Does a hamster’s cage have to be individual, or can they live together? While some hamsters are pretty content to have roommates, others prefer their own space. Research your current hamster’s species before bringing home a new pet to avoid complications.
Hamsters in General: Their Traits
It would help if you learned about hamsters’ traits before deciding whether or not they can coexist in the same cage.
- Hamsters are rodents that like to stay alone.
- Hamsters are one of the most common pets because people find them cute, friendly, and curious
- Compared to other domesticated animals like cats and dogs, hamsters attain sexual maturity at a significantly younger age, between 4 and 5 weeks. This necessitates planning for the eventual time they must be separated from their mother, even though most hamsters are adopted as adults.
- Hamsters have a short lifespan.
- Hamsters are nocturnal. Therefore, they might be challenging to care for as pets.
- Hamsters sleep throughout the day and stay up at night due to their nocturnal nature. Exercise caution when living with youngsters because waking them up can increase their levels of tension and worry.
Misconceptions about Caring for Hamsters
While hamsters are common, several myths about caring for them might lead to harm.
Misunderstandings about hamster care include whether or not rodents can coexist. Because of their diminutive size, hamsters do well in cramped quarters. This encourages several adoptions since people want the hamster to have company.
While most hamsters prefer to stay alone, some species can coexist.
Dwarf hamsters are great for owners who want multiple hamsters in one home. You can keep these species in groups or couples if they have enough room.
In contrast to most dwarf hamsters, Syrian and Chinese hamsters must be kept alone. They do not benefit from being around others of their kind.
Even if housed in a spacious enclosure, these hamsters will suffer from stress if kept close to one another.
You can choose from three types of dwarf hamsters in a pet store, all of which are friendly to humans. The three types are as follows:
- Winter white dwarf hamsters
- Roborovski dwarf hamsters
- Campbell dwarf hamsters
These hamster varieties can live together and have benefited from having a friend. They must be kept with another animal of the same sex or a member of the same litter at all times.
Winter whites and Campbell’s look is nearly identical, except that the latter feature three stripes to the former’s single.
Roborovskis are the tiniest guinea pig family; however, their high energy levels mean they need a spacious enclosure.
Interestingly, the Chinese hamster is sometimes misidentified as a dwarf hamster when it is more closely related to the rat than the hamster.
Dwarf hamsters of the same species do best when housed together. Therefore, it’s best to group them when they’re young. Do not pair hamsters for reproduction unless you want baby hamsters.
Male hamster testicles are more visible when they reach sexual maturity. Measure the length of the anus relative to the hamster’s genitalia to establish the animal’s sex.
The distance is double for male hamsters than for females. If hamsters start bickering, you should take them apart before things worsen. This estrangement is likely permanent because Syrian hamsters will fiercely attack any other hamster they encounter.
Characteristics of Dwarf Hamsters
- Sometimes, dwarf hamsters share burrow tunnels to save themselves from the trouble of digging their own. These hamsters share tunnels with other hamster species and even Pikas.
- Fights over food and territory are less common among dwarf hamsters because of their unique diet and the abundance of their natural environments.
- Not all dwarf hamsters are friendly. In the end, the temperament of your hamster and the conditions in the cage will significantly impact whether or not they pair up.
- Roborovskis have been found to form loose family units in the wild; however, they are more widely known for their violent territoriality.
- Occasionally, Roborovskis can get along with a cagemate, just as hybrid dwarf hamsters. However, captive settings are vastly different from those in the wild, considering the differences in size. As a result, territorial impulses are more likely to manifest, increasing the likelihood of conflict.
Syrian hamsters are notoriously reclusive. However, a mother Syrian hamster would not intentionally harm her young if they still depended on her.
Also, when ready to have babies, a female Syrian hamster will allow a male Syrian hamster to approach her for a few hours every few days. However, other than that, these are solitary creatures.
Golden hamsters and teddy bear hamsters are common names for Syrian hamsters. Golden retrievers have short fur, while teddy bears have long hair.
They are small, measuring between 5 and 7 inches in length, and they favor the human company over that of their species. They will spend the night alone if you don’t pet and play with them at least once. Your teddy bear hamster should survive for two to three years at the very most.
Chinese hamsters, like Syrian hamsters, are solitary animals that thrive when housed alone.
There is significant evidence that Chinese hamsters prefer unoccupied nests. Their mutual intolerance has also been recorded as being very severe.
This species of hamster is not commercially accessible in the United States at this time. When you do get your hands on them, make sure to house them separately.
The Art of Buying Hamsters
The Syrian hamster, often known as the golden hamster, is one of the most popular pet hamsters despite being an asocial creature.
When housing a Syrian hamster, the ASPCA advises against housing any other breed of the hamster in the same cage. If you try to introduce them and keep them in the same cage, one of your hamsters may likely be hurt or killed by the other.
Though dwarf hamsters are generally peaceful, they can fight if introduced improperly. It would help if you introduced dwarf hamsters to one another while they are still young.
Unless you’re trying to breed hamsters, don’t put two dwarfs of different sexes together. It’s common knowledge that introducing males and females can speed up reproduction.
Tips to House Two Hamsters Together
- You can increase the likelihood of a successful introduction by picking dwarfs with complementary personalities and giving them plenty of time to mingle before meeting another.
- The hamster should get to know one another in a controlled setting.
- Introduce the hamsters in a new, odor-free cage that neither animal has used. Dwarf hamsters, like other rodents, can be aggressive if they believe their territory is being invaded.
- If possible, use two separate, spotless cages to introduce your hamsters. Two cages are needed, one much smaller than the other to fit inside the larger one. Include individual bowls, bottles, and playthings for each hamster.
- Split the hamsters up and leave them in separate cages for a day. They shouldn’t be able to do anything more physical than touch noses. Through this setup, they can become accustomed to each other’s scents and company.
- Change the hamster in the larger cage to the one in the smaller one, and vice versa. This prevents any party from being overly possessive of the territory they occupy.
- Keep alternating the hamsters’ cage assignments for at least four days, or until you notice no symptoms of violence until they seem comfortable with one another.
- Once they are comfortable enough, put both hamsters in the larger cage and get rid of the smaller one.
- Always have extra resources to prevent your hamsters from fighting over food and water.
- If you only have room for one cage and need to introduce the hamsters to one another, you should do it by properly cleaning it, stocking it with two complete sets of supplies, and placing the hamsters in the cage together.
- Wait around 15 minutes after putting in the new hamster before allowing the old one to come and join him.
- You must keep a close eye on your hamsters. It’s essential to give the dwarf hamsters some time to get to know one another, especially at the beginning of the introduction.
- If they become aggressive or start a fight, you must remove them from the cage, and the procedure will have to start over from the beginning.
- Some species of dwarf hamsters cannot be mated with one another. You may have to accept that your hamsters don’t like each other if they continue to act aggressively or fight despite your best efforts to introduce them. They will have to go their ways and cannot be maintained together in this situation.
Even though dwarf hamsters can live together, it’s preferable to house only one hamster at a time. Remember that hamsters should never be accommodated with a Syrian or Teddy Bear hamster. Don’t risk injury or death to your pets by going against their nature.
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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