Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters: Breeding
Roborovski hamsters may reach sexual maturity as early as 5 weeks, but usually do not breed until they are older. Females should not mate till they are closer to 4 months old, though males can breed at 3 months. The gestation period of Roborovski hamsters is usually 20-22 days, but can be up to 30 according to some sources. Litters are usually small, being typically of 4-6 pups, though larger litters have been reported. Pups can be weaned at 21 days; this is also a good age at which to separate male pups from females.
Telling female and male Roborovskis apart is not easy. The problem is getting them into a position to view their genitals, as they are not comfortable being handled and are faster than other hamsters. The most common method is to immobilize them by holding them by the scruff of the neck. This should not cause pain if done correctly, as most will 'play dead' and stay very still when in this position. They should be held firmly, though not tightly, for as short a time as possible and not by the ears. However, this technique is not without risk, as an improper grip could cause permanent nerve damage. A much simpler and easier, but not as reliable, method is to put individual hamsters in clear containers and view them from beneath.
The two sexes have different openings: female openings are very close together and may even look like just one opening, while male openings are further apart. Males usually have a visible scent gland near the navel, above the two openings - this looks like a yellowish stain.
Failure to separate Roborovskis is likely to lead to pregnancy at about five weeks.
Click on Pictures Above to Zoom In Last Updated: 30 May 2011