If you think that doubling your hamsters will double the fun, think again. It turns out that when it comes to sharing space, our hammie pals are quite particular, and they can get a little cranky if someone else moves into their cage.
Hamsters prefer to be solitary pets. While it is possible to keep two same-sex hamsters, this should only be done under strict supervision, and they should be separated if there are any signs of bullying. Dwarf hamster breeds cope better when kept in pairs than larger breeds like Syrians.
You may have seen groups of hamsters in pet stores, so it can be confusing to understand why hamsters should live all alone. There are some excellent reasons why it’s better to keep your hamster on its own, and you never need to worry that your little pet feels lonely.
Can Hamsters Be Kept Together?
As a rule, hamsters should not be kept together. Studies have shown that some breeds can live in pairs, but success depends on factors that include:
- Sufficient space
- Plenty of food and water
- Same-sex pairs only
- Stability of cage mates – i.e., new cage mates can’t be added at a later stage.
- Lighting conditions that align with the normal day-night rhythm
Some types of dwarf hamsters are more social than other breeds. Before putting a cute matching pair into a cage together, you must be familiar with each particular breed’s characteristics. For example, male Chinese dwarf hamsters may learn to tolerate each other, but females will fight even if they are siblings.
Other types of dwarf hamster breeds include:
- Roborovski dwarf hamster
- Campbell’s dwarf hamster
- Winter white dwarf hamster
Although your intentions may be good when thinking of adding a new hamster to the cage, hamsters are not herd animals like cattle or guinea pigs. They prefer their own company, and putting another hammie into their space can be very stressful.
Syrian hamsters should never be kept together. They are highly territorial, and a scientific investigation has shown that even in the wild, they live on their own. Even same-sex siblings from the same litter may turn on each other aggressively, which can be highly upsetting for owners to witness.
Some new research has shown that female Syrian hamsters kept in laboratory conditions may benefit from being kept in pairs, but more studies need to be done before this can be definitively concluded. Pet hamsters receive plenty of love and interaction from their owners, and they don’t get lonely in the same way humans experience loneliness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Hamsters Like To Live In Pairs?
Hamsters like to live on their own in their own well-equipped cage. Some dwarf hamster breeds will tolerate living in pairs, but this works best if you choose same-sex litter-mates. It can be tricky telling the boys and girls apart, which you don’t want to get wrong if you keep two hammies!
If you have two hamsters, ensure the cage is extra-large, so there is plenty of space for both animals. Have an extra cage on standby in case things change. It is not unusual to purchase two docile youngsters and find that they start fighting as they mature and their hormones kick in.
How Many Hamsters Can Live Together?
Hamsters are solitary animals that enjoy environmental stimulation in the form of toys, treats, a few mazes, and plenty of interaction with their owners. Syrian hamsters, in particular, should never be kept in pairs as they are highly territorial.
Some dwarf breeds can live in pairs, but owners need to remain vigilant in case of bullying. Keeping more than two adult hamsters in a cage is not a good idea and will inevitably end in fights.
How Do You Introduce Two Hamsters?
Introducing two hamsters that are older than two months will always be tricky. Although there is no guarantee that two hammies will ever get along, the best approach to getting two hamsters to tolerate one another is patience.
Hamsters love to live quietly in their own space, so suddenly finding an intruder in the cage will most likely result in your hamster going into attack mode. It is essential that you don’t simply add another strange hamster into your hamster’s cage – the pets will need time to get used to each other at a safe distance before attempting any physical meeting.
If possible, keep two hamster cages side by side. That way, each little pet can have its own space, and both will stay safe. You can use pieces of paper towel with the scent of the other hammie in each cage during the introduction process.
When you feel it may be safe for your hamsters to meet, ensure that the ‘meeting ground’ is neutral. The hamster cage must be big enough so the less dominant hammie can find some quiet hiding places. The bedding should be fresh, and there must be plenty of food and stimulation in the cage to keep them both busy.
Owners need to remain vigilant when keeping two hamsters in the same cage. Things can change quickly, and even subtle environmental changes could lead to aggressive behavior.
Can I Put Two Male Hamsters Together?
Two male hamsters can be kept together if they are from the same litter and know each other – provided they are dwarf hamsters. So long as they have sufficient space and resources, two male or two female hamsters are the best option if you want to keep two hamsters together.
Same-sex pairs can work well in most dwarf hamster breeds, except Chinese dwarfs, which are strictly solitary. Syrian hamsters can not be kept in pairs as they are highly territorial. Even if they don’t fight, sharing their space will be stressful, which will shorten their lifespan.
Can Hamsters And Guinea Pigs Live Together?
Hamsters and guinea pigs must never be kept together. Despite both being rodents, they have entirely different diets, habits, and personalities. Putting them together will not end well.
Guinea pigs are social, diurnal animals that should be kept in same-sex pairs or small groups. Hamsters are highly territorial loners who are active at night. Both are excellent pets, but they should never live together.
Why Don’t Hamsters In Pet Stores Fight?
Since hamsters are solitary, you may be wondering how it is possible that they are kept in peaceful groups in pet stores. The truth is that most hammies in pet stores are very young. It takes about two months for them to develop the strong territorial instincts characteristic of most breeds, particularly Syrians. Groups of hamsters in pet stores should never be taken as evidence that they can live harmoniously together. Hamsters should ideally be kept as solitary pets, although some dwarf breeds may tolerate a same-sex companion.