There are many different breeds and subbreeds of hamsters, each with unique characteristics. Most hamster breeds cannot live together except for dwarf hamsters.
You may visit the pet store and notice hamsters often caged together in groups. Seeing this, many people may believe that multiple hamsters enjoy living together. However, this is quite different from reality.
A majority of hamster breeds prefer staying alone. Hamsters are solitary creatures and can turn violent if forced to share space.
When living in the wild, hamsters usually live alone and seek other hamsters when they want to mate. Keeping hamsters in captivity should mirror this as much as possible. If this rule is broken and many hamsters reside together, there can be severe consequences. Hamsters can cause each other injuries, anxiety, and illnesses. In extreme cases, this can also result in death.
Dwarf hamsters are the more sociable kind; hence two or more dwarf hamsters can be kept together. You can keep a group or horde of dwarf hamsters together, but only if they belong to the right sub-specie.
Dwarf hamsters are usually kept in pairs. You can also keep them in groups or hordes under very selective conditions.
Dwarf hamsters have a friendly nature and like to be kept in pairs. They can be kept in both same-sex pairs or mixed-sex pairs. You can also keep dwarf hamsters in small groups.
Dwarf hamsters enjoy bonding and usually develop strong bonds that last a lifetime. With cage mates, they tend to be friendlier with humans.
It’s also important to remember that if you keep dwarf hamsters in same-sex pairs and have multiple pairs in the same room, keep the cages at a distance. Keeping cages with opposite-sex hamsters close together can cause them stress.
How to Pair Dwarf Hamsters
Dwarf hamsters should be paired carefully, which should be done when the hamsters are young. Keeping a pair of dwarf hamsters together at a time is most suitable. Keeping a group of three or more is also possible but increases the chances of disagreements.
Dwarf hamster pairs should be made when the hamsters are less than two months old. It’s even better if they are paired when one month old. This is possible if the hamsters are purchased from the same breeder.
When keeping multiple dwarf hamsters, it’s also advisable to keep same-sex pairs. Mixed-sex pairs can cause pregnancies, after which the hamsters must be separated permanently.
It is possible to get the hamsters spayed or neutered, but it’s only recommended if the hamster suffers from a serious health condition that can be fatal.
Breeding and Keeping Dwarf Hamsters Together
Breeding dwarf hamsters is a serious task. If you decide to breed your hamsters, ensure you have the adequate knowledge to do it.
You should also be purchasing the hamster from a breeder or seller who has experience in sexing the hamsters. Sexing is a technique of examining the genitalia of the hamster to differentiate males from females. This can often be a confusing task.
Also, when purchasing a group of hamsters, you must be certain they are not housed with male hamsters until more than four weeks old. Otherwise, it could lead to a pregnancy.
When breeding hamsters, you must also be attentive to the female dwarf hamster’s temperament. After having a litter, female hamsters came to be more territorial. They can also become more nervous, quarrelsome, and jumpy.
You should also ensure the female is at the right age to become pregnant. If she is too young, she might not fully grow up.
It’s also possible to pair dwarf hamsters purchased from different sources. To do this, you must successfully introduce the hamsters to each other. Also, ensure the hamsters you purchase have previously been residing with cage mates, so they are much more likely to accept their new cage mates.
Introduce the hamsters in neutral territory, preferably in low-light conditions. Placing them in brightly lit areas can sometimes lead to aggression. Keep the hamsters under supervision and be ready to intervene if necessary.
It’s also a good idea to pair the dwarf hamsters in the morning and keep them together for the rest of the day.
This will give the hamsters time to interact with one another, and it will give you time to observe them. You can expect infrequent squeaking and noises from them, as this is how hamsters communicate with one another. The hamsters should not appear stressed or anxious.
Even if dwarf hamsters have been paired young, there are chances they may not get along together for the rest of their lives. Disagreements can occur, in which case they will need to be separated.
Suppose one hamster from a pair of dwarf hamsters living together dies; it’s risky to introduce a new partner. If you want to introduce another cage-mate, do so with extreme care.
Also, help your hamster deal with the loss of its cage mate. You can do this by spending extra time with it and offering it toys as a distraction. Ensure to keep the hamster under supervision and observe if it’s eating enough and is not lethargic.
Remember, when you keep multiple dwarf hamsters together, make sure they have plenty of space. Get a big enough hamster cage so the hamsters have enough space to play around, exercise and sleep.
Suppose you keep a pair of dwarf hamsters in a cage; it’s best to keep two of everything. You can keep two food bowls and water bottles. This is because some hamsters don’t like sharing their food, which can lead to aggression.
When keeping two or more hamsters together, keeping a backup cage is always a good idea In case of disagreement, two angry hamsters in the same cage can cause havoc. If necessary, prepare to separate the hamsters and use the backup cage.
Species of Dwarf Hamsters
There are four primary species of dwarf hamsters. These are the Chinese hamster, Roborovski, Winter White, and Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster.
Dwarf hamsters can live happily together as long as they are from the same species. Mixing dwarf hamster species can lead to territorial behavior, aggression, and fighting.
Chinese hamsters are similar to Syrian hamsters and prefer a solitary life. When paired together in a cage, they are likely to get aggressive. If you want to keep a Chinese hamster, it’s best to keep just one.
Winter White hamsters are rare to find. You will have to search extensively to find this specie. However, many hybrids of this specie are commonly available.
Winter Whites have also been observed living in groups in the wild. They were also found living in hordes and sometimes sharing their burrows with other animals. When caged, Winter Whites can easily cohabitate. However, it’s imperative for there to be enough space for them. Living together in a congested cage can cause disagreements and violence.
Campbell’s dwarf hamster is also a rare species. These hamsters are also capable of living in pairs and groups. The Winter White and Campbell’s Dwarf hamsters are usually bred and mixed in the pet trade. As both these breeds often mix, when kept in captivity, there is not much difference in their temperament.
Roborovski hamsters are also known as Robos. These species have been observed living in pairs in the wild, as well as living alone. When caged, Robots are one of the few hamster species that can cohabitate together. If you prefer keeping more than one hamster in a cage, Robots are a good choice.
Other Hamster Species
Keeping more than one Syrian hamster in the same cage is not a good idea. The Syrian hamster is the largest of the hamster species and the friendliest with humans. However, Syrians are strictly solitary creatures and like living alone.
Even in the wild, this hamster specie resides in solitary burrows and gathers together only to mate.
Since mimicking its natural environment makes a hamster happiest in confinement, Syrians should always live alone. Two or more Syrian hamsters living together can cause injury and stress to each other.
Our Final Thoughts
It’s important to remember that most hamsters are solitary creatures. Several subspecies can live together in pairs and groups but may require supervision. When multiple hamsters are kept in the same cage, they require ample space and individual food utensils.
If multiple hamsters living together are not kept under supervision, they can become violent and aggressive. It’s also advised to keep same-sex hamsters in the same cage to avoid pregnancies.
If male and female hamsters have been kept together in the same cage until they are more than four weeks old, make sure the female is not already impregnated when you purchase it.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more