Can Hamsters and Rats Live Together? Here’s What You Need to Know

  • MickAdmin
  • June 1, 2023

Hamsters and rats are two of the most popular small pets worldwide. While they both have unique personalities and characteristics, many pet owners wonder if these species can live together. The answer, however, is not a simple yes or no.

When it comes to housing hamsters and rats together, several factors must be considered.

First and foremost, hamsters are solitary animals and prefer to live alone.

Rats, on the other hand, are social creatures and thrive in groups.

This fundamental difference in their social needs can create conflict if housed together.

Additionally, rats are much larger and more dominant than hamsters, which can lead to aggression and territorial behavior.


Can Hamsters and Rats Live Together?


It is essential to consider several factors when keeping hamsters and rats together. While some people may think these two animals can coexist peacefully, some potential risks and dangers should not be ignored.


Factors to Consider


Hamsters and rats are social animals but have different social needs. Hamsters are solitary animals and prefer to live alone, while rats are social animals and thrive in groups.

Putting a hamster and a rat together may cause stress and conflict.

Another factor to consider is the size difference between hamsters and rats. Rats are much larger and more powerful than hamsters, which could potentially harm or even kill a hamster.


Potential Risks and Dangers


Putting hamsters and rats together can lead to several risks and dangers. The most common danger is that the rat may attack and harm the hamster. Even if the rat is not aggressive, it may unintentionally harm the hamster by playing too rough or accidentally stepping on it.

Another risk is that the hamster may become stressed and anxious due to the rat’s presence. This can lead to health problems and a shorter lifespan for the hamster.


Tips for Keeping Hamsters and Rats Together


If you still want to keep hamsters and rats together, some tips can help minimize the risks and dangers:

  • Make sure the cage is large enough to accommodate both animals comfortably.
  • Provide plenty of hiding places and separate areas for each animal to retreat.
  • Supervise their interactions closely and separate them if aggression or stress is observed.
  • Feed them separately to avoid any competition or conflict over food.

In conclusion, while it may be possible for hamsters and rats to live together, it is not recommended due to the potential risks and dangers. It is always best to provide each animal with its cage and companions of their species.


Alternative Housing Options

Separate Cages in the Same Room


One option for housing hamsters and rats together is to keep them in separate cages within the same room. This allows them to interact with each other and provides mental stimulation while still maintaining their own space.

It is essential to ensure that the cages are securely closed and that the hamster and rat cannot escape or enter each other’s cages.


Rotating Playtime


Another option is to rotate the playtime between the hamster and the rat. This allows them to interact with each other in a controlled environment while still maintaining their own living space.

It is important to supervise their playtime to ensure that they do not harm each other and are both comfortable with the interaction.


Keeping Them in Different Rooms


If the hamster and rat cannot coexist peacefully, keeping them in different rooms may be necessary. This ensures they do not harm each other and allows them to live comfortably in their own space. Therefore, providing each animal with adequate space, food, and water in their room is essential.

Overall, it is essential to carefully consider the personalities and behaviors of the hamster and rat before attempting to house them together. Providing them with adequate space, food, water, and mental and physical stimulation is also necessary.


Differences between Hamsters and Rats


When considering whether hamsters and rats can live together, it’s important to understand the differences between the two species. Here are a few key differences:



Hamsters are typically smaller than rats, with an average length of 4-7 inches and a weight of 2-5 ounces.

Conversely, rats can grow up to 9-11 inches in length and weigh between 0.5 and 2.5 pounds.

This size difference can affect how they interact with each other and the type of housing they require.




Hamsters are omnivores and need a balanced diet of plant- and animal-based foods. They typically eat seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, insects, and small amounts of protein.

Conversely, rats are opportunistic omnivores and can eat a more comprehensive range of foods, including grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat.




Hamsters are generally solitary animals and prefer to live alone. They are nocturnal and spend most of their waking hours running on their exercise wheel or exploring their environment.

Rats, on the other hand, are social animals and prefer to live in groups. They are also more active during the day and enjoy playing with toys and interacting with their owners.




Given their different sizes, diets, and behaviors, it’s generally not recommended to house hamsters and rats together. Hamsters are likely to feel stressed and threatened by the presence of a larger rat and may become aggressive or territorial.

Conversely, rats may see a smaller hamster as prey and try to attack it. Therefore, keeping these two species in separate cages is best to ensure their safety and well-being.



In conclusion, it is not recommended to house hamsters and rats together. While they can coexist peacefully, several risks and concerns should be considered.

Firstly, hamsters are solitary animals and prefer to live alone. Introducing a rat into their living space can cause stress and anxiety, leading to health problems and even death. Additionally, rats are larger and more dominant than hamsters, which can result in aggression and fighting over resources such as food and water.

Furthermore, rats are carriers of diseases and parasites that can harm hamsters. Even if both animals appear healthy, there is a risk of transmission through direct contact or shared bedding and toys.

Overall, providing separate living spaces for hamsters and rats is best to ensure their health and well-being. If one wishes to keep both animals as pets, it is recommended to supervise them closely during playtime and keep them in separate cages.

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