Before you get a pet hamsters you might be wondering whether hamsters get lonely and whether they need to be kept in pairs so that they have some company.
Do hamsters get lonely?
Hamsters do not get lonely.
Different breeds of hamsters will react differently to being left alone. For example, Syrian hamsters are solitary animals whereas dwarf hamsters prefer to live in pairs.
As some breeds of hamsters like to live in pairs and others don’t, it can be confusing to know which breed of hamsters should be kept in pairs. (Scroll down for the answer)
Do Hamsters Get Lonely?
Hamsters don’t get lonely.
Different breeds of hamsters will react differently to being left alone.
The individual personality of the hamster will also play a huge role in this and how being left will affect them.
Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and like and should be kept alone, whereas dwarf hamsters prefer to live in pairs.
First off, we need to understand that wild hamsters who often live alone and captive hamsters are going to have varying behaviors.
A captive hamster isn’t going to be used to a lack of human presence in their lives. If all of a sudden you leave for weeks and the hamster is totally alone it will probably cause stress.
If you leave for just a day, as long as your hamster has food and water, they probably won’t get all that upset. Don’t expect your hamster to jump for joy when you come home from work.
If you decide to go on vacation, it’s probably a good idea to give your hamster to a trusted friend for safekeeping.
While they may not going to recognize your friend, having a human presence can help keep a constant in your hamster’s environment.
By providing some normalities during a long absence you can avoid any stress that can come from a sudden change in your pet’s daily routine.
READ MORE: Can You Leave a Hamster Alone for a Week?
Are Hamsters Social Animals?
Hamsters, in general, are not social animals. They don’t tend to seek out human comforts like other rodents such as chinchillas or guinea pigs.
In the wild hamsters live solo and thanks to the desert environments they inhabit resources can be quite scarce. This leads to a more competitive mindset and territorial tendencies.
You have to remember if too many hamsters inhabit the same environment in the wild then they run the risk of starving due to the lack of supplies.
Some hamsters will even challenge others to a fight on sight if they wander into their territory. These fights are often violent and can lead to critical wounding.
There is some success with the dwarf hamster breeds living together peacefully, however.
READ MORE: Do Hamsters Shed?
Can Hamsters Live Together?
Yes, hamsters can live together but there are some things you need to consider. Putting multiple adult hamsters together can cause fights. This is because they view the added hamster as an invader to their established home.
Some breeds of hamsters, however, can live together when the right requirements are met. There are some precautions you should take with your pets.
First of all, make sure you double the size of the suggested environment for your hamster. This will lessen the chance of territorial fights.
You will also want to make sure that there’s two of everything in the cage and right beside each other either. Each hamster needs a spot specifically created for them.
You will need to be vigilant no matter how well the hamsters seem to get along. Check with them each day for any signs of agitation or fighting.
If you see signs of increased stress or injuries immediately separate the hamsters. Trying to allow them to work on their differences can result in critical injuries on both of your pets.
Once an adult pair has been separated don’t try to reintroduce them. In almost all cases reintroduction will lead to a fight for territory.
You also should not keep more than a pair of hamsters together at a time. While groups of three have been successful, this is rare.
READ MORE: Do Hamsters Like to Be Held?
Roborovski hamsters are actually one of the breeds that have had the most success with pairs living together peacefully.
Robo hamsters can cohabitate in a cage especially if they are in pairs of the same gender. The rate of success also goes up if you choose to have a female pair over a male pair.
Robo hamsters are incredibly active pets. You will want to make sure that they are at least two wheels in the cage so both hamsters will get the ideal amount of exercise.
Due to the extremely active nature of these hamsters, they may even play or keep each other entertained for hours.
These hamsters cannot be housed with any other breed of hamster no matter how docile the Robo is. The other breeds will end up attacking.
Syrian hamsters don’t like to be in a cage with other hamsters. They are solitary pets that enjoy having a cage all to themselves.
While Syrians are housed together when young as seen in many pet stores.
Once they hit adulthood things between the cohabitating hamsters will turn violent.
The very best outcome of keeping two Syrians together is that their both just really stressed out. This may not lead to wounding but will affect their health in the long run.
Worst of all they won’t be able to be happy while in a cohabitating environment and this can lead to sickness.
Winter White Hamsters
Winter White Hamsters can be kept in pairs. These hamsters do best in same-sex pairs and if kept in opposite-sex pairs you can expect a lot of babies to pop up.
It’s important to watch out for any signs of fighting in this breed. At the first sign of any agitation separate your Winter Whites.
With this breed, your chances will go up if you can get two hamsters from the same litter. This way they are even more familiar with one another and aren’t as territorial.
Siblings can be easily adopted from breeders and some mom-and-pop pet stores that are closely tied to their suppliers.
Chinese hamsters are a breed that sits in the middle on the cohabitation issue. With Chinese hamsters, it comes down to your individual pet’s nature.
Like Syrians, many Chinese hamsters prefer to be kept on their own. They are more territorial than other dwarf breeds and can start fights easily.
There have been some successful cases of Chinese hamsters living in harmony when in same-sex pairs. You shouldn’t go in expecting this when buying two hamsters.
With this breed, it’s best to prepare to have to separate them if you decide to try and house them together. Even in an extra-large cage things can quickly go south.
Campbell’s hamster does a little better than Chinese hamsters when you attempt to keep them in pairs.
The success of these hamsters living together has had mixed results.
With these hamsters, it isn’t common to see even same-sex pairs eventually end up fighting. As the owner, you have to vigilantly watch for bullying signs with this breed.
You should have two cages on hand in case a fallout does happen so that you can quickly separate the pair before any injuries occur.
No matter how well this breed seems to get along never completely let your guard down with them.
CHECK: Do Hamsters Fart?
Can Hamsters and Gerbils Live Together?
No, it is not suggested. You may have seen some cute videos floating around of hamsters and gerbils who appear to be best friends. They may even be playing together in a harmonious nature.
You should notice in these videos though that these interactions don’t happen within a cage. They all happen in an open controlled environment set up by the owner.
To start with these two pets have different needs even though they are both rodents or similar in size. To start with they aren’t even awake at the same time.
This can cause frustration due to the disturbance in both animals’ sleep patterns, Gerbils are also much more of a social rodent than a hamster is.
Hamsters tend to be aggressive towards any invaders in their environment. This is only irritated rather by a rodent of a different species “invading” their home.
Your hamster has a high probability of trying to bully or attack the added gerbil on sight.
If you must have a pet that can live together in peace then you may just want to go with a pair of gerbils.
How Often Should I Play With My Hamster?
Interacting with your hamster is an important part of your overall relationship with your pet. The more you interact with your hamster the more comfortable they become with you.
If possible you should interact with your hamster every day. Make sure to talk to them and give them a daily treat to entice them to come to you.
If possible take them out for playtime and let them explore a bigger environment. This can be done a few times a week for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
If you go a long period without interacting with your hamster it can lead to a deteriorating relationship. The hamster may get timider of you or begin to forget tricks.
If you have a busy schedule during the weekday make a routine of giving your hamster a simple treat while saying their name when you go to feed them each day.
If you don’t have a play area for your hamster then you can buy a critter pen. This allows you to quickly set up a safe and contained area with your hamster.
Do Hamsters Get Bored?
If put in a plain cage with nothing, but basic food and water a hamster will get bored. You can’t just take an animal and give them the bare minimum to survive.
Hamsters are low-maintenance pets in the grand scheme of things, but they are still curious animals that are bundles of energy.
No matter how old or young your hamster is they will need ways to burn off their energy. This can come in the form of a wheel or even new toys to keep them entertained.
It’s always good to switch things up in your hamster’s environment. This can be done every few months to give them new areas to explore in their home.
Many people like to add on to the tubing in their hamster’s cage or change around the ledges they climb on.
Watch this video to keep your hamsters busy if they are getting bored:
You will also want to make sure you have a large and deep enough cage to promote burrowing. This is one of a hamster’s favorite things to do and part of their basic instincts.
You can even hide food in the shavings to promote scavenging habits. This can lead to hours of interactive fun for your pet.
There are also tons of toys coming out all the time that give you new ways to interact with your pet. From obstacles to hanging toys, you can find something new for your pet.
If your local pet stores have a limited selection then try online retailers who have a more expansive item catalog for your pet.
Symptoms of a Bored Hamster
You may be wondering how you tell if your pet is suffering from boredom. With hamsters, there are a few telling signs of depression that has started to develop from being bored.
One of the most noticeable signs is a hamster sleeping when they are usually up and zipping around. Hamsters who are bored tend to try to use sleep to alleviate the problem.
You may also notice that while your hamster wakes up at his normal time, he goes to eat and then curls back up for a nap.
You may also notice that your hamster has begun to chew more on the bars of his cage. This is especially prevalent when they don’t have the needed amount of chew toys.
This can be especially bad as excessive bar chewing can lead to dental problems or painful issues in your hamster teeth.
If your hamster seems to be running in circles or quickly pacing around its cage it may be bored. Hamsters have high energy levels that they need to burn off each day.
If your hamster doesn’t have the proper wheel or obstacles you are sure to notice some of these signs. In addition, some hamsters will begin to overeat when bored.
If boredom continues it can develop into stress or depression which can have adverse effects on your pet’s health over time.
Can two hamsters live in the same cage?
Whether two hamsters can live together in the same cage will depend on the breed of the hamster. Some breeds prefer to be in pairs whereas other breeds such as Syrian prefer to be alone.
Do hamsters like to be petted?
Whether a hamster enjoys being petted will depend on the hamster. Some enjoy it whereas others don’t. Most hamsters will only feel comfortable with their owners or someone they trust petting them.
Do hamsters like to be alone?
Hamsters prefer to be alone but some breeds such as dwarf hamsters
- Hess, L. (2018, April 19). How to Keep Your Hamster Healthy and Active With Mentally Stimulating Toys. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from Petmd.com website: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/care/how-keep-your-hamster-healthy-and-active-mentally-stimulating-toys
- Phodopus campbelli (Campbell’s hamster). (2021). Retrieved November 26, 2021, from Animal Diversity Web website: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phodopus_campbelli/
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Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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