Water bottle - A dish full of water is not advisable as it gets dirty much more quickly, plus the water evaporates quicker too in a dish.
Food bowl - Although not essential, a food bowl makes it easier for you too see how much food your Roborovski is taking in and to prevent spillage. Ceramic bowls are the most sturdy, hardest to tip over and gnaw-proof.
Sand bath - Again, not essential, but as Roborovski's fur is more oily than other hamsters, provide the pet with a sand bath. Just buy a large hamster food bowl and fill it with about 1/3 of Chinchilla dust or sand. See this video for footage of Roborovski's rolling round in a sand bath - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tZ8gmZSqQQ
Since you can't give your Roborovskis acres of land as they have in the wild, a hamster wheel is essential. It provides an excellent way to exercise and Robos usually run on it up to 9 hours a night, travelling up 25 miles. Hamster wheels come in many different shapes and sizes, not all being safe for hamsters.
Metal wheels (as shown) are very dangerous for Robos. The gaps between the bars pose a huge risk for their tiny legs (example wheel pictured on the right), extremely when you notice the enthusiasm at which Robos run. Plastic wheels can also be purchased with the same size gaps, so avoid them too.
Solid plastic wheels are generally the safest kind of hamster wheel. Hamster wheels have a reputation for being noise and squeaky, but two new ones put an end to that. They are the SilentSpinner and the Flying Saucer wheels (Flying Saucer pictured below).Tic and Tac's current wheel is a Flying Saucer medium (http://bit.ly/cqpb4Q)
Houses are not essential, but they are touch your Robo will appreciate. It provides shelter, a place to sleep and hide when scared or sick. There are many shapes, sizes and colours in pet stores that can really liven up the cage or aquarium. An empty coconut shell with holes in - like this empty bird feeder stuffed with bedding - also makes a great hide-out.
Playing with tunnels and tubes is also very enjoyable for your hamster. Toilet paper rolls will do perfectly. They like to chew on them and build a nest from the shreds they chew up. There are plastic tubes you can buy too. (These are great if you want to build whole tube labyrinths. Ferplast, Crittertrail, Habitrail and S.A.M. all have an extensive range of tubes to choose from. The Crittertrail, Habitrail and S.A.M. fit interchangably. Ferplast tubes have a slightly larger diameter and do not fit the other brands.)
Wooden tubes like this one (below) are also great for Roborovskis. Not only is it a great boredom breaker, but a Robo will automatically tend to gnaw on anything he sees. This wooden tube encourages gnawing (it is hamster friendly, non toxic wood - but always check the label to make sure).
Crazy Mazes & Houses
There are crazy hamster mazes and houses on the market, especially on the Internet. Here is a maze that I particularly like:
This kind of maze makes a great boredom breaker, and it is fun to watch your Robo figure his way round it. Put some fresh food in corners and see if your Robo sniffs them out.
You can make home-made mazes too, on the floor, out of books standing up. But make sure there are no gaps where your Robo can escape from if it's in an open area of the house.
> (available for £9.99 from Pets At Home website)
There are a variety of crazy hamster mansions made out of wood, on Amazon - Click the imags to go to their respective page)
There is an endless list of other hamster toys on the market - hamster ladders, hamster slides, hamster hammocks, hamster swings, hamster balls etc; but of course, a homemade touch is always nice - an upside down plant pot, a coconut split in half with a bit of flesh left inside, a hollow tennis ball etc. makes a great boredom breaker.
Take a look at the 'Reviews & Homemade Projects' category on the forums for other member-submitted ideas.
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