Posted: March 21, 2012, 5:20 p.m. EDT
The Roborovski hamster is sociable and should be kept in pairs or groups of the same sex, or mixed sex (if breeding is intended) with plenty of space. The Roborovski hamster cagemates should be introduced when 6 to 10 weeks of age. Roborovski hamsters purchased from different sources should be taken from a group so that they have not become used to living alone, and should be introduced to the cage together so that neither has previously established it as their own territory. Roborovskis are late developers in comparison to the other hamster species, and should not be less than 6 to 7 weeks of age when purchased.
The best cages for Roborovski hamsters are aquariums or plastic storage tubs with a wire-mesh lid to give plenty of ventilation and prevent objects from accidentally falling into the cage and injuring the hamsters.
Although the dwarf Roborovski hamster is the smallest species of pet hamster, it does require a large amount of cage space due to its highly active nature. As a guide, two Roborovski hamsters require at least 3 square feet of floor space (i.e., a 20-gallon-long aquarium) with an additional square foot of floor space for each additional hamster. Insufficient space can lead to boredom, which can cause repetitive, addictive behavior such as cage pacing (running back and forth along one side of the cage for long periods of time).
Within the hamster home, Roborovski hamsters require a shelter to give them an area of privacy. They also need plenty of toys to interest them. The more toys provided, the more entertainment the Roborovskis will provide. Suitable cage furnishings and toys include tubes, ramps, solid exercise wheels and ceramic and polyresin ornaments designed for fish and small reptiles.
Excerpt from the Popular Critters Series magabook Hamsters with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Hamsters here.