Can Hamsters & Gerbils Live Together?

Hamsters and gerbils together are a big no-no.
Hamsters and gerbils together are a big no-no. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Although hamsters and gerbils may appear somewhat similar, to the casual human onlooker, they are two totally different types of rodents with different temperaments, sleeping patterns and so forth. Because of these factors, it is crucial to never allow hamsters and gerbils to share living environments. They are furry, cute and not too similar at all.

Syrian Hamsters and Gerbils

Syrian hamsters are the most popular of all household hamsters, according to the ASPCA. Despite their popularity, these golden-brown hamsters are fiercely independent and solitary animals. Not only is it important for them not to live with gerbils, it is also important for them not to live with any other creature at all, period. They cannot live with species mates and certainly cannot live with animals of other species. Since Syrian hamsters are highly territorial by nature, serious aggression is inevitable -- not good.

Dwarf Hamsters and Gerbils

Dwarf hamsters consist of a handful of different species, which include both Siberian hamsters and Campbell's dwarf hamsters. Dwarf hamsters can be friendly and social, but exclusively among others of their specific species and only if they were brought together as youngsters. This means that a Siberian dwarf hamster cannot live safely or successfully with a Campbell's dwarf hamster. The lifestyle differences between different dwarf hamster species, simply put, are too much -- and the lifestyle differences between dwarf hamsters and gerbils are even greater. Never allow a dwarf hamster or any hamster to live with a gerbil.

Gerbils Together

Gerbils generally thrive when they live alongside others -- they adore grooming, resting and feeding together, after all. Out in wild environments, these wee burrowing rodents typically reside in vast units with their family members. In cage settings, gerbils usually do well in pairs of the same gender. In opposite-sex living situations, mating and breeding are unavoidable. If you introduce a pair of same-gender gerbils that are between 6 and 8 weeks old, they may develop an easy and instant connection. Littermates also usually flourish together. Fully mature gerbils who are unfamiliar with each other can become aggressive. In any case, however, it is always wise to at first closely observe any animals living together, whether they're gerbils any other species.

Nocturnal and Diurnal

Hamster and gerbil living situations cannot work for many reasons, with danger being a prominent one. Apart from the danger element, the two types of rodents also have completely opposite sleeping patterns. Hamsters tend to be nocturnal, while gerbils are generally busy in the daytime, like people.

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