Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Phodopus roborovskii (SATUNIN, 1903) - Desert hamster

Having as size of only 8 centimetres and a weight of around 20 grams, the Desert hamster is a very small, but also agile hamster species. Even though the Desert hamster looks differently in comparison to other Hairy-footed hamsters, it has been classified in the genus Phodopus because of the hairy foot. Desert hamsters live in sand deserts and semi deserts of Mongolia and China. Living in loose sand, it can build only simple burrows. Desert hamsters feed on green plants, insects, and worms. Probably animal food predominates in the hamster's diet. Only a few details are known about habits and behaviour. Possibly the desert hamster lives in pairs and the pups are raised from both parents. No more detailed information is available about reproduction and growth.

Desert hamsters have been kept in Halle since 2000. Our breeding stock consists of animals from Russia and Mongolia. We study reproduction, activity rhythms, and behaviour. Our main focus is the clarification of the species status in the genus Phodopus using modern molecular techniques.