As a pet rodent enthusiast you may wonder if you will save space and time from cleaning by putting your dwarf hamster into the same living enclosure as your pet mice. Unfortunately, putting these two different species in the same cage is a recipe for disaster and should never be done.
Mice are Social
Mice are generally social animals that live in colonies and have complex relationships with other members. Overall mice tend to be happier when they are kept in a living enclosure with several companions. Some mice will be more dominant than others and males have been known to fight among themselves when kept together in captivity. A single pet mouse may become lonely, stressed or depressed if kept alone without any other mice for company.
Hamsters Are Solitary Animals
Unlike mice, hamsters are not social. Syrian hamsters will fight with and ultimately kill one another when kept in the same cage and while dwarf hamsters can be kept in a cage together, companion hamsters often have to be either same gender litter mates or introduced at a very young age. Hamsters are aggressive towards other rodents and adult dwarf hamsters should never be placed in a cage with any other animals because the likelihood of an attack is very high.
Mice and Hamsters
You can not keep mice and dwarf hamsters in the same cage. If you have particularly aggressive animals you may not be able to even keep the animals in the same room because the interaction, even at a distance, may cause your pets stress. If your hamster or mouse reacts aggressively to the sight or smell of one another then you will need to keep them completely apart. Typical aggressive behavior includes hissing, baring teeth, biting at one another through the cage and snapping. You should never attempt to introduce these two species together while you are handling them or during any play time when you remove them from their cages.
Selecting Companions For Your Pets
Young dwarf hamsters may live peacefully with one or two litter mates but rarely do well when introduced to other adults. Mice are a little more forgiving but may or may not get along when you introduce adults to one another. You need to find mice that have similar personalities and avoid introducing very aggressive individuals without taking a substantial amount of time to get the mice used to one another first. At the first sign that one of your animals may attack the other you need to separate your pets.
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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.