One of the things that you need to consider when caring for a hamster or a rat is providing an appropriate cage. Both of these rodents are quite active and will require some activity and enough space, so you should consider that when choosing a rat and a hamster cages.
Can You House Rodents of Different Species Together?
In general, if you know (you can always ask the pet store or the previous owner of the rodent) that your rat can live with others from the same species, then most probably could live well with other rodents of a different species. If not, then fights would be a common concern. In most cases, housing different rodents from different species is not advisable for a couple of reasons. First, males are mostly territorial. If you put them together, especially if they come from different families or species, there would certainly be conflicts between these species or families. Second, there is the issue over food. There are certain species of rodents that require a different amount of food as well as a different kind of food. In addition to that, there are certain foods that may be toxic to one family but may be edible for another.
It is best that you house rodents of the same specie and of the same sex (unless you want to breed, of course) in the same cage. You will need to limit the number of those in a single housing, however. Putting so many rodents in one cage may result to overcrowding, stress, and aggression to your pets.
Most hamsters are loners, hence will not get along well with other breeds of hamsters of either gender. They find the presence and scent of other animals in their cage very stressful.
A rat, on the other hand, is highly sociable. They take comfort and stimulation from others around them. That means, it is best that you keep a rat with another rat in the same housing. The most number that you can keep in a cage is three, however.
If you have a hamster and a rat, it is best that you keep them in separate cages and in separate rooms to avoid creating any stressor for both.
Choosing the Best Hamster and Rat Cage
There are a variety of options that are available online, even at your local pet store when it comes to hamster and rat cages. There are different sizes, materials, and design for these cages that come with different tag price. Rats need a bigger space to play and roam around in. A cage with a minimum size of 2.5′ length, by 1.5′ width, and 1.5′ height will be just fine for your pet rat. It is better to have a cage with two or more levels as this will give your pet more rooms to explore.
Of the different options that might be available (plastic, aquarium, wood, and wire cages), wire cages may be considered the healthiest and also most stimulating option for rats. These rodents love to chew, so it will save your pet’s cage from such behavior if you house your pets inside a wire cage. Ventilation won’t be a problem as well, but you have to make sure that the bars are appropriately spaced to make sure that your pets won’t scape or get wounded or hurt trying to get any part of their bodies outside of their cage.
Just make sure that everything in the cage is kept clean. Your pet is good groomers. They will keep grooming themselves throughout the day, but they will still smell if their bedding, food and water bowl, and everything else in their cage is not kept clean. Keeping their cage clean will also keep your pet/s healthy and safe.
Accessories and Toys
Rats and hamsters are very playful pets. You can encourage this natural ability by adding things inside their cage that will allow them to run around, go up and down, and items to sit on and rest while observing the things around them. Add ladders, a box with holes, ropes, hanging platforms, chew blocks (or alternatives), a wheel (for your hamster), and other toys that are easily available in pet stores.
There are more to caring for rats and hamsters, but providing your pets an appropriate housing is a must. Use this guide to make sure that your pet will remain safe and healthy while under your care.