How a Hamster Reacts to Another Hamster

Do your research before considering getting him a roommate.
Do your research before considering getting him a roommate. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Hamsters are known to be pleasant, easy-to-care-for caged pets, but not everybody knows they're solitary creatures. You need to know how hamsters react to each other before you set out to acquire more than one. Some breeds of hamsters, are suited to hermitude, while others tolerate only their own species.

Syrian Hamsters

Within the world of hamsters, Syrians are the most prevalent. These cuties are also often referred to as teddy bear hamsters and golden hamsters due to their cuddly exteriors and brownish-gold fur. These territorial hamsters do not react well to other hamsters, whether of their own species or another. They are naturally solitary and independent rodents, and because of that must live in cages solitarily, no matter what. Wild members of this species usually live by themselves in burrows. Syrian hamsters tend to react to the presence of other hammies in a physically aggressive manner. Since fights between hamsters can be fatal, it is crucial to always stick to a one-cage-one-hamster policy.

The only time Syrian hamsters can live in a group is when their mothers are still nursing them. They attain reproductive maturity when they are roughly 5 weeks old. Not only do they become physically mature at 5 weeks old, they usually tend to develop strong territorial streaks at this point, too. Because of this territoriality, it is important to remove Syrian hamsters from their mothers and siblings before 5 weeks of age. Syrian hamsters of both genders are territorial.

Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf hamsters, such as Campbell's dwarf hamsters and Russian winter white dwarf hamsters, are unlike Syrian hamsters; they can often be sociable and companionable creatures, according to the ASPCA. Although dwarf hamsters are often gregarious animals, they get along with others of their same exact breed only. Members of a like breed can react violently or aggressively to each other at first. Because of that, you must always closely monitor the interactions of dwarf hamsters at first. Although dwarf hamsters often can live together harmoniously, exceptions do exist. If you observe potentially hazardous and persistent fighting between your dwarf hammies, get them away from each other immediately. Meanwhile, dwarf hamsters frequently engage in frolicsome "dominance" battles with each other. Although these brawls are often harmless and short, it is important to keep watchful eyes on them should they intensify in nature.

Genders of Dwarf Hamsters

Despite the fact that dwarf hamsters can usually manage sharing living spaces with others, it is vital to group together only members of one gender. When it comes to reproductive abilities, hamsters are speedy animals. If two opposite sex dwarf hamsters live together, they react by having sex and bearing litters of young -- swiftly.

Early Age

For optimal results in pairing up dwarf hamsters, make sure to bring them together at young ages. Although it isn't necessary for the dwarf hammies to be siblings, it is essential for them to be of approximately the same physical size and age. If an older dwarf hamster is comfortable and set in living alone, introducing a newbie can be an extremely stressful situation.

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