Everything You Need to Know About the Roborovski Hamster

Posted by Tori Holmes
Veterinary Online

Have you heard the expression "good things come in small packages"? Here is everything you need to know about the Roborovski hamster.

The Roborovski is the smallest and fastest breed of hamster, originating from the desert regions of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, a Russian explorer, first discovered them in 1894 but only underwent scientific study in 1903. The Roborovski hamster was brought to Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, eventually was imported to the United States in 1998.

These little hamsters are as quick as they are small, often running over 100 miles in a single night. Watching them, it's easy to see that the Roborovski hamster rarely sits still.

This doesn't mean that you can't have fun with your Roborovski hamster, however. When properly tamed, Roborovski hamsters like to engage in interactive play with their owners. Interactive play is when the hamster freely explores the owner, climbing or burrowing under their limbs.

The lifespan of Roborvski hamsters is between two and three years, but they have been known to live as long as four years.

Overall, Roborovski hamsters are not recommended for children or those looking for a pet that they can handle regularly.

Hover over the image for more information.

Body

When full grown, the Roborovski hamster will be approximately 2 inches and length, weighing 20 – 25 grams. They have longer legs than most dwarf hamsters, with their back legs being especially long.

Coat

The coat of the Roborovski hamster is short and smooth, and comes in two colors: Agouti and white-face.

Agouti is the traditional color, characterized by light brown to beige coloring with gray roots, and white stomachs. They also have distinctive white dots above their eyes, giving them the appearance of having eyebrows.

White-face Roborovski hamsters look similar to the Agouti, but the entire face is white.

Other colors are available, but they are much rarer and only available through select breeders.

Temperament

Roborovski hamsters are naturally timid and are easily frightened by loud noises. Their size and speed, along with timid personality make them “look but don't touch” pets.

Health

Roborovski hamsters have a tendency to develop a neurological disorder that causes them to spin in circles. Spinning behavior is intensified when the hamster is excited or under stress, but they often live a normal life. This condition is more commonly seen in white-face rather than Agouti Roborovski hamsters.

Body image courtesy of Warren Photographic

Everything You Need to Know About the Roborovski Hamster