They’re both fuzzy. They both go nuts for a sunflower seed snack. They both love a good sprint on the exercise wheel. And you love them both!
In the wild, we see many animals living together, even in what seems like very small areas. It’s not surprising to hear several types of birds singing from the same tree or to see fish and frogs swimming around in the same stream. These “can X animal live with Y animal” questions are quite common.
But you might wonder, do hamsters and mice get along? Hamsters and mice are an example of two species that can NOT cohabitate! Hamsters are generally solitary animals.
One isn’t the loneliest number (for hamsters)
So, while some species can tolerate living with siblings or same-sex friends, hamsters generally prefer having space to themselves. And don’t mind the lack of friends (one human friend is plenty for them!).
Mice, however, are social animals and will readily interact with both other mice and other animals.
This means, at best, the mouse is going to try and hangout with the hamster. And the hamster is going to be very stressed out by the mouse always invading their personal space!
Can hamsters live with other hamsters?
Depending on the type of hamster, the results of sharing space with other hamsters could be even more disastrous.
Most hamsters owned as pets are Syrian hamsters. They are very territorial and do not like to live with anyone, including other Syrian hamsters.
Chinese hamsters are also not very keen on sharing space. Especially if they’re both female or if they didn’t know each other growing up.
However, if they can have separate areas of their cage or hamster run, there is a possibility of successful cohabitation.
Dwarf hamsters (Campbell’s and “winter white” Russian hamsters or Roborovski hamsters) can tolerate other hamsters of the same sex or their biological siblings (if they were raised together).
Hamsters (like many rodents) identify important characteristics about others by smell. So, if a hamster smells familiar, Chinese and dwarf hamsters don’t feel like there is a stranger hamster in their house.
But that only applies to other hamsters of the same species and only if all the hamsters were raised together.
Once they are adults, they’ve already met all the hamsters they’re willing to be friends with.
This is not a guarantee the hamsters will get along. And even two hamsters who lived together previously might not get along if the group size changes or the cage isn’t large enough.
If you’re thinking of trying a combination of dwarf hamsters or Chinese hamsters, be prepared to get a second cage in case things don’t quite go as planned!
Syrian hamsters, however, will feel like all other hamsters are strangers (even if they are siblings!). And should never be housed with another rodent.
Understanding why hamsters and mice don’t get along
Humans are very social animals, so sometimes it’s hard to understand how an animal would prefer to live alone.
If hamsters are stuck living with other animals who sleep where they do and eat what they eat, the hamster can’t help but get stressed out that one day there won’t be enough food or enough shelter.
Of course, YOU know that you’re always going to make sure everyone has enough to eat and that there will be enough space, but your hamster doesn’t know that!
Mice, on the other hand, are used to sharing their meals and nests with a bunch of mouse relatives, so they’re very comfortable living in groups!
Of course, even then, its best to have a group of females living together or mice who all grew up living together.
Male mice will often begin to compete for space, no matter how large their cage is!
Mice are very social, and as long as they’re housed in an appropriately sized cage, they enjoy each other’s company. You might even hear them “laughing” as they play with one another!
If you want several pets who can live happily together, you’ll be better off adopting several mice than trying to mix hamsters and mice.
Choosing individuals who were raised together is always necessary, and depending on the species, picking specifically male or female companions is recommended.
Finding humans who get along well enough to live together is difficult (my kids, for example), and so you should expect at least that much difficulty in pairing pets.
Understanding how these animals lived in the wild can give us valuable insight on what kind of living space will enrich their lives and lower their stress levels.
Doing research beforehand and having a plan for separating animals that can’t get along will save you and your pets a lot of stress!
You might also be interested in, Do Hamsters Attract Rats? and What are Hamsters Like as Pets?
Live Science – Hamster Facts: Diet, Habits, & Types of Hamsters
The Spruce Pets – Chinese Striped Hamsters as Pets
The Spruce Pets – Keeping and Caring for Chinese Striped Hamsters as Pets
Live Science – Mouse Facts: Habits, Habitat & Types of Mice
U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. Kappel, Hawkins, and Mendl. To Group or Not to Group? Good Practice for Housing Male Laboratory Mice