Rooting For The Roborovski
Animal Scene|December 2017

Dispel the misconceptions about these common and cute creatures

Yvette Tan
The Roborovski hamster is named after Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, the Russian expeditioner who first took note of their existence in 1894. Robos grow to about 5 centimeters (cm). They are easily recognized by the small white brow-like spots on top of their eyes and the lack of a dorsal stripe that characterizes other dwarf hamsters.

Robos are extremely fast, and providing them means to exercise is important. Unlike other hamsters, they can be social creatures and do well in colonies. We asked hamster hobbyist Czarina Tan (CT), owner of Betta Diary and Emman Talucod (ET), who owns Wonder Pets petshop and is the chairman of Philippine Hamster Owners, to tell us more about these cute, speedy little balls of fur.

WHAT CHARACTERIZES A ROBOROVSKI HAMSTER?

ET: The Roborovski is one of many kinds of hamsters. It’s the smallest and fastest hamster in the world. Their whiskers are longer compared to other hamsters. A lot of people are attracted to hamsters because of their cute size and want to hold them, but Roborovskis can be hard to handle because they’re so small and fast. They’re aso a bit harder to breed than other hamsters because they have a 30-day gestation period. You really do need a bit more patience when caring for a Roborovski hamster.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CARING FOR ROBOROVSKI HAMSTERS?

ET: Caring for Roborovskis is similar to caring for other kinds of hamsters. However, you need to pay attention to the temperature; Robos are desert hamsters, so they need direct sunlight. At the same time, hamsters are prone to heat stroke, so keeping their habitats at room temperature is essential. It’s better if Roborovskis have a hide, or a place to burrow and stash their hoard in. Plastic or ceramic hides are okay. Hides made from organic materials aren’t advisable (unless they’re deemed safe and are regularly replaced) because the hamsters will chew on them.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CARE FOR ROBOROVSKI HAMSTERS?

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