Hamsters are social creatures and they can thrive as a pair, group or as solitary animals living alone in their hamster cage. Letting each pet have its own set of toys can also be of great help, and in this article, you can find all the accessories that you may need to ensure a smooth transition.
With that said, introducing two or more pets can be either difficult or easy since it all depends on their personality. You need to be prepared for anything which is why our comprehensive article will guide you every step of the way.
When to introduce hamsters
As far as the age that hamsters should be when you first introduce them, the younger they are the better it is since young pets will be more likely to get along. Thus, if you haven’t yet gotten your hamsters, it is best to buy two young pups and place them together from the beginning.
This will help ensure that the two critters are not strangers and it will increase the chances exponentially that they will get along once they grow older. Once the pets reach their sexual maturity, the scent glands will begin to kick in and their territorial instincts will play a huge part in molding their personality.
You should never try to put a young hamster with an old one since the older hamster will be very protective of its territory which will undoubtedly lead to them fighting. There may be exceptions to this rule but most experts have found that the older one will take the role as the alpha male, and if it is overly aggressive, the younger one might get injured badly.
There’s also the fact that if one of your hamsters has been living all alone for a long period, it can make introducing a mate much more difficult. Similarly, just as humans, some pets may simply prefer to live alone and no matter how much you try, nothing will change that.
You don’t need to feel discouraged since in most cases, introducing two hamsters is much easier than you would imagine, especially if you take our tips and tricks into consideration.
Make the transition slowly
Before you introduce the pets to one another, you will need to purchase a cage that is at least 24 by 24 by 12 inches. The larger size will ensure that both hamsters will have enough space to play and roam without bumping into one another. Getting a cage that features a wire divider is a good idea, especially if you don’t yet know how they’ll get along.
Apart from the size, the material and the design of the cage does not matter too much. You can get a wire cage or a glass aquarium as long as they feature a secure lid to prevent hamsters from escaping. Similarly, in the case of a glass aquarium, make sure to place a mesh lid on the top to allow proper air circulation.
To prepare the cage, you will need to clean it properly, add bedding, extra toys, and accessories to keep the hamsters entertained. You will also need to purchase two hamster wheels as that will allow both critters to exercise whenever they feel like it.
Similarly, since these pets are territorial and will fight if they do not have enough food or water, you should make sure to put extra resources. Get two water and food bowls and place them on opposite sides of the cage so that each pet can enjoy its meal without feeling threatened by the other.
How to introduce them
As we’ve mentioned above, for the first meeting it is best to use a wire divider that will allow them to see and smell each other and that will prevent them from attacking. When you first introduce them, you should wait for them to wake up on their own so that you don’t add more stress to an already stressful situation.
Similarly, bright lights can cause hamsters to feel threatened, so make sure that the room is dimly lit. You can use the curtain to block some of the sunlight, or you can turn off some of the lights in the room.
If you’ve bought a new pet as a mate for your older one, you should place the old hamster first into the cage and wait a few minutes before you place the new pet with it. This will reduce the chances of the older critter becoming territorial.
If both the pets are new, then you can place either one first and then add the other a few minutes later. If the hamsters seem to get along, you can remove the divider and observe them closely to see if they show any signs of aggression.
It is normal for hamsters to chirp at each other and even wrestle a bit, but if they start to fight, scratch, bite, or if they are trying to hurt each other in any other way, you should separate them immediately.
Unfortunately, if the pets don’t get along at first, you should be prepared to keep them separated in two different cages or use a divider to let them live in the same cage.
Other techniques to help aggressive hamsters get along
If the hamsters don’t get along at first, you can consider a few more techniques that could help you succeed. You may try to swap the nesting material between the hamster cages so that the two pets get used to the scent of the other. Some owners have reported good results by using this method.
If one of the hamsters continues to be aggressive, you can try taming it to help it become friendlier toward you and other hamsters. The best way to tame a hamster is to spend a lot of time with it. You can talk and play with it for a few minutes each day. As always, remember to wash your hands before and after handling the pet.