Rabbits and hamsters, they are both cute and furry as well as being exceptionally popular as pets, but do they get along?
Well, that’s the question we are not only going to ask in this post but also resolve. After all, there’s every chance you have both and wonder if they will play together or just add to this level of being super cute. So, are they friends? Or is there some type of animal competition or hatred between the two that we humans are not too aware of?
Rabbits and hamsters do not get along. In fact, putting a hamster and rabbit together is a bad idea. The size difference between the two is an issue, and both are territorial animals. Both species may show signs of aggression when placed in proximity.
But why is this the case? Let’s explore the reasons.
The Size Difference is a Problem
First, there’s the size difference. Even the smallest rabbit will tower over the biggest hamster, and that’s not a good thing. In fact, it can lead to accidents occurring, some of which could be deadly.
Your rabbit can easily squash your hamster while it hops around. Your hamster will have no problem in finding its way under the foot of your rabbit or be in the wrong position as your rabbit flops down to rest.
Keep in mind your rabbit has powerful hind legs. If your rabbit binkies, then your hamster could be in trouble as they are rather fragile. Well, at least compared to the stronger build of your rabbit.
We aren’t saying that this would be something that your rabbit would do on purpose, but it’s just worth keeping in mind that a cumbersome rabbit could lead to disaster for your small, diminutive hamster.
Playing is a Problem
Sticking with this potential problem surrounding their size for a second, we must look at them playing. Both the rabbit and hamster have their own way of playing, and they can both be energetic in their own right.
Now, you could put both together for some time, but the rabbit may not understand its sheer size. It could become quite excited and will want to play rough.
A rabbit playing rough is fine with another rabbit, but not with a hamster. Keep in mind that some rabbits love to play by throwing things around. A hamster is light enough to end up being tossed around like a rag doll, and that’s not going to end well.
Neither are As Gentle As You Think
The next point is something that’s surprising for those individuals with limited experience of dealing with hamsters or rabbits.
You see, those cute animals with all that fur are not as gentle as everyone expects them to be. They may look all gentle and fun, but either animal can have a bit of a mean streak.
Let’s look at the rabbit for a second.
The rabbit is gentle and docile in our eyes. Sure, they can try to bite you at times, but they mainly bond well with their owners, giving us a great deal of comfort.
But that’s not always the case.
Instead, rabbits can be in a state of distress. They can be fearful and intimidated by their owner. They can hate various noises as it builds their anxiety.
All of this can lead to a rabbit that acts out and basically develops its own form of behavioral issues.
The problem is a hamster can end up being hurt in an accident, or even killed.
But what about the hamster? Surely something as small as a hamster would be gentle?
Well, they are mainly gentle by nature, but they do require a gentle touch from their owner. They can be easily startled leading to them scurrying around. They may nip or bite primarily through being scared.
While it’s very easy to effectively tame a hamster, it’s more to do with their reaction to situations, noises, or events that’s the problem. At those times, that gentle furball may not act as cute as you think. [Source]
The Problem of Territorial Behavior
So, this is where we have the main reason why a hamster and rabbit do not get along, and it’s all to do with their natural territorial instincts.
Both the rabbit and hamster will be quite content to sleep most of the day away, but they will both keep a close eye on who else is in the space they call their own. So, what do you think will happen if you place two territorial animals together in the one space?
The answer is, of course, you have the potential for a confrontation.
But let’s look at this issue of territorial behavior more closely.
The Hamster and its Territory
The hamster sees his cage as his own. He will check out what’s happening in his space several times a day, and he’s not going to be happy about any visitors.
Think of this for a second.
You are not advised to keep an adult hamster in the same cage with another adult hamster. If you do, then don’t be surprised if there’s some kind of fight to the death as both battle to take control of the space. (A little tip – if you do want to have more than one hamster, then go for the dwarf hamster as it’s about the only breed that will cope with another hamster)
A hamster will see everything in its cage as belonging to them. They may not even be too happy at the idea of letting you touch anything in their cage as you are entering their space.
Also, your hamster will go around leaving its scent to mark its territory. If anything else dares to venture inside those boundaries, then your hamster will seek to dominate or bully. Yes, even something as large by comparison as a rabbit will become a target in the eye of your hamster.
The Rabbit and its Territory
The rabbit acts in the same way as the hamster when it comes to being territorial. They will see their space as belonging to them, and that also applies to everything else that is contained within it.
People see rabbits as living in groups, but that’s not a fair reflection on what’s going on. They do have a hierarchy in place, [Source] but even within that is the issue of them being territorial. From the perspective of your pet, they will have firm ownership over anything you have ever introduced to them.
A rabbit will also mark out its territory by either spraying it with its pee or with its droppings. As with the hamster, they will not take kindly to any other animal crossing their boundaries.
Two Territorial Animals Together
So, what do you think will happen should you put two territorial animals together? Chances are that the outcome is not going to be too good.
Of course, there’s always a slight chance your hamster and rabbit would get along well with one another, but that’s a long shot. Instead, odds are that both would see one another as being enemies in their territory. That’s not going to work out well on most occasions.
You see, rabbits may allow other rabbits into their space, but that is very limited. They will never allow a hamster in its space, but the same applies to the hamster.
This will only lead to both displaying signs of aggression. But what are those signs?
Rabbit and Hamster Aggression
One important point to make straight away is that rabbits and hamsters will not think twice about showing some form of aggression when they feel threatened in this way. Both rabbits and hamsters have the potential to seek to attack one another, and that’s going to likely end up in some animal getting hurt.
Now, you may wonder how a hamster could hurt something as large, by comparison, like a rabbit. We can assure you it does happen.
The problem is your hamster could easily bite your rabbit. The bite may appear insignificant even to the point of you not noticing it, but that doesn’t mean the bite is harmless.
Instead, not noticing your rabbit has been bitten does open up the possibility of that bite becoming infected and your rabbit falling ill. You may even wonder what’s going on and don’t understand why your rabbit is suddenly suffering and their health has taken a dip.
But what about aggression in the opposite direction?
Well, your rabbit could nip the hamster, but a nip to a hamster is a huge deal. Also, there’s the issue of boxing. While rabbits do this with each other, it’s the movement and energy that causes the problem.
It’s easy to see how your rabbit could kill your hamster by biting, kicking, landing on it or, like we said earlier, by throwing it.
Different Animals Want Different Things
When you think about what could potentially happen, it all sounds like a bit of a disaster. The problem is often that different animals want different things.
Think about your rabbit and what they generally want. They love cuddles and affection. They want to own their area and take control of their space. They want groomed and to be at the heart of everything that’s going on.
What they don’t want is to feel like they are second best. When they feel that, they can become aggressive and demanding.
But think of your hamster in this situation.
Your hamster also wants to be the main focus. They want to be the big shot in all of this, so they will hate the idea of being some kind of subordinate in the relationship. Basically, they will want to dominate the rabbit and the space, but that’s not likely to happen.
When your hamster feels second best, they will bite or even become stressed out. It’s not going to be good for their health, and that’s before we think of the potential dangers they could encounter if put in beside your rabbit.
So, while your hamster may not want the same level of affection or devotion, they do still want at least some of the same things as your rabbit. Unfortunately, when you have two animals wanting the same thing, then trouble is just around the corner.
Is There Any Chance of Them Getting Along?
Finally, is there any chance of your rabbit or hamster getting along? Well, there could be the exception to the rule whereby they get on fine with one another, but the chances are slim.
You may very well have a mellow rabbit that doesn’t effectively ‘buy in’ to this whole territorial thing, and the same applies to the hamster.
But how likely is that?
Of course, we see dogs and cats getting along as well as other mixes of animals that should be mortal enemies, so why not with these two?
Basically, while we know it could happen, you can never work through the size difference and the problems that come with that. No matter how docile or happy your rabbit and hamster may be with one another, your rabbit could easily harm your hamster even if it is completely by accident.
Now, we know you will love both pets equally, so perhaps it’s best to just keep them apart and allow them to live their own lives away from one another? At least then it lets you enjoy both individually.