Hamsters make amazing pets because they’re easy to care for and can help teach kids how to be responsible. However, many people recommend sticking to only one.
This matter raises an important question: Can hamsters live together? Or are they solitary animals?
Hamsters come in many breeds, the most popular of which are Syrian and dwarf hamsters (including Roborovski, Russian, and Chinese).
Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and must always be kept alone. As for dwarf hamsters, they can have a cage mate or more.
All you need to know is what pairings work best with hamsters. Read on to learn everything you need about hamsters’ sociability and how to have more than one in the same cage.
While many animals enjoy the company of one or more of their kind, hamsters don’t. They’re solitary animals that don’t like to have a cage mate.
In fact, some hamster species show aggressiveness towards one another because they can be territorial.
For example, Syrian hamsters (and sometimes even Chinese hamsters) don’t like the company and must be kept alone in a cage.
Yet, this doesn’t mean they’re a dangerous species. Contrarily, Syrian hamsters can be quite friendly with humans, even forming a special bond.
Having said that, dwarf hamsters can be social, and it’s possible to introduce them to another companion.
Yes, aside from Syrian hamsters, some types of hamsters can live together in the same cage. Species like dwarf hamsters have a docile temperament and may prefer company.
That said, it’s essential knowing what type of pairings work best to avoid unwanted quarrels or serious injuries.
Here’s what you need to know and what you should consider before pairing hamsters.
- Only dwarf hamsters should be paired or grouped.
- Stick to same-sex pairing if you don’t want to increase your hamster population (hamsters reach sexual maturity at a young age and can have up to eight pups at a time).
- Pair or group hamsters from the same litter because they’re more likely to get along.
- Keep an eye on your grouped hamsters, as you never know when they might quarrel (especially in male hamsters).
- Use a cage large enough for hamsters to live comfortably and peacefully.
- Make sure to have enough feeding zones to serve all the hamsters in the cage (hamsters can be territorial over their food).
- Create the right environment to introduce new hamsters properly.
- Check your hamsters in the morning to ensure they don’t have any injuries.
- Prepare a backup cage to use in case of fights.
Not really. Hamsters don’t get lonely and don’t usually need a friend, especially Syrian hamsters.
As for Dwarf hamsters, they can live in pairs or small groups if they have to. However, there will definitely be fights now and then.
So, most of the time, you may need to separate them into individual cages, which isn’t the most convenient thing for you.
Yes, dwarf hamsters can play and get along well with each other. They can also live in harmony as long as they were properly introduced.
Under the right circumstances, you can introduce two or more hamsters to each other. In all cases, stick to dwarf hamsters and never attempt pairing Syrian hamsters.
Here’s how to do it.
First and foremost, you should never pair any breed with a Syrian hamster. It’s a solitary animal and prefers to be alone in a cage.
Despite the cute looks, Syrian hamsters can be unbelievably aggressive and territorial.
Introducing a Syrian hamster to another may cause a huge fight, leading to injuries and sometimes even death.
On the other hand, dwarf hamsters are a bit more social than their Syrian counterparts. However, they may need proper introductions.
That said, it’s better to introduce hamsters to one another while still young.
Hamsters are capable of forming strong bonds with humans and other animals. Yet, they might not like having an intruder once they establish their social group.
That’s why starting young when introducing hamsters is the way to go. Ideally, this should happen before your hamsters reach two months old for best results.
Additionally, you can ask at the pet store if the hamsters you’re getting share the same parents. That’s because hamsters from the same litter tend to get along best.
As previously mentioned, same-sex pairing works best.
After all, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of extra hamsters roaming around. Plus, a mother hamster can be highly aggressive toward other hamsters.
If you don’t know how to check your hamster’s gender, it’s better to ask your vet or the pet store.
The key to a successful introduction process is creating a safe environment for hamsters to meet.
It’s highly recommended to do that in a new cage where neither of the two hamsters has lived before. Plus, make sure to scrub it clean and get rid of any stuck scents.
Although dwarf hamsters can be social, they tend to attack if a newcomer invades their private space.
So, here’s how to do it.
- Bring a smaller cage, and place it inside the larger clean one.
- Make sure each cage contains water, food, and toys.
- Place a hamster inside the small cage and the other inside the large cage.
- Leave both hamsters for the entire day (this allows them to touch noses and get used to each other’s scents).
- Switch the two hamsters’ places the next day to ensure they don’t get territorial about a certain space.
- Continue the swapping process until both hamsters are comfortable around one another with no signs of aggression.
- Remove the small cage and put both hamsters together into the large one.
- Make sure to maintain two separate feeding zones and supplies for both hamsters.
- Keep a close eye on the hamsters, as they need time to get used to one another.
- Repeat the whole process from the beginning if you notice any display of aggression.
If you don’t have two cages, you can make the introduction using only one cage. Just make sure to clean it thoroughly and provide two separate sets of supplies.
In this case, allow 15 minutes after adding the first hamster before introducing the second one.
Remember, not all dwarf hamsters can get along well. So, if your hamsters keep fighting, it’s a clear sign that they just don’t like each other.
Monitor your hamsters carefully after an introduction attempt, and repeat the process if you notice any of the following signs:
- Baring teeth
- Attacking each other
When it comes to cohabitation, same-sex pairings tend to work best and are more likely to succeed.
What matters most is ensuring the group of hamsters is compatible, as things can get quite traumatic when conflicts happen.
Plus, take time to introduce them and make sure they can live peacefully together.
Generally, hamsters use pheromones and other odors to communicate. So, housing unfamiliar hamsters together can cause stress.
Groups of more than two hamsters can live happily together, especially those of the same litter. However, it’s ideal to limit the number of hamsters living in one cage to two.
Even the most sociable hamsters may not do well existing within a crowd. That’s because too many hamsters in one cage can result in quarrels turning violent or may be deadly.
So, if you have more than two hamsters, consider separating them into groups of two and keeping them in separate cages.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine for hamsters to live alone. They’re solitary animals and don’t usually enjoy company as much as other pets.
Despite being able to live with a companion, hamsters have an instinct to defend their territory and prefer being alone.
Unlike some other animals, hamsters don’t get depressed or lonely when being on their own.
Hamsters don’t get along well with most of the common household pets. They can become stressed when smelling the scents of other animals around.
So, it’s better to make sure your other pets can’t reach your hamster’s cage.
Even if you think your hamster is friends with your other pet, always keep an eye on them.
Hamsters are adorable and can make a great first pet for your kids. However, such animals may have special requirements and sometimes prefer to live alone.
Having more than one hamster might seem like a fantastic idea, but can hamsters live together?
Although they look docile from a distance, some hamsters don’t like the company. Pairing dwarf hamsters can be doable under the right circumstances.
As for Syrian hamsters, you should never attempt to keep them in the same cage.
Just remember to learn the right way to properly introduce hamsters and keep an eye on them to avoid any unwanted injuries.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.