The Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is also known as the Desert Dwarf Hamster. This is because it 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-torso length : up to 7 cm
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are dusk active, ie they are most active in the evening and early morning. However, the animals sleep cyclically, which means that a few hours of sleep is alternated with a few hours of being awake, so 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 regularly awake, so that they can also be seen during the day. This can be especially fun for children. Although the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster looks very cuddly, he does not always like to be cuddled and he finds it very scary, especially in the beginning. Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are very fast, which makes them difficult to handle, especially for children. Because the animals cannot see depth, they can run from your hand if they are startled, so it is important when children handle the animals that there is always a parent present who can help and support.
A new resident should be approached calmly, especially at first. 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 the first time. Give the animal time and try to make contact calmly by talking to the Dwarf Hamster(s). Handing over some treats often also works well to gain the trust of the animals.
Housing of 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. 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 stay gives the animals the opportunity to display their natural behaviour. In the wild, Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters build beautiful corridors and they want 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 fortress in the wild is 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 accommodation with possibilities for digging and a sand part of at least 1/3 of the accommodation. A terrarium is the best choice because of its closed nature. 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 part of sand is important for the animals because they are desert inhabitants, 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 in normal ground cover.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters cannot tolerate high temperatures in combination with high humidity. They are desert dwellers by nature, so they are not used to high humidity. An optimal 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 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 come across a shelter now and then they already feel a lot safer. Our advice is therefore to have at least two houses for the hamster. A house where the dwarf hamster can sleep and another where he can hide. At least one of the two houses must be larger so that the dwarf hamster can also dispose of its food supplies. Not being able to put away food supplies can cause stress for the animals.
Running wheel for a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
The hamster running wheel is a very important part of the design of the dwarf hamster house. 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 in a running wheel makes hamsters happy, that digestion is promoted and that the animals generally remain in good condition by running.
It is wise to place several running wheels as the group grows in order to prevent the animals from arguing about the running wheel.
Ground cover for the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
A section of sand is important for the Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters. In addition, it is important that the ground cover for Dwarf Hamsters can be dug, i.e. that they can make holes and holes in it, which preferably remain standing. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is digable in itself or by mixing ground cover to make it digable. Examples of excavatable 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 like to take regular sand baths . The ideal housing distribution for a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is 1/3 sand and the rest a digable bedding. Sand has a degreasing effect and therefore also has a cooling effect. 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 because of the sand, it can start to itch, causing the animals to bathe even more. It is therefore important to keep an eye on 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 that they can line their burrows 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 nests.
Nest material should be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot get 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 diet of Rovorovski Dwarf Hamsters mainly consists of seeds and a small amount of 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 his food in his cheek pouches and quickly takes it to his house or pantry. Transporting food in the cheek pouches is also called "Hoarding". Thanks to the cheek pouch muscle, the food is retained in the cheek pouch and the hamster can transport it safely and quickly.
Dental formula: 1013/1013 (Incisor ratio at the top - bottom = 1 : 2-3) Incisors keep growing
The percentage of crude fiber in the diet must be a maximum of 10% for optimal digestibility and absorbability of the food.
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. It is therefore necessary that they can gnaw on something to wear out 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 gnawing very actively and others don't at all. It is on the one hand a matter of taste, but on the other hand a matter of need. If a Dwarf Hamster has no need to gnaw because the teeth stay at a good length through food, hay or other nibbles, he will gnaw less on gnawing wood. It is good to always offer natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw if they have a need to gnaw.
Dental problems in Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters
If you notice that your Dwarf Hamster is eager to tackle the food, but then doesn't eat it, there may be something wrong with the teeth. Drooling can also indicate dental problems. If you suspect that you have dental problems, it is best to contact your vet.
Reproduction of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are social animals and in the wild also live together in small family groups. 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 rut) and ready to mate every 4 days. This will take approximately 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 a 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 fungus 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 food.
If you have the following symptoms, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian:
Drooling, moist nose and eyes, protruding teeth, not eating, losing weight, eating foreign materials that are softer than the food.
Bald spots, lots of scratching, scabs, wounds, bumps and nodules
Wet and dirty ass, drinking a lot, falling over, listlessness, different shape and color of the droppings.