Since guinea pigs and hamsters are both rodents it is common for people to wonder if guinea pigs and hamsters get along or can live together. This article will answer that question and provide tips for owning both a guinea pig and a hamster.
So, Do Guinea Pigs and Hamsters Get Along?
Even though guinea pigs and hamsters are both rodents, the two animals have extremely different personalities and social habits and generally do not get along.
There are many reasons why these two pets can have trouble getting along, those are explained below:
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs and Hamsters May Not Get Along
One reason that guinea pigs and hamsters do not get along is because of their territorial natures. Generally, both hamsters and guinea pigs are territorial animals who enjoy having their own space.
Hamsters will often use their scent glands to mark their territory in an attempt to define their own personal space. The territorial nature of hamsters can even create difficulties when attempting to have two hamsters interact with one another.
The problems that are created by their territorial tendencies are worsened when attempting to socialize a hamster with an animal of another species such as a guinea pig even if the animals are only together for a short amount of time.
In addition to their territorial behaviors, hamsters and guinea pigs will sometimes not get along because they also have very different social habits. Typically, guinea pigs are social animals who feel comfortable being in a large group of other guinea pigs.
On the other hand, hamsters tend to be less social and exhibit more solitary social behaviors even among their own species. Additionally, hamsters tend to exhibit aggressive behavior towards other animals when they in the same proximity.
While both hamsters and guinea pigs have docile temperaments, there are aspects of their temperaments that differ which contributes to the two animals not getting along.
Hamsters often become aggressive and can bite and scratch when they become scared or feel threatened. Guinea pigs are also known to display aggressive tendencies when they are attempting to assert dominance. This aggressive behavior in guinea pigs can also lead to biting.
Another reason that hamsters and guinea pigs do not get along is that they are different species. Guinea pigs belong to the Caviidae family while hamsters are members of the Cricetidae family. While in some instances cross-species “friendships” are formed among animals, in most instances this is not the case when it comes to hamsters and guinea pigs.
Different Behaviors and Forms of Communication
Hamsters are generally rather skittish and nervous when introduced to new surroundings, animals and people. In many cases hamsters have been known to nip at their owners or other animals when they become nervous. Since hamsters are territorial, they regularly police the area that they occupy and will attack other animals that they discover.
Guinea pigs are social animals who exhibit rather docile behaviors. Additionally, guinea pigs often react favorably to new surroundings, and people once they feel comfortable. Unlike hamsters who nip when they become uncomfortable or feel threatened, guinea pigs tend to flee from danger.
Can Guinea Pigs and Hamsters Live Together in the Same Cage?
No, guinea pigs and hamster should not live together in the same cage. Here are some of the reasons why these pets should be housed seperately.
Stressful Living Environment
Since both guinea pigs and hamsters are territorial, having the two species sharing a cage will create a stressful environment for both animals. The hamster will likely view the guinea pig as a potential predator and become excessively stressed. This can be especially dangerous for the guinea pig who is very sensitive to stress.
Another reason why housing a hamster and guinea pig together should be avoided is because of their differing sleeping habits. Hamsters are nocturnal animals which means that they sleep during the day and become more active at night. This is different from the sleeping habits of guinea pigs who are neither nocturnal nor diurnal.
Research has shown that guinea pigs are crepuscular and become the most active during twilight. Despite being crepuscular, guinea pigs generally sleep in short intervals during the daytime and at night.
Another issue which could negatively impact a guinea pig’s sleeping habits if housed with a hamster is attributed to the fact that guinea pigs are prey animals.
Generally, prey animals adapt their sleeping schedule and sleep in shorter intervals when they detect that there is danger attributed to predators. In the event that your guinea pig is housed with a hamster and views the hamster as a potential predator, your guinea pig may not be able to obtain a sufficient amount of sleep.
Different Dietary Requirements
Another reason to avoid housing your guinea pig and hamster in the same cage is because of their dietary requirements. Hamsters primarily eat seeds, nuts, grain, vegetables, and fruit. Guinea pigs on the other hand primarily consume guinea pig pellets, hay, and a limited amount of vegetables and some fruits, like oranges and pineapple, and grapefruit.
By housing and feeding the two animals in the same cage, there is a risk that the guinea pig or hamster will consume improper food or consume certain foods in a quantity that is larger than what is safe.
Territorial Behaviors Over Food
In addition to the difference in food that each animal requires, their personalities regarding their food is another reason to avoid housing guinea pigs and hamsters in the same cage. Hamsters are not only territorial about the space that they live in, but they are also territorial about their food.
This territorial nature of the hamster could lead to the hamster fighting the guinea pig to defend the food which can result in injuries or death. The hamster preventing the guinea pig from can also result in the guinea pig becoming malnourished.
Quick Tips for Owning Both a Guinea Pig and a Hamster
Even though guinea pigs and hamsters do not get along and should not share the same cage, it is possible to keep both animals as pets simultaneously. If you plan to have both animals as pets at the same time, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- The guinea pig and hamster should be kept in separate cages. Many pet owners have found that keeping them in separate cages in different rooms is the best approach.
- The two animals should be fed different diets.
- If you plan to take them out of their cages for playtime, be sure to take them out separately.
- If you decide to attempt to arrange a play date between the two, never leave them together unsupervised.
While guinea pigs and hamsters are both rodents, they are very different animals. Given the differences in their personalities and behaviors, they generally do not get along. Since the two animals do not get along, it is not advisable to attempt to get them to play together or to house them in the same cage as it can result in unnecessary stress and even injury.