Gidget and Gadget
by Linda Price
|Gidget and Gadget Family Photos|
|Roborovskis are relative newcomers in the U.S. They are the smallest of the hamsters commonly kept as pets; they are also the fastest. They don't have the classic dorsal stripe on the wild color, and so far only come in the one color. On average, they live the longest of any pet hamsters, living about three to three and one-half years of age.
I've gotten a lot of questions about these little fellows and thought I'd give a few of my experiences with them. I've kept the Robs for a little over a year now and seen a number of litters born here at my house. I've never been bitten by a Rob. Once in a while they've decided to taste me to see if I'm yummy, but it has never resulted in any bloodshed or pain.
I keep my Robs in big tubs -- bigger than those I have for my other hamsters. The tubs are about three feet long by one and one-half feet wide. This gives them plenty of room to run and play, and they do use the entire space in a burst of speed. They are easily startled and are generally quite shy but curious. They're social and usually sleep together in one place.
The tubs allow me to interact with them while they're still contained within the tubs. I don't trust many of them out of the tubs. They're too fast for my reflexes. Papa Sprocket, who's now 2 1/2 years old, does get to run around the floor under supervision -- but he's slowed down a lot with age.
With the others, particularly the pups, I play with them by placing my hand in their tub. They are intensely curious and have to come check out my hand. With time they become quite comfortable with my hand, and the adults come running to meet it. Sometimes there are treats in my hand. At other times, they just treat it as a toy, an elevator, or an access to my shoulders. When I'm wearing my long-sleeved fleece coat, they love to either play inside the sleeve or run up the sleeve to play on my shoulders. They're really quite cute and endearing.
They aren't good pets for families with children. They're just too small and fast. They're obviously also not a good fit for someone who wants a hamster that they can cuddle. My Robs are certainly not cuddlers. Whenever I just want to play for a while with some adorable friends, I stop at the Rob cages. It's easy to get them interested enough to come see me, and they're content to play on me for 10 minutes and then run back to their nests. They're always entertaining to watch, too.
|Although these two are unrelated to Gidget and Gadget, I thought I would add a picture of the new rob mutation. These were discovered in Sweden and arrived here in May 2003. They are tentatively being called "white faced" robs.|