Roborovski Hamsters – Smallest Hamsters in The World

by Drs. Foster and Smith on October 15, 2009

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Roborovski Hamster**Guest post from Felicia M.**

The Roborovski dwarf hamster is the smallest hamster in the world, maxing out at just under 3 inches long. This isn’t the only thing that makes “Robos” unique. They have the longest lifespan of any other pet hamster, up to 3-1/2 years. I also find their white eyebrows to be extremely endearing.

I started my own Robo family in 2007 with a pair named Reepicheep and Ratatouille. I read that Robos enjoy each other’s company and do well in groups, so I decided to breed them. When they were old enough, they had 2 litters of 4 babies each. They got along well, with a noisy little scuffle every now and then, until the first litter of babies was almost a year old.

They started fighting constantly, even causing some serious wounds. Before I knew it, I had hamsters in seven different Crittertrails and an aquarium. I was baffled by my hamster family’s fighting, so I decided to talk to other Robo owners and found that many were having similar aggression issues. Luckily, all my co-workers love animals; it wasn’t hard to find homes for my Robos. I tried in vain for months to discover who was compatible by using cage dividers, trial, and error. Ratatouille even started chasing Reepicheep and had to be separated. The females all had to be re-homed individually, because apparently, they don’t like company at all. The males were less aggressive; some paired up easily. I kept two of the brothers, Felix and Mookie, who have proven to be peaceful friends.

Roborovski hamster running in wheelMy Robos are very energetic and playful, running almost constantly when awake or not eating. Robos are the fastest of the pet hamsters and need a lot of room to exercise. (Notice in the photo, he’s running so fast his feet aren’t even touching!) I keep my two males in a 55 gallon aquarium with two wheels, and this seems to be enough for them. They are awake during the day more often than other hamsters, but are still mostly nocturnal. I am an extremely light sleeper, but don’t worry - the Silent Spinner wheels they have are absolutely noiseless.

I’ve never been bitten by one of my Robos, but they are super squirmy and don’t hesitate to jump out of my hand every chance they get. I am very careful and try to only handle them in their cage. They don’t seem to mind being touched and petted on the rare occasion they’re not running at full speed.

Their fur is thick and soft, and like other hamsters, they groom obsessively. If their fur starts to look oily, I let them roll around in some Critter Bath Powder. They appear to really enjoy these dust-baths, and it’s an interesting natural behavior to observe.

Robos are really different from all the other hamster species I’ve kept. Their high activity level makes them fun to watch, but difficult to handle and play with. I don’t think they’d make good pets for younger children for that reason. An older, more mature child (or adult) who would rather watch them than pick them up might be a better Robo keeper.

Roborovski hamsters have only been available to pet owners in the U.S. for a few years, so not a lot is known about them yet. If you have a Roborovski hamster, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about your experiences.

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{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy April 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

I put my female and male robo hammie together today but the male attacked the female and I had to split them, and i wanted a friend for the male so I bought a female but the male attacked her=\

Rose April 14, 2012 at 12:30 am

Aww I’m planning on buying one but still not sure cause you cant leave them all day…. I’m in school like almost all day. Oh can you walk your hamster outside? Like with a little leash on it..

lucy April 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

rose, im glad ur getting a hammie, i dont think there is a leash for a robo hammie but there is for the golden hamster and the teddy bear one( most big hamsters you see in the store can fit in the leash) good luck!

Eden April 16, 2012 at 12:18 am

I just got two of my own robos and I love them. I’v named them Navi and Bruce they are both girls (yeah weird that I named my girl hamster Bruce but I’m a huge fan of batman and I thought she wouldnt mind ) so far they are really fun I love to watch them run on the wheel they are so full of energy!

Lexie April 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I got 3 robos at first because i heard they did better in groups… one of them died because they fought too much…. then the two i had left fought a whole lot more… when i looked, i saw babies.. so i thought tht wen they fought a lot, one of them was prego.. i took the dad out and put him in a seperate cage… he died.. i dnt no y, he just did, there was another robo with him and she is still ok.. so idk if it was a disease.. i just held a baby today for the first time..

Ria July 12, 2012 at 7:14 am

I have a Robo, She’s female and I named her Kiwi. She’s adorable and I love her with all my heart but she’s extreamly fast and doesn’t let me handle her at all. She always runs away from my hand. She doesn’t even let me pet her. Even if I managed to get her on my hand she would jump before I even manage to lift my hand up. What can I do? It’s been like this for a couple of months now..

Maddie October 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

my robo kinda seems to be calm but when i first got him, he got loose in the car! it was hilarious and little rocky is my best bud now :)

Mrs. McCall October 14, 2012 at 12:14 am

Me and my hubby just got a robo today his name is teddy it was definitely love at first sight, he was sleeping next to another hamster when we got him and after they took him out to put him in his carry case the other hamster was looking for him which made me sad, although there were several others I dont know if these two had a bond, so im worried if I should of bought the other aswell teddy seems content now that he has mellowed out, he did scratch at the carry case on the way home then got in his cage slept, tried to explore his new cage and test the limits and see if he could escape, and ran on his little wheel so fast you couldnt even see his legs lol. I hope teddy will be happy in his new home I love him so much already :)

Edward Nguyen January 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

My hamster is shy how can I make it not shy?

Lauren January 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I have three male Robos we got from Petsmart. We didn’t know any better because they had eight or so in the display, so we were like “Yeah, they’re great together!” So far it’s been pretty good. There are some play fights but never any serious fighting, squeaking, or injury. We do make sure that they each get some solo exercise time in the play pen we’ve made (a drawer out of one of those cheap plastic stacking drawer sets) and that there are two wheels, two water bottles, and plenty of hiding places.
Our setup is two of the “standard” hamster cages, connected by some tubes and accessory items. One of the cages has a “loft” area as well. We scatter plenty of food on the bedding – both pellets and seeds – of only one cage, that way they won’t start getting territorial in separate cages like they might if there were two food sources. I like to use an Exacto knife and work pieces of cardboard and toilet paper tubes into random things for them. So far they’ve got a little house and something of a jungle gym, complete with balance beam (no glue required.)
These little guys really do like to jump straight off your hand. I have one that will hang out in my hands for a little while, and another that will try to hang by his back legs so he can touch the ground. I have been hand feeding them little pieces of their seed mix every day, and laying pieces on my hand so they’ll climb up. They are pettable now, so I’d say pretty tame, but they are definitely not controllable because they will run right out of a hand. I’ve been mildly bitten – several times, actually – but it has always been 1) I had cornered the Robo accidentally, 2) my hand smelled like food when I tried to pet him, or 3) they missed the piece of food and nipped my finger instead.

Lynn January 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I’m concerned about my robos , they have started squeaking.is this normal? They didn’t up until now.

Jennifer January 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I had 2 robos in a cage then I got a 3rd one. They all are females. The first 2 never fought when I added the 3rd one they have started fighting with the new one. Is there anything I can do?

Maya February 11, 2013 at 7:45 am

I’m getting a robo Hamster and I wanna name it Pebbles or maybe Slide,I’m not sure :) hehe but I have a problem,on Wednesdays I have extra class till 4pm.Is it ok if a hamster is home alone???

Imogen March 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi, i recently ( today) bought a robo hamster and when we first her ( Bibbles ) in the cage she went loopy and was literally bouncing of the cage walls. I am 12 and most of these comments say that they don’t make good pets for children who want to handle their pets. Bibbles seems flighty and agitated and i really want her to trust me any tips ?

Sheena June 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

She might have been scenting the cage with her scent glands. I had a dwarf do this when I gave his cage a big scrubbing and I read if they have a new cage they rub their scent glands against the walls. That’s what Sammy was doing–running around the cage rubbing himself against it.

Emma June 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

I just got a robo hamster on Sunday. My mom said to leave her alone for 4-5 day until you start picking her up. My cage I bought has a “penthouse” and all she does is stay up there. But, I figured out there is nothing wrong because she is eating and burrowing her food which is downstairs so she has gone down. I named her mocha and she is so tiny. My mom says this is a big responsibility because I’m only 11, but I’m pretty mature.

Jayden November 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

I have 2 robos. we have had them since summer, and they love me! They let me pat them, and I talk to them.They don’t come out much, but once they do, They play like crazy!!!!! I’m only 11, and they are my best friends!

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