granivores (seed eaters). The food of Rovorovski Dwarf hamsters consists mainly of seeds and a little vegetable food in the form of herbs , but also animal proteins. Roborovski Dwarf hamsters catch small insects in the wild, so it is good if their diet also contains a small amount of animal protein.
Of all Dwarf Hamster species, the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster has the smallest need for animal protein . They really eat less animal protein compared to the Russian Dwarf Hamster for example.
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters carry their hamster food in their cheek pouches. What you see is that the Dwarf Hamster stuffs its food into its cheek pouches and quickly takes it to its house or storage room. Carrying food in the cheek pouches is also referred to as "Hoarding". Thanks to the cheek pouch muscle, the food is held in the cheek pouch and the hamster can transport it safely and quickly.
Dental formula: 1013/1013 (Ratio upper - lower incisors = 1 : 2-3) Incisors continue to grow
The percentage of crude fiber in the diet should be a maximum of 10% for optimal digestibility and absorption of the diet.
Gnawing material for Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters have a natural need to gnaw. This is because dwarf hamsters are rodents and have growing incisors. So it is necessary that they can gnaw on something to wear down the teeth. If Dwarf hamsters have too few opportunities to wear down the teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.
Some Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters gnaw very actively at rodents and others do not at all. On the one hand it is a matter of taste, but on the other hand it is a matter of need. If a Dwarf hamster has no need to gnaw because the teeth stay long due to the food, hay or other nibbles, it will gnaw less at rodents. It is good to always offer natural rodent wood so that the animals can always gnaw when they have a need to gnaw.
Dental problems in Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
If you notice that your Dwarf hamster is very enthusiastic about the food, but then does not eat it, there may be something wrong with the teeth. Drooling can also indicate dental problems. If you suspect that there are dental problems, it is best to contact the vet.
Reproduction of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are social animals and also live together in small family groups in the wild. Once young are born, the parents care for the young together until they are old enough to leave the nest.
The female is willing (in heat) and ready to mate every 4 days. This takes about 12 hours. If a successful mating has taken place on these days, the young are born after about 19 days.
The difference between males and females can be seen in the distance between the genital opening and the anus. This distance is greater in a male than in the female.
Sexual maturity : from 5 - 6 weeks
Health of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are generally quite healthy animals. The most common health problems are skin problems. Because Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are desert animals, their skin is used to a slightly drier climate. By offering chinchilla sand, the coat and skin can be kept in good condition. If the animals do not have access to sand, the fur can become greasy and the skin can become unbalanced, resulting in inflammation and mold formation.
It is not necessary to treat the animals preventively with anti-parasite. It is not necessary to give extra vitamins with a complete hamster diet.
With the following symptoms, it is wise to consult a veterinarian
Drooling, moist nose and eyes, protruding teeth, not eating, losing weight, eating foreign materials that are softer than food.
Bald spots, lots of scratching, scabs, wounds, bumps and lumps
Wet and dirty ass, drinking a lot, falling over, lethargy, different shape and color of the droppings.