Monday, April 9, 2012

Roborovski Hamster - Generalities

The Roborovski Hamster - Phodopus roborovskii - also called robo's were discovered by Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski during an expedition made in June 1894. Roborovski Hamsters were first studied in captivity just over a decade by Satunin in 1903. They were first imported England in 1960 by The London Zoo. Currently are common in pet stores almost everyone.

Roborovski Hamsters can be found in the wild steppe areas near the Gobi desert across Mongolia and northern China. They very well adapted to the steppe climate, ergo they are extremely effective in the water consumption and extraction from existing vegetation. In their natural habitat they live in burrows formed by deep tunnels 60 cm to 2 m below ground.

Roborovski hamsters are the smallest of hamsters commonly kept as pets. They are born measuring 4-5cm  and weigh 22-28g. The distinguishing features are white eyebrows and lack dorsal stripes present in all other species of dwarf hamsters. They live on average three yearsr. Roborovski hamsters' fur is gray-brown with white belly. Recently, a mutation occurred that gave rise to so-called white  face hamster. Mating them with wild hamsters (those with natural coloring) rezults in hybrids with bleached hair.


Rborovski Hamsters are generally shy and timid but very active and curious. They also are not noisy as other species of hamsters, which squeak and make a ruckus. To be domesticated, they must be used with human contant from birth. This may require patience and time invested by the caregiver. It's better not to make sudden gestures or loud noises when you manipulate them. A  scared hamster can panic and can jump out of your hand, iregardless of the distance to the ground and it's very hard to catch, being extremely small and fast.

Roborovski hamsters love life in the colony. Yet they are extremely territorial and can fight to the death if they come from different colonies. In the cage or aquarium they will play, eat and will sleep in the same place without problems. They are excellent pets for those who want to have fun watching them. Also they are appreciated because of the ease of wich you can care for them. However due to their very small size Roborovski hamsters are not suitable for children.

Although nocturnal, they are more active during the day than Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). But bear in mind not to leave the cage under the sunlight, a shady spot being indicated. Like most small animals, Roborovski hamsters do not see red light. Therefore a red light bulb placed above the aquarium will provide the opportunity to watch their fascinating behavior at night. Roborovski Hamsters can run up to 20 miles (32km) per night in about 8 hours and half. Like the rest of hamsters, Roborovski hamsters have very poor eye-sight but the smell is highly developed, and mark their territory using specially adapted glands.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More