Phodopus roborovskii

Roborovsky's desert hamster

Phylum Chordates (Chordata)
Class Mammals (Mammalia)
Order Rodents (Rodentia)
Family Cricetid rodents (Cricetidae)
Genus Dwarf hamsters (Phodopus)
Species Authority Satunin, 1903
Summary Status: rare (Category III), it inhabits a limited range in Kazakstan. It is found only in the sands along the Chorniy Irtish River in the eastern part of the Zaisan Basin. The population size varies annually; the average density is 0.15-0.43 specimens per 10 km along autoroads. Basic limiting factors are severe winters with a heavy snow cover, summer droughts and the large number of predators and competitors. This little animal is active at night throughout the whole year. It lives in simple shallow burrows; during the day, it blocks up the entrance with sand. Captive breeding has been successful. No protective measures have been undertaken. It is recommended that breeding of this species be undertaken in the Almaty Zoo and more research on its ecology be done.

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