Fighting and Wounds

Unfortunately, not all Roborovski's like to have company. Normally, if you see them mock fighting or 'playing' then this is no cause for concern; but when one gets severely bitten or scratched, please take this seriously.  They may fight over food or their wheel. The first sign of fighting is when you start to notice bald patches or bleeding of the scabs on one of the Roborovski's backside's. At first, you may think this was just an accidental fall or scratch as you probably didn't see the actual fighting occur. Don't be fooled! The reason you didn't see the actual fighting is because the fighting goes on (mostly) during the night.

When you first see this scabbing or baldness, please take notice of this and don't leave it to heal itself, as it may catch an infection, but mostly because once the Robo has been bitten, the other one will nearly always pick on it again.

It isn't all that simple to notice when two Roboroski's turn against each other. The first sign is the one listed above, but the next are what determines the cause of the fighting. If you notice one Robo walking around with constantly packed cheek pouches, this might mean that he is not being allowed to eat his food in peace or is not getting access to it at all and you will notice the hamster getting weaker.

Another reason the fighting might occur is when the Robo that has attacked the other one is running around the cage or aquarium in laps around the edges all the time gets so annoyed/pestered that it lets its rage out on its sibling. The reason it was doing this is because of the layout of their aquarium or cage - it probably feels claustrophobic. 

Further Information

In November 2008, one of my Robo's, Tic, was seriously injured by Tac, her cagemate. I immediately took some photos which you can see above, and separated the two hamsters. The following day I took Tic to the veterinarian, who prescribed her antibiotics and injected her. I was also given some advice which I haven't heard on the web before -

To treat the wound and help the Robo heal, give the Roborovski a salt bath daily (you can soak a cotton pad with the solution and dab it on the hamster's wound(s), and replacethe current bedding with newspaper. The vet also prescribed Tic some antibiotics to add to her water supply (in my case, 2ml to every 200ml of water, though this may differ according to the antibiotics). This reduced the swelling of the wounded limb, and kept it from getting infected.

For the next week, Tic was very reluctant to ever let her wounded foot touch the ground - always lifting her leg up in a very uncomfortable position.

After about a week and a half, Tic's injury had healed nicely and she was starting to put some weight on her injured foot - I tried re-introducing her to Tac (Tic in a wire box, lowered into a plastic container so that Tic and Tac could sniff, but not harm one another). The results were not good. They suddenly got very vicious through the wires and I had to stop the fighting using a spatula coated with their honey flavoured yoghurt drops. I haven't tried re-introducing them since.

A Year and A Half On...

Here's a video of Tic, nearly a year and a half after the fighting. When it was taken, she had just gone two years old. Her injuries are still visible and they still affected her leg, but she struggles on regardless.