Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are relatively new hamsters on the pet market. But are quickly becoming more widespread as demand for them in the pet industry rises. They are the smallest type of hamster available as a pet, and generally, have excellent temperaments and will rarely ever nip or bite. Despite their temperament, Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are often not the best-suited pets for people who want a hamster to handle as they are very fast and can be difficult to hang on to. There are currently only two color mutations of Roborovski Dwarf Hamster, the classic sandy tan colored hamster with white facial markings above the eyebrows, and a white-faced “Husky” mutation.
Hamster History – The Origins of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
The Roborovski Dwarf Hamster is native to Mongolia and Northern China where it lives in semi-arid areas. The first reports of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster came from its namesake, Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, who made reports during an expedition near Nan Shan in 1894. The Roborovski hamster was first studied in captivity in 1903 by Satunin.
In the 1960’s, the London Zoo imported them into the UK. In the 1970’s, the Zoological Society of London obtained several Roborovski hamsters from the Moscow Zoo but were, unfortunately, able to breed them in captivity. Other European countries were more successful in breeding the hamsters obtained from Russia, and the first Roborovski hamsters that arrived in the pet market came in the UK in 1990. It is believed that the Roborovskis available as pets in the UK are descendants of a batch of hamsters imported from the Netherlands.
It was not until 1998 that a group of Roborovski hamsters was imported to a hamster breeder in the United States.
Just The Facts – Roborovskis in a Nutshell
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters live on average for 3 to 4 years and are long-lived then even the larger Syrian Hamster. They reach adult size at 4-5cm in body length. Domesticated Roborovski hamsters generally display nocturnal (awake at night, sleeping during the day) behavior or crepuscular (awake around dawn and twilight, sleeping during the day and night) behavior, and are moderately adaptive to the schedule of their human family. Roborovski dwarf hamsters are omnivores, and their teeth grow throughout their entire lives.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters can live socially with other dwarf hamsters of the same gender if they are raised together from the same litter or introduced at a very young age, and most Roborovskis are very social. It is not recommended to introduce adult hamsters.
The breeding habits of the Roborovski hamster are sporadic and unpredictable and may be linked to temperature, environment, and seasonal changes. Female hamsters generally have a 23-30 day gestation period. While the average litter is about six hamsters, larger litters are possible.
Zig! Zag! Racing Roborovskis!
While Roborovski is one of the least likely small pets to nip or bite, they do not make suitable children’s pets due to their speed. A Roborovski hamster is very, very fast and a hamster can quickly be lost in a room that isn’t correctly rodent-proofed.
While there are some calm Roborovski hamsters that are easier to handle, it’s generally recommended that small children not handle these hamsters to avoid them becoming lost. Does that mean you can’t have Roborovskis in a house with small children? Not necessarily, but parents should take precautions to ensure that these tiny hamsters don’t go astray or get injured.
A Husky Roborovski? Sledding or just big boned?
Roborovskis are much newer hamsters to the pet market, having been around less than twenty years where many other species of hamsters have been around for almost a hundred. This means that there are fewer color mutations available in a Roborovski then other hamsters.
There are currently only two color mutations of the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster; the standard sandy colored Roborovski has a white underbelly and white eyebrow markings with no dorsal stripes. The Husky Roborovski (also called the White Faced Roborovski) has white fur on their face and a normal sandy colored body.
Related Pet Hamster Care Guides: