If you have ever visited a pet shop to buy a hamster, you might have noticed the enclosure packed with these small rodents. They all live together inside the small space, running around and playing with each other with none of getting injured.
This seemingly cute scene may make you assume that it is a perfectly safe option to keep your hamsters together. Can hamsters be kept in pairs or groups? Since pet stores are doing it, it should be safe enough, right?
Sadly, this way of thinking won’t get you that far with hamsters. Hamsters are, in fact, rather solitary animals. Although some rare hamster breeds can cohabitate, more often than not, keeping a few of them together may be the perfect recipe for disaster.
Hamsters love living on their own and they may even get very violent if you force them into sharing the same space with other hamsters. You can keep some dwarf hamsters in pairs and as long as you do it right, you might even keep a horde, or a group of hamsters together. However, when done with the wrong hamsters, you might set your hamsters and yourself up for failure.
Can You Keep Hamsters Safely Together?
The answer is generally no. Keeping hamsters together is not safe. Most hamsters in the wild live all alone and the only time when they look for other hamsters is during mating season.
The life of domesticated hamsters, on the other hand, must also closely resemble that of wild hamsters as much as possible. The consequences may be severe once you break this rule, depending on the specific type of hamsters you are dealing with. Most hamsters may end up fighting with each, leading to stress, anxiety, illness, injury, or even death in extreme cases.
To ensure that you don’t end up putting together two of the wrong hamsters, let’s take a closer look at some of the popular hamster species that you can keep as pets to know if you can keep them in pairs together and cohabitate in peace.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Be Kept in Pairs?
Dwarf hamsters have different types, and these include Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters and winter whites. Even if you cannot keep most full-size hamsters together for safety purposes, most species of dwarf hamsters can successfully cohabitate. These include the Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters that are usually hybridized together with winter whites. You can also keep these hamsters in pairs or small groups most of the time.
However, it doesn’t still necessarily mean that all dwarf hamsters out there are perfect candidates for being kept in pairs and cohabitation. For example, even if Chinese hamsters are also dwarves, these hamsters are solitary, unlike Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters and winter whites.
Chinese hamsters may end up fighting if you keep them together, regardless of whether you have one female and one male. These dwarf species are best kept in separate enclosures, put together only for mating purposes.
Can Robo Hamsters Be Kept in Pairs?
More popularly called Robos, Roborovski hamsters are among the few species of hamsters that have long been observed to live in pairs out in the wild. However, you can still find them alone even when living in the wild. This means that it is not the rule but is only an exception instead.
But still, Robo hamsters are among the species that will most likely get along when cohabitating or kept in pairs. If you are planning to keep several hamsters in just one enclosure, some of your best options are Robo hamsters. Just don’t forget to give them lots of space to avoid fighting.
Can Syrian Hamsters Be Kept in Pairs?
Syrian hamsters are among the biggest and most docile of all hamster species that are often domesticated and kept as pets. When fully grown, these hamsters are often 5 to 7 inches long with a weight of 6 ounces.
However, while Syrian hamsters are quite friendly with their owners, they might not be as social with their fellow hamsters. Syrian hamsters only meet for mating purposes and when out in the wild, you will never find two Syrian hamsters living in just one burrow.
Syrian hamsters are quite territorial and when you keep two of them in pairs, you can almost expect that they will end up fighting. So, avoid keeping Syrian hamsters together.
Can Winter White Hamsters Be Kept in Pairs?
Unfortunately, pure winter white hamsters are quite rare, and you need some serious searching to actually find one. However, it is rather common to find hybrids of winter whites, and these hamsters usually live in the wild in groups.
You can also find them in hordes bigger than just a pair. In some instances, winter white hamsters even share their burrows with other animals. And while it is true that it might be a bit difficult to create enough space for a pair of hamsters in a small enclosure, once you do so, two or even more winter whites can cohabitate with no issues at all.
Rules to Keep Hamsters in Pairs Successfully
Even if you choose a hamster species that does well with others in one enclosure, you still need to follow a few rules to keep them safe. You cannot just keep a pair of hamsters in one small cage and expect that everything will work out just fine.
Follow the guidelines below to ensure that all your hamsters got all the things they need to have a peaceful cohabitation without fighting:
- Have some backup enclosures in the event of changes in your hamsters’ behaviors.
- Give your hamsters enough space and resources.
- Try to keep a pair of same-sex hamsters.
- Stick to same-species pairings.
- Start your hamsters young.
The Bottom Line
Never be tricked by that enclosure of hamsters that you see in pet shops. Even if they keep all those hamsters in one cage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a good idea if you also do the same.
Many hamsters are only solitary animals and will become aggressive, territorial, and violent once introduced to other hamsters. The good news is that there are some species that you can safely keep together, as long as you take several sensible precautions like giving enough resources and space and keeping together only hamsters of the same species and sex.