While some animals prefer to live in large groups of their own species, other animals prefer to live alone. It is important to remember how animals live in the wild when keeping them as a pet to make sure you give them the best living conditions to keep them happy and healthy. If you are thinking of getting a hamster for the first time or you are already the owner of a single hamster, you may worry that they will get lonely on their own, but is this the case?
Do Hamsters Get Lonely?
Most hamsters prefer living alone, so they will not get lonely if you do not keep two or more hamsters. There are some breeds of hamster that are happy to live in pairs or small groups, such as dwarf hamsters, but they are just as happy living on their own.
What Are the Risks of Keeping More Than One Hamster in the Same Cage?
If you decide to keep two or more hamsters in the same habitat, you are taking a big risk because hamsters do not always interact well with each other. Fighting is a common problem when keeping multiple hamsters as they will show aggression to exert their dominance or to protect their territory. The fighting can result in injury or even death, in extreme cases.
Another risk you face when having hamsters living in the same cage is breeding. If you have hamsters of the opposite sex living together, the inevitable result is a litter of baby hamsters. Unless you are an experienced hamster owner and intend to breed your pets, you should not have two hamsters of the opposite sex living together.
Things to Consider When Keeping More Than One Hamster
If you decide that you will keep more than one hamster in the same cage, there are several things you should consider first.
- Breed- Some breeds respond better than others to living in groups. Syrian hamsters, also known as golden hamsters, do not interact well with other hamsters and prefer living in solitude. Therefore, you should avoid this breed if you want to keep your hamsters together. It is better to opt for one of the dwarf breeds as these respond better to pairing or living in a group environment.
- History- It is easier to keep two hamsters together if they have been kept in the same cage since birth. If you are buying your hamsters from a pet shop, this is something you should check before buying.
- Sex- The best pairing option is to buy two hamsters of the same sex. These will show less aggression towards each other and there is no risk of breeding.
- Size of the cage- Two hamsters need twice the space as one hamster. If the cage is not big enough, they cannot get enough exercise and there is not enough room for the hamsters to keep out of each other’s way. This can lead to the animals becoming stresses and can also increase of them fighting over their territories.
- Accessories- Hamsters should not share their toys, feeding bowls or water bottles. Not only does this risk spreading infection, it can also cause fighting. As one hamster becomes dominant over the other, they will not want to share their things. The weaker hamster may even stop eating and drinking to avoid a fight. Therefore, you should buy each hamster its own feeding bowl, water bottle, and hamster wheel.
- Be prepared- When you buy two hamsters and put them in a cage together, you must prepare yourself that there is the potential they will fight. This means that you may soon have to move one of the hamsters to another cage.
Hamsters do not get lonely and most live best on their own, although some breeds are happy to live in groups. If you do decide to keep two hamsters together, you should opt for a same-sex pairing, make sure the cage is big enough, and give each hamster its own accessories.