Your adorable hamster and your even more adorable chinchilla (yes, I’m biased) playing together adorably.
Maybe they run together in their wheel, play hide and seek in the cage, or playfully spray each other with wood chips.
It’s possible. But unlikely.
It’s not that chinchillas and hamsters can’t get along. But they are very different animals, making it highly unlikely.
There are always exceptions, but if you want to keep both animals, you need to keep them in separate locations.
Definitely separate cages, but ideally separate rooms.
Keep reading to learn why chinchillas and hamsters don’t really get along all that well. If you want to have both animals, you need to know this and take steps to protect your hamster.
- 1 Do Chinchillas And Hamsters Get Along?
- 1.1 Why Hamsters And Chinchillas Don’t Get Along
- 1.2 What Happens When You Bring A Chinchilla And A Hamster Together?
- 1.3 Can You Use Chinchilla Dust Bath For Hamsters?
- 1.4 Will A Chinchilla Attack A Hamster?
- 2 Hamsters And Chinchillas Getting Along: Final Thoughts
Do Chinchillas And Hamsters Get Along?
No, hamsters and chinchillas do not really get along, because they have very different personalities. Chinchillas are mostly social animals, but they only prefer the company of their own kind.
Certain species of hamsters do not like having any cage mates and prefer being solitary. Most chinchillas are known to be aggressive towards hamsters. Also, their size differences and the need to control their territory make them an incompatible pair.
This does not mean that no hamster and so chinchilla can ever get along. Some owners have both and they get along splendidly. But most of the time, it is best to keep these two species separated.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the major reasons hamsters and chinchillas do not get along all that well. We’ll also examine what could happen if you decide to house these two species in the same enclosure.
Why Hamsters And Chinchillas Don’t Get Along
These are the main reasons why hamsters and chinchillas may not get along.
Different Species With Different Personalities
Although both hamsters and chinchillas are rodents, chinchillas vs hamsters have very different personalities. Hamsters are intelligent, active, and playful.
They love to be let out of their habitat to play and run. They will also cuddle with their humans and show love and affection. Hamsters are crepuscular, so they are most active during dusk and at dawn. The are often also described as nocturnal.
Syrian hamsters are the most common species of hamsters kept as house pets. Mostly, they are solitary beings and are even known to be aggressive towards other Syrian hamsters.
Chinchillas are territorial rodents that are also crepuscular. They are sensitive and delicate, so it is best not to let them out of their cage, apart from a daily supervised session in a chinchilla-proofed room or a play tent.
Chins are not as cuddly as hamsters. Once they trust you, they will be more amenable to being handled. But they will never be as open to it as a hamster.
Chinchillas are also intelligent beings and some are so smart that they even respond to their names and recognize about 15 to 20 words. Most chinchillas are docile, but they are known to get aggressive with other house pets like hamsters.
You will love and enjoy the company of both chinchillas and hamsters. Both are cute and cuddly animals, but if yo put them together, they will compete for resources and attention. And it could get ugly.
Different Dietary Needs
Hamsters are mainly omnivores in the wild. This means they eat a diet consisting of plants, fruits, vegetables and seeds. But they also eat the occasional animal protein, generally in the form of insects.
Pet chinchillas are herbivores and they need a diet of pellets and hay. In the wild, chinchillas eat grasses, other plants, fruits, seeds, and also the occasional insects and bird eggs.
Can chinchillas eat hamster food, then? No, you should never feed hamster food to a chinchilla and vice-versa. Doing so can wreak havoc on their digestive systems. Hamster food often contains corn, nuts, seeds, and peas and these ingredients can cause problems for a chinchilla’s digestive system.
Different Energy Levels
Hamsters are generally more active and energetic than chinchillas. They love to exercise for 3 to 4 hours every night. Younger chinchillas are also active, but adult chinchillas do not need more than 1 to 2 hours of exercise daily.
Different Sizes And Lifespans
Hamsters are generally smaller and lighter than chinchillas. Chins can grow up to 9 to 14 inches and weigh about 1.5 pounds. Most hamsters do not weigh more than 8 ounces. Of course, this also means that they eat less than chinchillas.
Hamsters also have shorter lifespans and most only live for 2 to 3 years. Chinchillas, on the other hand, are known to live for 10 to 15 years in captivity.
Given a chinchilla’s larger size, it is quite possible that it could hurt a small hamster. If you leave the two together in a cage unsupervised, chances are that the chinchilla might bully or show aggression toward the hamster.
They ‘Speak’ Different Languages
Chinchillas show their affection by nibbling their owner lightly. In the case of hamsters, repeated biting or nibbling is considered a sign of dislike or aggression.
Chinchillas are rather territorial and they do not like sharing their resources and space. Their social behavior also differs vastly from that of hamsters.
These fundamentally different behaviors are the main reason behind difficulties between hamsters and chinchillas.
What Happens When You Bring A Chinchilla And A Hamster Together?
Chinchillas and hamsters look similar in some ways. However, looking at the differences between chinchillas and hamsters, it becomes quite clear why the two species have trouble getting along.
If you bring a hamster’s cage near a chinchilla’s cage, both pets will get stressed. Both animals might start screeching or squeaking loudly. The chinchilla might try to attack or show aggression towards the hamsters.
Even if both animals remain calm, it is best not to keep them together in the same cage or enclosed area. This is very important for the safety of both animals.
A chinchilla won’t hesitate to dominate or scare the smaller hamster. It might lash out at the hamster. Given their size differences, it could cause serious harm to the much smaller hamster.
Placing two rodents of different species in the same cage is likely to stress out both animals. This stress can even turn into fear, anxiety, or aggression.
That is why it is always better to keep the two pets separately in their own cages. And preferably in separate rooms. If you plan to keep the cages in the same room, make sure you cover them. That way, the two animals can smell, but not see, each other.
Can You Use Chinchilla Dust Bath For Hamsters?
Some chinchilla dust brands is fine for hamsters, but not all of them. For that reason, I would not use chinchilla dust for your hamster, unless you specifically know that the brand in question is safe. If you want to use it, ask your vet to be sure. Better safe than sorry!
Will A Chinchilla Attack A Hamster?
Both chinchillas and hamsters are capable of aggression. While a well-socialized chinchilla that normally gets along with members of its own species might have a friendly temperament, there is a possibility that it could feel threatened by the hamster.
If it feels its territory is under attack, it won’t hesitate to defend itself. So, yes, a chinchilla could attack a hamster. The difference in sizes can be dangerous and the smaller and lighter hamster is at a considerable risk of getting seriously hurt by the larger chinchilla.
Hamsters And Chinchillas Getting Along: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas are generally solitary animals and they do not really need a cage mate. While most chinchillas that are raised in captivity from a young age might get along with other chinchillas, it is completely okay for them not to have any roommate at all.
And other animal species should never share a cage with a chin. A hamster as a roommate for a chinchilla is definitely out of question. But you can have both animals under the same roof.
Always remember that if you want a buddy for your chinchilla, you may want to start while it is young. Younger chinchillas are more likely to be flexible, tolerant, and adaptable.
This is true towards their own kind, too. Whether hamster or other chinchilla, it is important to monitor all interactions, especially in the beginning. Even if they get along all of the time now, you never know what might happen.