A hamster and a rabbit living together might sound odd, but it’s a question we stumble upon often. Can hamsters live with rabbits ? Would they get along ?
Sounds like a reasonable, if a bit misguided, question from an owner who would like to introduce his two pets.
While rabbits are fairly even tempered and seem kind of relaxed, hamsters are another story. Let’s see if they would get along, though. For a more detailed comparison between hamsters or rabbits, you should read this article here.
So should hamsters be living with rabbits ?
No, hamsters and rabbits should not and can not live together. There are a few reasons for this.
First, the hamster is very territorial, will fight anything that tries to trespass, and is very jumpy and easy to frighten.
Second, a rabbit is a very social animal, who will want to cuddle and also establish a hierarchy of sorts. Bunnies have a lot of personality, and they also have the advantage of being ridiculously larger than hamsters.
In short, a hamster-rabbit combo can’t go well, at all. The bunny will demand cuddles, grooming, run around, and generally own the place.
This leaves the hamster in a subordinate position, which he does not take well to, and will bite, hide, and be stressed out of his mind.
In some extreme cases the hamster may end up dead, since a kick or bite from the a bunny can be fatal for it. And given how tiny a hammy is, an accident isn’t that unheard of.
But let’s get into the personalities of each animal, and see why they are they way they are.
A little about the hamster’s personality
A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death.
This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese.
Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands.
He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another.
You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together.
They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly.
A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip.
There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy).
And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters.
About the rabbit’s personality
A rabbit is very different from a hamster. I’m not even going to cover the size difference, since that’s one major but obvious reason to never house them with a hamster.
A quick word for those who assume rabbits are rodents – like I did until I got my own hamster and learned the differences:
Rabbis are not related to hamsters, they are not rodents. Yes they bite and chew and burrow, but rabbits are lagomorphs. They share a very distant ancestor with the hamster – about as distant as the dinosaur extinction – but that’s about it.
That being said, rabbits are very social animals, and in the wild they live in colonies. They love being groomed, and they actually have a hierarchy.
If you’ve ever been to the pet store and seen 78 rabbits piled on top of each other, maybe you thought it was cute (like I did).
But it’s their way of establishing dominance. The top rabbit is the one getting all the attention, food, grooming and so on. This doesn’t sit well with other species, like the hamster.
Rabbits will actually come up to each other and ask for (or demand) attention, cuddling, and general social chit chat.
They will mark their territory with large pellets (aside from their regular droppings), or spraying pee, or rubbing their chins (scent glands) on things they’ll consider their own.
Rabbits aren’t aggressive by nature, but they won’t think twice about kicking or biting back if they feel threatened. They do give out warnings though, but unless you’re a rabbit, or a human with a keen eye, you won’t know what’s coming.
Actually if you’ve got a rabbit, or are thinking of getting one, I really think you should check out this site. It’s got a clear explanation of most bunny behaviors, and you’ll get a good glimpse into what having a bunny is like. As far as I’ve read it’s a bit like having a cat, except the meowing and shedding.
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Size and cage differences between the two
There’s a few differences when it comes to habitats, between hammies are rabbits. A hamster can live in a cage that’s 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.
That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and they prefer larger cages anyway.
A rabbit will need much more than that. It needs both a living space, and an exercise space. The minimum for the living space would be 90 x 60 cm, and 90 cm high/ 35.4 x 23.6 inches, and 35.4 inches high.
The exercise space should be a minimum of 2.43 x 1.21 m/ 8 x 4 feet, with height allowance. Rabbits can sometimes jump very high, and like to jump on top of things.
Finally, for rabbits the living and exercise areas should be linked together, for easy access. If you want to know more about picking out a good rabbit habitat, you need to check out this site. It’s also where I did part of my research for this article, and they’re pretty good with rabbits.
Alright, you might say that hamsters love a big cage anyway, and would do well in a habitat as large as the rabbit needs. Fair point, but let’s consider how these two animals keep their space.
A hamster will sleep the day away, much like the rabbit, and will make regular rounds of his space. A rabbit will do the same, and they are both very territorial.
No matter how large their territory is, these two can’t live together. They’re both too attached to ‘their’ things to share them with anyone else.
Well, rabbits do share their ‘home’ but only with those they consider to be family (never a hamster). And they do see some areas as theirs, some as public areas, and some as ”do not enter”.
They’ll try to enter those anyway when you’re not looking, entitled little fluffballs these guys.
Hamsters on the other hand only know ”their” space. All of it. So finding bunny scent on the outside of their hideout will be a source of stress and lots of fighting.
Food and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbit
Alright, now that we’ve settled territory and living spaces and personalities, let’s talk about their food. Since they’re not even related, their foods will be very, very different.
As with any other combination between hamsters and another animal, keeping their food separate won’t be feasible. One will poke into the other’s food bowl, and that’s not a good idea.
Not only because of tensions coming up between the two. But also because the rabbit won’t find anything worthwhile in the hamster’s food, and the hamster will steal the good bits from the rabbit’s food.
A rabbit on the other hand will need a different diet. First off, hay, lot and lots of hay since they much on it pretty much all day. This can be a problem, since the hamster will try to use this as his nesting material.
This way they won’t be able to pick and choose their favorites. A pellet is like a large kibble, with all the nutrients the rabbit needs, and all pellets in the bag are the same.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies don’t really like to share anything, and a big bunny can be very intimidating for us. Best to keep us separate.
If you want to know more about us hamsters, then your should check out the related articles below. You’ll find info on how to keep us happy and safe.