February 19, 2010

How many hamsters can I have in a cage?

feline stressHamsters make great pets because they are not aggressive and it’s relatively easy to care for them. When it comes to how many hamsters you can fit in one cage, the answer is not exactly straightforward. In fact, it depends on the kind of hamster you have. Generally, there are 3 species of pet hamster: Syrian hamsters, Dwarf hamsters, and Chinese hamsters.

Syrian Hamsters

Sometimes known as golden, teddy bear, or black bear hamsters, Syrian hamsters are solitary, territorial, and can be aggressive. They should always be caged alone. They have been known to tolerate other hamsters before 10 weeks of age but in adulthood they will fight to the death to defend their territory.

Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf HamsterSome examples of Dwarf hamsters are Campbells Russian hamster, dwarf winter white Russian hamsters, and Roborovski hamsters. These hamsters are more sociable than Syrian hamsters and can safely be kept in pairs or small groups. It’s best not to mix sexes because they will breed (and then you’ll have a whole lot of hamsters on your hands). Also, you shouldn’t put more than 2 or 3 dwarf hamsters in one cage in order to ensure that they have enough space to be comfortable.

Chinese Hamsters

Chinese HamsterThese hamsters are often grouped with dwarf hamsters but they are not true dwarfs. They are smaller than Syrian hamsters, but there is still a lot of debate about whether they’re social or not. As these hamsters become more mature, especially females can become aggressive with other hamsters. If you want to cage pairs or small groups of Chinese hamsters, you need to introduce them from a very young age. Attempting to group older hamsters may result in territorial fighting. Also, small groups of Chinese hamsters will need a larger cage than groups of dwarf hamsters.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.