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Can You Handle a Roborovski Hamster?

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This little fella qualifies for the “dwarf” moniker. While the Roborovski can be socialized to your touch, allowing you to hold and pet him, his skittish temperament makes hand-training a slow and delicate process. Starting to get him used to your hand means you’ll need to prepare the environment ahead of time, giving the two of you the best opportunity to begin getting acquainted.

About the Roborovski Hamster

This hamster is truly a dwarf, measuring about 2 inches long at the most. He is also very active, needing to exercise and move just as quickly as he can, especially if you’re trying to hold him. House a Roborovski in a glass aquarium, as wire cages are too easy for this little escape artist to break out of. Because of his tiny size, his exercise wheel should not have slats. Instead, it should be made of a solid material so he doesn’t get caught and hurt. When a pregnant Roborovski gives birth, her pups weigh at most 1 gram. Pups reach their full adult size by the time they are 3 weeks old.

Handling a Robo

You can handle a Robo hamster, but you’ll need to get used to his extreme need for speed and tendency to run when you try to pick him up. He’s a shy animal who would rather run in the opposite direction than bite you. If you decide you’re going to handle your dwarf hamster, it’s best to begin hand-taming him beginning when he’s about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks old. It’ll be easier to get him used to being handled if you pick him one once or twice a day. Once he’s used to being held, it’s not necessary to handle him every day, as long as he has other Roborovski hamsters around for interaction.

Socializing Your Roborovski

Your Robo will be highly nervous when you first try to pick him up. The room where you’re going to socialize/tame your Robovski should be very quiet so he won’t startle, jump out of your hand and run away. Try wearing dark-colored clothing, such as navy blue or black. This seems to attract him to come to you. Spend your first few socialization sessions just getting him used to being in your hands. Place a cardboard box on the ground and cover the bottom with a small blanket to cushion him in case he escapes and falls. Sit on the ground in front of the box. This way, he has only a short distance to fall if his escape attempt is successful. Once he has stopped trying to escape, start stroking him softly with one finger -- be ready for him to take off when you try this, however.

Best Handling Techniques

Allow only adults to handle your Robo. Be ready to scoop him up quickly if he gets out of your hands -- this will be his main objective. He'll likely squirm. Plan to spend the first few sessions just getting him used to your touch and presence. Always handle him close to the ground with a box handy, just in case. Because he startles so easily, children, who tend to become excited and noisy, would stress him out too much. For this reason, this dwarf hamster is known as the “look but don’t touch” hamster. If you and your children want a hamster with whom they can interact, a Syrian would be a better choice. These hamsters are calmer and much easier to hand-tame once they have been in your home for a day or two. All small children should be watched closely as they play with a Syrian.