Hamsters and rats are both from the same rodent family and with this they share some of the same major characteristics.
Like all rodents, they both have enlarged, chisel-shaped upper and lower front incisors.
These grow throughout their lives and they have a similar appearance up to a point. However, this is where the similarities end.
Hamsters and rats are very different personalities and do not react well to each other.
It may seem a good idea to put a hamster (even a Syrian) with a pet rat so as to save space and to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning cages, restocking food and water bottles but these two types of rodent pretty much aren’t the best of playmates.
In fact any plan to put these two species together is likely to end badly for one or the other, probably in this case, the hamster.
A stressful experience for hamsters
Most hamsters are solitary creatures and do not get along well with other breeds of hamster of either gender.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals stated that other animals should be prevented from accessing them or their cage.
Hamsters can find the presence and scent of other animals in the home stressful.
Other animals in the home to be prevented from accessing them or their cage. Hamsters can find the presence and scent of other animals in the home stressful.
Rats love to socialise
Rats on the other hand are very social animals and have an unusual intelligence. They enjoy living with each other and don’t have a preference in living with other species of rat. This is very unlike hamsters who are very particular in this regard.
They love to interact with each other and hate living alone in a cage.
They enjoy grooming each other and will rarely do damage to each other if they get into a fight. Their fights are more for dominance in the cage than anything.
Rats therefore love to live with other rats and thrive on companionship. They would much rather live with another rat than with a hamster.
Rats are easily introduced to each other and there are some good processes that can be carried out to make the whole thing much easier.
So if you have both a rat and a hamster as a pet, then it is much better to keep them in separate cages away from each other, in separate rooms if possible.
Even if they are in the same room they will become agitated and unsettled as they will be able to smell each other and hear each other.
Letting them play in the same vicinity out of the cage is therefore a definite thing to avoid even if the hamster is running around in a hamster ball.
They may be able to share similar food but that is where the sharing ends unfortunately.