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should hamsters be kept alone or in pairs?
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Do Hamsters Get Lonely By Themselves (Compatibility Table)

Many animals prefer to live in pairs and small groups because they get lonely.

So, you’re likely wondering if getting your hamster a companion is a good idea to keep each other company. However, hamsters aren’t social creatures, so they don’t need a friend.

Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are the only species that like each other’s company. Syrian and Chinese hamsters must never live with others as they’re territorial and will fight to the death. Roborovski and winter white hamsters can live with their kin if they’re kept together from birth.

If you choose to get your dwarf hamster a companion, you must consider how much space is required to prevent them from fighting for resources.

Do Hamsters Live Alone in the Wild?

According to Live Science, some hamster species are social, while others prefer to live alone.

Hamsters only come together to breed. Procreation is essential for their survival because they’re vulnerable to so many different predators in the wild.

Female hamsters come into heat every four days, which is when they breed with males.

Some breeds, such as Syrians and Chinese hamsters, also fight each other for the right to breed. The rest of the time, they live solitary lives in their burrows and forage for food separately.

Roborovski and other dwarf hamsters live in small groups, giving themselves a greater chance of survival.

do hamsters need company?

Should Hamsters Be Kept Alone or in Pairs?

Since most wild hamsters don’t like living in pairs or groups, captive hamsters shouldn’t. While some species are comfortable living in twos, having more than two in one cage is dangerous.

You’ll also need to remember that the minimum floor space for one hamster is 80 x 500 cm, which means you’ll need to double the space for a second animal. 

You mustn’t integrate hamsters from different litters, as they’ll become territorial and fight.

Never mix genders, as hamsters give birth within 16-22 days and can become pregnant within 24 hours.

The Michigan Humane Society recommends housing hamsters apart, regardless of their gender and species. Mature females become aggressive toward one another, and males will also fight.

Here are the social requirements of the most popular captive hamsters:

Hamster BreedSocial Requirements
Syrian hamsterKept alone
Chinese hamsterKept alone
Roborovski hamsterCan be paired or left alone
Campbell’s dwarf hamsterCan benefit from each other’s company
Winter white hamsterCan be paired or left alone

Here’s a closer look at each species and whether they should live alone:

Do Syrian Hamsters Need Company?

Syrian hamsters (teddy bear hamsters) are very territorial animals.

They don’t like living near other hamsters, so they’ll fight for dominance over the cage. They dislike living with other hamsters so much that they’ll fight to the death.

Baby Syrian hamsters can live together until they’re 8-10 weeks old. Then, they’ll start to fight.

Do Roborovski Hamsters Get Lonely?

Roborovski hamsters don’t get lonely, but they can be kept in pairs.

However, while Robos are one of the smallest hamster species, they still require plenty of room. If you only have a limited amount of space, get one hamster.

If you opt for two Roborovski hamsters, you must always monitor them, especially when they first move into their new cage, as they can become intolerant of each other over time.

It’s not uncommon for dominant Robos to start bullying their more submissive companion. If this happens, you’ll have no choice but to separate them.

Do Chinese Hamsters Need Company?

Even though Chinese hamsters are part of the dwarf family, they must be kept alone.

They’re not naturally sociable and will fight to the death. Even though they’re such tiny animals, they can cause each other a significant amount of damage, so it’s never worth the risk of keeping them together.

Even Chinese hamsters kept together from birth can turn on each other.

Do Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters Get Lonely?

Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are the only species happy to live in pairs. Ensure the Campbell’s dwarf hamsters are from the same litter and gender, limiting the number to two.

Should You Separate Winter White Hamsters?

Winter white hamsters look similar to Campbell’s dwarves, but they’re less happy to live in pairs. Like Robo dwarf hamsters, you can only combine winter whites that have lived together since birth.

Winter whites can become territorial, so you must monitor them closely to avoid fighting. Look for signs of dominant behavior, as this usually means that one of the hamsters is being bullied.

Do Hamsters Get Lonely on Their Own?

We’ve explained how most hamster species thrive independently because they don’t get lonely.

Hamsters don’t see other hamsters as friends or companions – they see them as competitors for food and resources. This is particularly true of same-sex hamsters, as they compete with each other for breeding rights in the wild.

Owners rarely provide enough space for two hamsters. It’s not always easy to meet the additional space requirements, meaning several hamsters are kept in cages half the size they need.

Do Hamsters Die of Loneliness?

Regardless of its species, keeping a hamster on its own won’t cause any problems. Instead, focus on providing boredom breakers inside the cage to keep your lone hamster occupied.

Cohabiting is a stressful experience for most hamsters, making them sick because unwelcome companions cause significant distress. Stress exacerbates the growth of harmful bacteria, resulting in several harmful – and often fatal – health conditions.

Hamsters are more likely to die from hurting each other than being separated from their kin.

do hamsters need friends?

Do Hamsters Like Human Company?

Even though hamsters are solitary creatures, they enjoy some human company when tamed.

Hamsters can build strong bonds with humans, preferring human company to other animals. However, their trust needs to be earned first.

You can do this by letting your hamster grow accustomed to your scent and interacting with it in short bursts until it learns you’re not a threat.

All hamsters are different, and some prefer to be left alone. As a result, they burrow deep into their burrows and don’t come out until late when their owners are asleep.

You can’t change this, but you can encourage the hamster to emerge with treats. If your hamster wants to be left alone, you must give it the alone time it needs.

How To Introduce a New Hamster to Another

Compatible breeds must have grown up together to live with each other. You’ll need to move your hamsters into a new cage as soon as they’re old enough to leave their mother.

Ensure you have a small temporary cage, and follow these steps for a stress-free move:

  1. Choose a large cage that gives both hamsters enough space to explore and create burrows.
  2. Set up the cage with two of everything, including running wheels, water bottles, and food dishes.
  3. Put one hamster in the large cage and the other in the smaller one. After 24 hours, swap the hamsters around so the others can explore the large cage. This enables both hamsters to get used to the scent of the larger cage without becoming territorial over space.
  4. Swap the hamsters back and forth for four days, ensuring neither displays aggression.
  5. Once comfortable that your hamsters are okay with each other, let them loose into the large cage while supervising them to ensure they don’t fight.
  6. If there are signs of aggression, move the dominant hamster to the large cage and repeat steps 3-6.

If the hamsters continue to become aggressive toward each other, they’re incompatible and must live separate lives. Not all dwarf hamsters are suited to living in pairs.