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Roborovski Dwarf Hamster

(Phodopus roborovskii)

 

Hamsters get their name from the German word "hamstern" which means to hoard. This is a reference to their food gathering habits.  

 

Kingdom:

Animalia

Phylum:

Chordata

Class:

Mammalia

Order:

Rodentia

Family:

Cricetidae

Subfamily:

Cricetinae

Genus:

Phodopus

Species:

P. roborovski

 

 The Roborovski dwarf hamster or Desert hamster originates from Central Asia, Northern Russia, Mongolia and Northern China where they will inhabit semi-arid areas with little vegetation.

 I’ve read lifespan for Roborovski's hamsters is anywhere from 2 years to 3-1/2. 3 years is the most documented lifespan I have found for the Robo hamsters.

 Size: 4-5 cm (1.5-2 in) - smallest breed of hamster kept as a pet.

 The Roborovski’s upper body is a grayish/tan and white underneath. It has very distinct white eyebrows and no black/dark dorsal strip like the other dwarf hamsters.

 Its extremely small size make them very difficult to handle, and therefore is not an ideal first hamster or for someone looking for a hamster to handle often. The Roborovski Dwarf hamster is extremely fast and lively, they are also quite shy. Again this means that they are totally unsuitable for young children, who will want to play with them and pick them up.  The Roborovski Dwarf hamster rarely nips or bites.  They really are very energetic and can be very entertaining to watch. 

 
Above Photo of Yahoo & Pogo
{visit their Hammie Blog}

 Dwarf hamsters, live in small families or communities; this is why several Dwarf hamsters can be kept in the same cage.  I purchased 2 males, Pogo and Yahoo.  The more hamsters the more caging needed and more chances for fighting to break out.  If the fighting is bad enough you will have to separate them.  Mine only squabble a bit trying to decide which one gets to be first in line on the wheel.  They like to be on the wheel at the same time.

 Being so small one should be careful when selecting a home for this teeny tiny guys.  A good sized aquarium is acceptable. I considered a 20 Gallon Tank, 24" L x 12" W x 16" H. and would have need to add a wire mesh top for ventilation and keep the cats away.  Instead I purchased a Critter Trail brand cage since it was designed for mice and hamsters.  It has a 3/8” cage spacing which they can not squeeze through.  I like it because it offers a lot of ventilation, a variety of tubing and additional components.  The boys also have moments when they climb the cage.

 In the wild they live in burrows with steep tunnels some 2-6 feet beneath the sand.  For me this means when the budget and space allow another cage and more tubing.  Again I use the Critter Trail brand tubing.  It has a ribbed design which definitely helps my small hammies when climbing.  On the Critter Trail Two cage I purchased the 10” on center vertical for tubing was too much for the hammies so I inserted a 90 degree elbow.  They turn quite easily between straight lengths and are no longer uneasy about going up and down the tubing.

 A must have for the hammies is a wheel.  The wheels today are very quiet and with the solid plastics these little guys can’t slip through and hurt themselves.  If you were given a wire wheel weave cardboard through to protect their little legs.  Pogo and Yahoo both like to be on the wheel at the same time so I purchased an expansion pack that had a wheel.  They like both wheels but still prefer to be on the same wheel at the same time together.  Go figure.

 As for bedding I chose Aspen because it has a low amount of oils.  NEVER use cedar or plywood shavings.  The oils and glues are dangerous. 

 I purchased Pogo and Yahoo on July 2, 2006 I was told they are 1 ½ months old.  In the first 2 weeks I have spent quite a bit to make my hammies happy.  Keep scrolling I’ve included pictures and approximate prices of the items purchased so far.

 

CritterTrail Two, 16"L x 10.5"W x 16"H  = $35.99 

Manufacturers Description: CritterTrail TWO offers two spacious levels of living space for all hamsters, gerbils or mice. CritterTrail TWO comes complete with two Comfort Shelves, a 10oz. water bottle, food dish, exercise wheel and three Fun-nels climbing tubes. CritterTrail TWO features Super Pet’s unique “Petting Zone.” The cool “Petting Zone” is a special area of the home that you can open so you can pick up your pet or provide them with a tasty treat. Even if your favorite critter isn't in the Petting Zone, there are two "E-Z" access doorways on the CritterTrail TWO making access to your pet easy and simple. CritterTrail TWO also has six locations where accessories can be attached to the home so add as many fun accessories as you can.

My Opinion:  I rarely use the “Petting Zone” as I don’t want Pogo or Yahoo to escape.  They really are fast.  I do line it with bedding and they sleep there on occasion.  The tubing up to the “Petting Zone” is 10” on center too steep fro these little hammies to go down so I added a 90 degree elbow in the middle. I purchased the elbow with an addition tubing pack. The equipped water bottle is pretty cheap and is on one of the shelves.  At first the boys had a hard time finding the water so I purchased an additional water bottle.  This cage definitely offers a lot of options for adding on and comes apart easy for cleaning.  Even the wheel comes apart.

 

Water Bottle 4oz = $3.49

 

CritterTrail Accessory Expansion Kit 3 = $22.99 (I can’t remember) 

Manufacturers Description:  CritterTrail Accessory Kits offer an easy way to expand any CritterTrail Home, at a great value compared to purchasing accessories individually. Accessory Expansion Kit 2 offers enough accessories to remodel your pet's home! Great for adding extra living space and fun for hamsters, gerbils, and mice! Includes a Loop-D-Loop, Outhouse, Snap-on Comfort Wheel, and Fun-nel Tubes and Rings. 

My Opinion:  The boys enjoy the dark purple of the Loop to hide in.  The Loop also comes apart and I offset the dome.  Like I said earlier I thought they would each have a wheel but they insist on sharing.  Bonus for them the wheel is wider and they can run side by side.  They now use both wheels.  I am considering getting them a third as they often like to nest in this one.  The “Outhouse” believe it or not they make “Potty Litter” I spent approximately $4.00 on a little litter tray and the litter.  Got rid of the litter tray, they didn’t use it and tried the “Outhouse”.  They didn’t use that either.  So, the litter went in the garbage and I added some bedding and some of their food for them to find.  This works great for them.  The “Outhouse” top flips open for easy cleaning.  I actually broke the outhouse by dropping it on the tiled floor.  They did notice right away that it was missing.  I don't want to buy the whole kit just for the "Outhouse". 

 

Super Pet® Fun-nels Large Value Pack = $10.99 x 4 = $43.96 

Super Pet® Fun-nels  Value Pack #2 = $9.99 x 1 = $9.99

Manufacturers Description:  Make your CritterTrail home even more incredible with the vibrantly colored Fun-nels you receive in CritterTrail Fun-nels Value Packs! This Value Pack gives you three Fun-nels Elbows, three sizes of Fun-nels Tubes, a Fun-nels Tee, Fun-nels Rings, and a Fun-nels Bubble-Plug. Add on other Fun-nels Value Packs to increase the fun in your pet's super cool home! With the Fun-nels Value Packs, you can give your CritterTrail home all the twists and turns you need to turn your CritterTrail home into a fantastically fun, Fun-nel city!

 My Opinion:  First they do offer a couple of smaller expansion sets and Tees can be purchased separately.  You’ll see in the set- up picture below what I have created with the extra tubing.  I currently have some additional lengths of tubing not used but again when the budget allows I’m sure I’ll find a way to use them.  They do love the extra tubing and are small enough to turn all the way around in it.  The various lengths of tubing also come apart for easy cleaning. I finally purchased some more tubing and Tees. This made for a large expansion and I need more. Updated pictures below.

 

 

CritterTrail Lazy Look-out = $4.99

Manufacturers Description CritterTrail Lazy Look-out is a fun accessory that you can add-on to any CritterTrail home giving your pet another cool area to look around or hide-out. You will need to attach Lazy Look-out to a 10" Fun-nels Tube, Item #60550, so your pet will be able to climb safely from their CritterTrail home into its Lazy Look-out. The lid on your new “Lazy Look-out” can even be opened so you can pick up your pet.

 My OpinionIt was on clearance for $4.99.  I don't think I like it though.  I won't be able to see the boys if they are in it.

CritterTrail Fun-nels- Tee = $3.49 x 4 = $13.96

Manufacturers Description CritterTrail Fun-nel Tubes attach directly to each other and to the inside and outside of your CritterTrail home. If you can imagine it, you can build it with CritterTrail Fun-nels! The tubes are available in four colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can create a huge playground for your pet. Our Fun-nels Tee provides a fun choice of direction into your Critters Maze. Right or Left, Up or Down which way will they go! With CritterTrail Accessories, your imagination is your only limit.

 My Opinion:  Needed 2 for the 7/21/06 addition.

 

Kaytee Aspen Bedding - 1200 cubic inch = $4.29 

Kaytee Aspen Bedding - 3200 cubic inch = $7.69

Manufacturers Description:  This bedding has a low amount of wood oils and may be preferred for animals with sensitive respiratory systems. Manufactured with all natural Aspen shavings, it is specially treated using a triple cleaning process to help eliminate dust and wood debris. 

My Opinion:  For 3 complete cage cleanings I’ve used 1/3 of a package.  I use the bedding liberally.  I will NOT use the Pine bedding because of the oils in the Pine.  Some say this is fine but for approximately a $1.00 more I’m sticking with the Aspen.  I have since purchased the 3200 cubic inch bag now that I have more storage space.  I've used just over 1/2 in 7 months

 

Nutriphase Gold Hamster/Gerbil Diet, 2.75 lb = $4.99 x 4 = $19.96 

Manufacturers Description:  This blend of seeds, grains and added nutrients contains the ingredients that hamsters and gerbils find most appealing, including corn, sunflowers seeds and alfalfa. The high-quality proteins in Nutriphase support normal tissue growth and health. Nutriphase foods offer excellent nutrition at a great value. Resealable ziplock bag. 

My Opinion:  The first bag of food I purchased for $4.99 was mice/rat food by mistake.  Read the labels carefully.  The Gold costs approximately $2.00 more a bag and has a slightly higher percentage of crude protein.  Again, only the best for my boys.

 

Nutriphase® Small Pet Treat Sticks = $1.99 x 4 = $7.96

Manufacturers Description Hamster & Gerbil variety contains peanuts, raisins, carrots, bananas, applies, corn and other wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruit.

My Opinion:  Pogo went to check this new treat out right away.  I'm sure they will both love it.

 

Super Pet® Branch Bites = $2.19 

Manufacturers Description:  Critters can't resist these tasty bark covered twigs made from all-natural fruitwood. Branch bites are the natural chew treats for hamsters, gerbils, mice and other critters. 

My Opinion:  I’ve tossed a couple of these in the boys’ cage and they seem to nibble on them from time to time.  Plenty of sticks to last quite awhile.

 

HamsteroidsTM Cosmic Chew Sticks = $4.99 

Manufacturers Description:  Fruit-scented popsicle chew toys are made with 100% ground calcium and wood sticks. Helps keep teeth ground down. Perfect for hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, and guinea pigs.  A fantastic chew and exercise toy designed provide hours of exercise and enjoyment while providing the necessary filing for pet's teeth. 

My Opinion:  I’ve put one in there cage.  They don’t seem too interested.  This package should last a very long time.

 

Roll-A-Nest, 4.25" diameter = $3.99 x2 = $7.98 

Manufacturers Description:  Small animals require an area where they can peacefully hide out for comfort and security. The Roll-A-Nest is unique because it's great for chewing, nesting and resting! Made of all natural grasses. The regular size is for hamsters, gerbils, mice, and dwarf hamsters. The Giant Roll-A-Nest and Bigger Giant Roll a Nest are for ferrets, rats, and guinea pigs. 

My Opinion:  I picked up the small one and they love it.  They don’t always share it together.  They also enjoy climbing over it.  I will definitely get another when I purchase an additional cage.  I did purchase a second nest but now that I supply them with small amounts of toilet paper on a roll they prefer to nest under that or with just the 1 I originally purchased.  

 

T-Rex Rave Wholesome Fun-Logs

T-Rex Rave Wholesome Fun-Logs = $2.99 

Manufacturers Description:  Fun-Logs are the real wood climb, hide, chew, and play toys for your small animals. 

My Opinion:  I tried putting this on one of the cage shelves and didn’t care for it.  I then tried the floor of their cage and they have both explored it.  Will purchase another. I have decided to not purchase another and instead focused on adding more tubing for them to run through.  they enjoy more tubing than this log.  May try one of those edible logs that are shaped like a T.

 

 I also purchased a small wooden house for $1.99.  It was too big for their cage so since it came in 2 pieces I’ll use half.  They don’t seem too interested, a waste of money.  I trashed it.

 

One of the best toys is a toilet paper tube with a bunch of sheets left on it.  The price is great too.  Do not use scented or aloe toilet paper. 

 

2 - Roborovski dwarf hamsters 07/02/06

$27.98

Cage/Bedding/Food/Accessories 07/02/06 $129.86
Cage/Bedding/Food/Accessories 07/21/06 $28.94
Cage/Bedding/Food/Accessories 05/01/07 $45.60

GRAND TOTAL as of 05/17/07

$232.38

Amount wasted = $10.98

 

 

Also a member of Hamsters Galore a MSN group.

 

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Hammie Home 05/17/2007Below


Hammie Home 07/21/2006 Below


Hammie Home 07/14/2006 Below

 


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