If you love small pets but are limited on space, you may wonder if you can save room by putting multiple animals in one area or even in one cage. The personality of both species is a key factor in terms of whether or not they can be kept in the same room together, let alone get along well enough to live in close quarters.
Life Cycle Differences
Hamsters have a relatively short lifespan -- the average is 2 to 3 years -- but chinchillas can live up to 20 years. This means if you own one of each type of animal consistently during a 10-year span of time, you'll own three to five hamsters but only one chinchilla. As an owner, it's important to remember that each animal has its own unique personality and no two individuals are going to be exactly alike. Personality is a major contributing factor in terms of whether or not animals will get along.
Chinchillas are social animals who typically get along well with one another and are known to travel in packs in the wild. Chinchillas are generally happy to have the companionship of another chinchilla. It's customary to get pairs of chinchillas who are the same gender to avoid accidental reproduction between your pets. Chinchillas can be territorial if you have a very dominant animal or keep your animals in cages directly next to one another. Normally the chinchillas will get over territorial behavior as they realize the other animal is not a threat.
Hamsters are not social animals. Syrian hamsters are well known to attack and kill one another if kept in the same cage. Dwarf hamsters can be kept together if they're the same gender and were raised together since adolescence. While some hamsters are less aggressive than others, adult hamsters generally don't do well in the cage with other adult hamsters and serious injury may occur if you attempt to introduce hamsters to one another.
Hamsters and Chinchillas
Hamsters and chinchillas are unlikely to get along and should not be kept in the same living environment. If you decide to keep hamsters and chinchillas in the same general area or room, you'll need to use a cover to prevent the animals from seeing one another and avoid aggressive or territorial behaviors.
- ChinCare: Chinchilla Behavior
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Hamster Care
- Animal Rights Coalition: Ten Things to Know Before Adopting a Hamster
- Burgess Pet Care: Dwarf Hamster Lovers Care Guide
- Pet Info Packets: Hamster Info Packet
- California Hamster Association: Q and A Pairing
- Hamsterific: Frequently Asked Questions
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.