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Gerbils & Hamsters/Lone Dwarf Hamster


Hello Sheila, I adopted a female Campbell's dwarf about 3 weeks ago from the shelter. She had been brought in with the male & babies. They were all adopted but the mother had been alone for a couple of months before I took her in.

She lives in a 24" x 12" cage with a 9" solid wheel, etc. I let her loose in one of our bunny rooms too for an hour each night (we have a bunny/guinea pig sanctuary).

Anyway, I realize these types of hamsters should stay together (same sex) if brought up together. I've read it's not good for a dwarf to live alone. Now I feel so bad for her but if I introduced a new one would she kill her? What about a weaned baby?


Hi Paula

Thanks for your question - sorry for the delay in responding.

It is very difficult introducing dwarf hamsters.  The only real way is to introduce her to a male, but then of course you end up with babies.  In the wild they do live in colonies and it is a nice idea to keep them in groups in captivity, however, this doesn't always work.

Trying to introduce her now to another hamster might create more problems and stress.  Even if you do this carefully and they seem to be OK, there is no guarantee that they will always become friends and you could find yourself with two separate cages in the end.

I have kept many dwarf hamsters on their own - they either arrived at the rescue like this or had to be separated due to fighting.  I have found them to be fine on their own - I just tend to make more of a fuss of them and get them out for handling perhaps more often that I would do if they had company.  

I suggest you make sure she has plenty to do in her cage - dwarf hamsters love having dust baths (you can buy the special chinchilla dust in pet shops), they also love running through tubes so the more bits and pieces you can put in her cage the better.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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