Roborovsky dwarf hamster

Roborovsky dwarf hamster

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The Roborowski dwarf hamster is the smallest hamster in the world! Find out more about the appearance, offspring, behavior and keeping of the Roborowski dwarf hamster in the profile.

The Roborowski dwarf hamster is not just the tiny one among the dwarf hamsters. He is the smallest hamster in the world!


Size: Females: 4.5 – 5.5 cm; Males: 6 – 7 cm
Weight: Females: 17 – 22 g; Male: 20 – 25 g
Body: cylindrical
Head: round, with large black eyes
Coat hair: short, dense
Life expectancy: 1 – 2 years


Class:  Mammals
Order:  Rodents
Family:  Burrowers
Subfamily: Hamsters
Genus:  Short-tailed dwarf hamster
Species:  Roborowski dwarf hamster ( Phodopus roborovskii)

Appearance and coloring of the Roborowski dwarf hamster

In contrast to the other dwarf hamsters, the Roborowski dwarf hamster does not have a dark dorsal stripe on its back, but rather an evenly sand-colored fur, which gives it a good camouflage color for its natural habitat. The coat of the Roborowski dwarf hamster is also a bit longer and the tiny hamster also has hair on its feet. The snout and abdomen of the Roborovsky hamster are white.

Breeding with other colors does not yet exist. Every now and then one finds the “white-headed Roborowski” as a new coloring of the Roborowski dwarf hamster. But beware! This is torture breeding. With the white coloring of the head, the spinning disease is also inherited, in which the Roborowski dwarf hamsters constantly turn in circles.

Read Also: Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries?

Offspring and rearing of the Roborowski dwarf hamster

The Roborovsky dwarf hamsters have a seasonal breeding cycle: from April/May to September. During this time, the females give birth to three to four litters.

The mating behavior of dwarf hamsters is somewhat different than that of golden hamsters. As soon as a male Roborowski dwarf hamster notices that the female is willing to mate, it gets really hectic. Mating can then even take place a few seconds apart.

The period of gestation for Roborowski dwarf hamsters is 18 days. The mean litter size is very small compared to its larger relatives with four cubs . The female Roborowski dwarf hamster can occasionally give birth to up to eight babies. The young Roborowski dwarf hamsters are sexually mature themselves after just 30 days.

Behavior of the Roborovsky dwarf hamster

Roborowski dwarf hamsters are not only lively at night, but also in the morning. In contrast to their larger relatives, however, Roborowski dwarf hamsters neither hibernate nor fall into what is known as torpor. However, Roborowski dwarf hamsters are less active and hectic in the cold season .

In general, the Roborowski dwarf hamsters are very shy, but also very peaceful: They practically never bite, but still don’t like being petted. They are sociable animals compared to most other hamster species. In individual cases, Roborowski dwarf hamsters can even be kept in pairs.

In addition, Roborowski dwarf hamsters have an incredible urge to move and therefore need a lot of exercise and activity. After all, in the wild they are among the dwarf hamsters that have to travel the longest distance to their food source.

Communication and sensory performance in the Roborovsky dwarf hamster

Due to their exceptionally well-developed sense of smell, hearing and touch, Roborowski dwarf hamsters can find their way around in complete darkness and never lose their bearings.

Since the Roborowski dwarf hamsters are usually only out and about at dusk or at night, they cannot distinguish colors very well. The dwarf hamsters have a good all-round view thanks to their beady eyes, but they cannot see three-dimensionally. In addition, Roborowski dwarf hamsters are very short-sighted and can only see their surroundings clearly at a distance of one meter.

The sense of smell is probably the best developed in Roborowski dwarf hamsters. For example, when mating, the scent that the female emits during the mating season is particularly important. And this is how the dwarf hamster’s sense of smell works:

  • The scents are released via the faeces or urine, as well as via a special gland (ventral gland) that the hamsters have on the belly side.
  • The odors are not only absorbed via the olfactory cells in the nose, the  Roborowski dwarf hamster can also perceive substances, so-called pheromones, via the vomeronasal organ. Pheromones can be markers but also sex attractants and provide information about the degree of relationship or the sex and the willingness of the other hamster to mate.

The sense of hearing of the dwarf hamster is also well developed: it can perceive sounds that are in the ultrasonic range. The animals emit these particularly high-pitched sounds during mating and for defense.

Read Also: Can Hamsters Eat Frosted Flakes?

Keeping the Roborowski dwarf hamster

Keeping the Roborovsky dwarf hamster is a bit more complicated than its larger relatives. The bars of commercial cages are usually set too far apart so that the  Roborowski dwarf hamster can easily escape. Therefore,  a disused aquarium or terrarium is a good home for the  Roborowski dwarf hamster.

There is also a lot to consider when it comes to the food for the  Roborowski dwarf hamster: the food must contain fiber and be low in fat. It is best to offer hay and various fine seeds such as:

  • millet
  • linseed
  • Sesame seeds

You should completely avoid attractants such as peanuts in the Roborowski dwarf hamster‘s feeding schedule.

The  Roborowski dwarf hamsters are more suitable for hamster lovers who like to watch their animals. Roborowski dwarf hamsters are not suitable for children or newcomers to  hamsters  due to the demanding nature of keeping them

Did you know this about the Roborovsky dwarf hamster?

The dwarf hamster received the name Roborowski from its discoverer Roborovski, who dug up the little rodent in 1894. In 1903,   the researcher Satunin first described the Roborovsky dwarf hamster. The Roborowski dwarf hamster was first discovered as a pet in the 1970s.

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