You're looking to double your fun by adopt more than one hamster. Be sure to get the right kind: Several breeds of dwarf hamsters are social, and two males can cohabit safely together. Non-dwarf hamsters do not tolerate company of either gender, but many dwarfs are actually happier living in the same cage with a pal.
Breeds of Dwarf Hamsters
Three breeds of dwarf hamsters are available at pet stores, and all three of them are social. Winter white, Roborovski and Campbell's dwarfs will appreciate a companion. They should be kept with a same-sex buddy or with a fixed littermate otherwise. The Campbell's and winter white breeds look very similar, except that winter whites have three stripes where Campbell's only have one. Roborovskis are the smallest of the bunch, they need a roomy cage because they love to run. You may see Chinese hamsters listed as a dwarf breed, but they are technically ratlike hamsters. Chinese hamsters don't live well with other hamsters, unlike other dwarf breeds. House only hamsters of the same breed together.
If you're going to house the little guys together, you should start when they are young, less than 8 weeks old if possible. Adopting your hamsters as a pair from the beginning is the best way to go. These guys have already gotten to know one another. It's best if your hamsters are the same gender. As a dwarf hamster grows up, he'll be less likely to accept a new roomie. If he's over a year old, you shouldn't introduce a new hamster to the mix, even if he's gotten along with another hamster in the past.
Give Them Space
Even though they're friends, your dwarfs may squabble from time to time. Make sure your little guys have room to themselves. You should have a food bowl, water bottle and wheel for each of your buddies. It's a good idea to keep a separate cage on hand in case the disagreement gets a little heated so you can separate them.
Sometimes, hamsters who originally got along may decide they don't like one another. Signs to look out for are squabbling that draws blood, one chasing the other hamster around the cage all the time, more squealing and squawking than normal, and one hiding while the other is eating. If one of your little guys starts to lose weight, it could be because he's too frightened to go to the food dish. He'll be jumpy when you try to pet him, too. Since these could be signs that one of your buddies is sick, he should visit his vet. If he's in good health, try a temporary separation. If trouble arises when you put them back together, it's a good idea to house them separately permanently.
- Hamster image by Stana from Fotolia.com