Do hamsters attract rats?

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How to make your home a hamster haven, not a rat’s nest

If you want to bring home an adorable hamster but are afraid your pet will attract furry squatters, you’re not alone. Many people fear that opening their home to a hamster will also open the door for rats or other pests. 

So, do hamsters attract rats? Rest assured, your hamster will not attract rats. Although hamsters and rats are both rodents, there is little else they have in common. Rats are not interested in mating or cohabitating with hamsters, and generally try to avoid them. 

Is the hamster to blame?

Tan hamster burrowed in bedding looking out with text, Who, me?

Contrary to what some assume, rats are not drawn to the scent of hamsters. Different members of the rodent family produce distinct scents. Just as dogs mark their territory to keep other dogs away, rodents communicate through the scent of their urine. 

Your hamster’s urine scent sends the message ‘this is my home, stay away.’ 

For the most part, rats will heed this warning. If rats have entered your home or are seen near your hamster, it was not the scent of your pet that attracted them.  

What if I found rats in my house after bringing home a new pet?

Maybe you found the tell tale droppings or saw a furry shadow dart across the corner of the room…. 

If rats have appeared in your home after your new family member arrived, don’t blame Hammy. 

Rats don’t seek the company of hamsters (and hamsters surely don’t like roommates), but they do seek out food. Keep up on appropriate cleaning and maintenance. 

Keep trash a safe distance from entries to your house. Examine your home for holes and cracks where rats may be entering. 

Before applying any rodent repeller or bringing bait traps into your home, read labels carefully. Electronic rodent repeller may sound like music to your ears, but the sound it produces will trouble your hamster. 

Make sure poisons or toxins intended for rats are not able to harm your companion animal.  

If you have already found rats in your home, protect your pet by securing the cage so that rats can’t access your hamster’s habitat. 

Remember, rodents are agile and can squeeze into all kinds of places. You may wish to reinforce the outside of your hamster’s cage with mesh. 

If you suspect a rat has been near your hamster, take a close look to ensure your pet has not been injured. Competition for food may trigger aggression in both animals. If you suspect injury, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Keeping your hamster safe and your home pest free

To avoid problems with unwelcome rodents, keep your hamster’s cage clean and free of food debris. Keep pellets, snacks, and other hamster treats in secure containers. 

Your hamster’s cage may be decked out with their favorite nesting materials. Regularly clean the cage to prevent old scraps of food from attracting rats looking for a bite to eat. 

Keep areas around your hamster’s cage clean and clear of food scraps as well. 

It’s unwise to keep a hamster outdoors for many reasons, and the presence of food attracting predators or pests is one of them. 

Keep in mind it only takes a few little crumbs to entice pests. Your hamster may knock food onto the floor. Other family members may have slacked on emptying the trash or wiping down counters. An older home with crevices may tempt a hungry rodent. 

If your hamster’s appetite has resulted in more food waste than before, secure all trash and keep bins a few feet from your home. 

Carefully seal all entrances to your home and clear out debris that can attract rats such as excess cardboard or blankets, materials they can use for nesting. Most importantly, cut off their access to your hamster’s food.

Don’t leave rat repelling up to your hamster

Hamsters, like other rodents, are very territorial and will generally avoid each other. This doesn’t mean, however, that your hamster will put the Orkin man out of business. 

Rats may avoid the presence of other rodents, but when it comes to the chance to score some free food, who can resist? Practical measures on your part can ensure happy coexistence between yourself and your hamster.

Welcoming your hamster…. and nobody else.

Sharing your home with a hamster can be a rewarding experience. By practicing some basic precautions, you can make sure that the only rodent in your home is your hamster. 

Welcome your new pet without the fear of having your home invaded by his distant cousins. By following these guidelines, you and your family can stop worrying about rats and enjoy your new family member.

References

Breda Pest Management – The 4 Reasons You May Have Rat and Mice Problems

Answers.com – Do hamsters attract rats?

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Pet Rodents

Tomcat – Identifying a Mouse or Rat Problem in Your House

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