Expected Life Span:
3 - 3.5 years.
Roborovski hamsters are very small, reaching an adult size of only a couple of inches (4-5 cm). This means they are small enough to squeeze through the bars on many hamster cages so an aquarium is a safer choice for housing.
Behavior and Temperament:
Roborovski hamsters are nocturnal, waking at dusk and most active at night. They generally quite good-natured and rarely nip, but they are very fast and agile, which makes handling them difficult. It is advisable to handle them in an area where they will be easy to catch if they get away (over a larger box, for example). Because of their speed and agility, a large cage is also necessary to give them room to move about.
Roborovski hamsters are social and are ideally kept in single sex (unless breeding) pairs or groupings. This works best if introduced at a young age, though.
The natural coloration of Roborovski hamsters is sandy brown on their backs, with a white belly. They also have distinctive white marks over their eyes. A white-faced variety is also seen (the coloration is similar but with a white face).
Notes about Care:
Basic care is like that of other hamsters. As mentioned above, an aquarium or other solid sided cage with a ventilated but secure top is preferable, the larger the better. Avoid cedar or pine wood shavings, and keep cages well cleaned though to prevent ammonia build-up from accumulated urine as ventilation is diminished with solid sided housing. Feed a good quality hamster food supplemented with small amounts of fresh foods. See Hamster Care for more detail.