Overview of Roborovski Hamsters
The Roborovski hamster, also known as the Desert hamster is the smallest breed of pet hamster with adults reaching 1-2 inches in length. They are sandy-brown with a white stomach and white marks over their eyes but do not have the same dorsal stripe as other dwarf hamsters. They are native to the Gobi Desert, the desert steppe of Mongolia and parts of Kazakhstan, Russia and Northern China.
Roborovski Hamsters have an average lifespan of 2-2.5 years with some reaching 3. They are very quick and agile, which can make handling difficult. It is important to get them accustomed to handling from an early age, as it can be difficult to tame older animals. Roborovski's are not guaranteed to stay in same sex pairs and can fall out, this does not seem to be related to gender, either males or females are just as likely to live together or fall out.
Roborovski hamsters can be kept in 1cm barred cages but may do better in a bin cage with 6ml mesh or a tank a minimum of 50cm by 30cm for a pair. They should be provided with a solid-based wheel and plenty of deep substrate for digging. Roborovski's like to climb and dig and having nothing to climb on will often result in habitual jumping in one corner of their cage.
They should be given plenty of nests and gnawing material. They can also be given a sand bath; sand baths can be offered for a few hours an evening and then removed, as they will otherwise become fouled. Roborovski's really benefit from the addition of a sand bath, without which they often look quite greasy. Children's playsand is very good and can be given in a shallow bowl.
Their diet can be a normal hamster mix, although some of the larger pellets may need to be broken up with a mortar and pestle. This can be supplemented with fresh fruit and veg, although never too large amounts as this can cause diarrhoea.