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Hamsters Living With Other Pets

Can a dwarf hamster live with a guinea pig, rabbit or other pet species?

By Martha Boden
Posted: June 13, 2012, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I have a little Roborovski dwarf hamster. I used to have two but, due to bullying and violence, I had to separate the two. One friend really liked one and lives on his own, so I allowed him to have one. Now I have one dwarf hamster who has lived all on his own for six months. He is just about a year old. I spend lots of time with him and he is very sweet, but I worry if he misses his old spoon buddy for warmth. Could I introduce another species to live with him (bunny, guinea pig, hedgehog), or possibly another dwarf hamster? Due to the fact that he was the one that was bullied, I wonder if he would be more timid than a typical hamster? I am most interested to know if my hamster can live with another pet, though.
 
A: You did the right thing for your hamsters! Bullying and injuries are definitely cause for separating dwarf hamsters of any species. As an adult hamster from an unsuccessful pairing, your hamster is not an ideal candidate for further pairing attempts. It’s difficult enough to create successful pairings for young hamsters, but an adult hamster that has been violent or the victim of violence is even more difficult to pair.

If your hamster is bright, active and content, there’s really no reason to push the matter at his age. Interaction with you and the activities you provide in and out of his cage can create a very good life. You’ve done very well for him!
 
It is never a good idea to house any hamster with any other animal species. Even dwarf hamsters of two different species aren’t safe together, as their needs, habits and communication styles differ. Housing such a tiny hamster with another animal would be terribly dangerous, and wouldn’t provide him with meaningful companionship.
 
If you’re worried about temperatures, keep his habitat in the warmest area of the house away from drafts, and provide plenty of bedding and plain white toilet paper for nesting. An enclosure like a small cardboard box with a door cut in it and room for bedding and toilet paper can make a snug, warm nest house. Folding a few thick towels underneath his cage (well out of his reach) can provide warm insulation even if he digs all the way to the bottom of his home to make his bed.

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