What Pet Rodents Can Live Together?

Rodents can be a small and manageable pet if you are well-versed in how to provide them with the best home environment. One important consideration is where they should live and if they can have a buddy or two in the same enclosure. Some rodents will live together more easily than others, which is important to note for their safety and well-being.

Similar species of rodents can typically live together, with attention paid to their sex. In many situations, females can be kept together, while certain male species become aggressive and territorial. Certain species should also be caged alone. Different species of rodents should, as a general rule, be kept separate as they have different forms of communication and living habits.   

We will go into detail about which rodent species are capable of living together, both within species and among different animals. This will consider the behaviors of each sex and how to group them to create the best environment for your animals. Grouping rodents together can have important implications on their health, especially through psychological outcomes.

Different Types of Rodents and Ideal Living Conditions

There are over 1,500 species in the rodent family, which is a bit overwhelming if we were to compare them all. We will focus on the most common rodent species that are kept as pets so you can provide your pets with the best living conditions.  

Various Rodents

The most common types of pet rodents are:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Gerbils
  • Chinchillas
  • Ferrets
  • Hedgehogs
  • Sugar glider
  • Rabbits (not rodents, but similar living situations)

Within each species, there are different breeds and varieties that people often bring into their homes as pets. Behaviors and living conditions are somewhat similar across these different breeds unless stated otherwise.

While not rodents, I have also included information about rabbits because they are another “pocket pet” that is often lumped into the same category.

The natural behaviors and instincts of different rodent species typically dictate what their best living conditions will look like in captivity. Trying to best replicate these conditions will allow them to live most comfortably and safely.

A note about gender: rodents are quick to reproduce; if you do group them with mixed-sex, ensure the males are neutered, or the females are sterile.

Can Rats Live Together?

When bringing rats into your home, it is often recommended that they live in pairs or more. When a rat lives by themselves, it can be stress-inducing as they typically live in groups in the wild. They are very social animals and experience a higher quality of life when they are among other rats.

Rats cuddling

The reason pairs of rats are recommended is that it may be overwhelming for a person or family to take care of multiple animals. If you can accommodate more than 2 rats, they will live quite well together.

Groups of rats form their own social network and work together to carry out daily tasks, including playing, grooming, communicating, and sleeping.

Introducing Rats to Each Other

If you are planning on keeping multiple rats, below are some tips on how to have rats live together:

  • Start young: The best way to ensure that your rats will get along is to introduce them at a young age. Rats are territorial, and they may not be keen on living with a strange new rat.
  • Keep genders separate: Males can live together, and females can live together, making living arrangements simple. As long as male rats are neutered, they can also live with females, but separating genders is typically best. Even when neutered, male rats tend to get along with other males better than being integrated with females.
  • Neuter male rats: Aggressive behavior between rats is more likely to occur between males, especially if they have not been neutered. This procedure is recommended and can be easily done to reduce aggression.

Can Mice Live Together?

Similar to rats, mice can get lonely and are kept well in pairs or groups. Unlike rats, male mice do not typically co-exist peacefully. There are plenty of situations where they will get along, but due to their aggressive and territorial nature, it is safer if they are kept separate.

Mice together in an enclosure

You should pair male mice (neutered) with a female, and females can peacefully live together.

Because mice have short life spans, it is fairly uncommon for mice to be neutered. If you do pair males with females, do not be surprised if they have babies. For the safest outcomes, stick with female mice!

Introducing Mice to Each Other

If you do choose to have 2 mice live together, consider these tips for introduction:

  • Buy mice together: Getting the mice at the same time, which makes it likely they’ll be from the same litter and same age, will allow for the best results when living together.
  • Introduce similar ages: It can be dangerous to introduce males to each other when some are young and small, and others are mature. The young one may try to fight for dominance as it gets older, and this can be bloody. Either introduce all young mice or all adults, especially for males.
  • Introduce them outside of a cage: You don’t want to introduce them to an area that is already home to a specific mouse. Put them all in a neutral territory where they can meet and get to know each other without territorial worries. 
  • Patience: It may take multiple times to fully introduce your mice to one another. Keep them in separate cages until they are comfortable with each other. It is also normal for little tussles to occur every so often. As long as these are not long-lasting and no blood is drawn, they will be okay. Be sure to keep an eye on them to track these behaviors. 

To avoid loneliness for a mouse and the potential psychological harm associated with living alone, keeping them in pairs or groups will help to ensure a higher quality of life.

Can Guinea Pigs Live Together?

Guinea pigs are so cuddly and soft; why wouldn’t you want more than one? These furry little guys are best kept in pairs or groups as they are social animals.

Guinea Pigs

It is essential to ensure they are of the same sex or neutered; or otherwise, you’ll end up with more guinea pigs than you expected.

In your groups and pairs of guinea pigs, there should not be more than one male (Source: Blue Cross). Male guinea pigs are also territorial, and there may be a competition for resources.

The best pairings of guinea pigs are females together or a neutered male and female.

To avoid any confusion, contact your veterinarian to confirm the sex of your guinea pigs. If you do introduce a neutered male to a female or group of females, make sure that 4-6 weeks have passed. This will ensure that the surgery was successful, and the male can no longer aid in reproduction.

Introducing Guinea Pigs to Each Other

The best ways to introduce guinea pigs include the following actions:

  • Scent swapping: Combining their bedding and different items so both can get used to each other’s scent before the formal introduction. They can also play with each other’s toys and in their areas to make the cohabitation more successful. 
  • Create cage barriers: If it is possible to separate them within the same area so they can begin to communicate, this can make the introduction and living situation easier (Source: PDSA).
  • Introduce them in neutral territory: You’ll want to have the guinea pigs meet somewhere that neither has a claim over. This could be a different room or anywhere you can easily keep track of them. 
  • Offer distractions: When they are introduced, provide areas where they can hide for safety or food that will help to distract them if needed.

Can Hamsters Live Together?

Unlike many rodent species, hamsters do not often live well together. The species of rodent largely dictates if they will be suitable in the same enclosure.

Hamster in Wheel

There are 2 types of hamsters that are commonly seen as pets:

  • Syrian, or golden hamsters, are solitary creatures and do not live well together as adults.
  • Dwarf hamsters live well together and actually prefer a partner.

Syrian Hamsters

Syrian hamsters should not live with other males or females. This can result in fighting and even death in more severe cases. They are aggressive animals that should be housed individually as they get stressed with other hamsters present. If you do not want to commit to owning more than one animal, a hamster may be the best choice for you.

Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf hamsters can be paired with males or females but need to have ample space within their cage. We recommend pairing the same-sex groups together to avoid unwanted babies. They can be paired together or kept in small groups within their own species. The four species are Campbell’s, Winter White, Roborovski, and Chinese (Source: Dwarf Hamster Guide).

Introducing Dwarf Hamsters to Other Rodents

Similar rules apply for introducing dwarf hamsters as other rodents:

  • Introduce at a young age: Ideally, you have hamsters from the same litter who are already familiar with each other. If this isn’t possible, try to introduce them before they are two months old.
  • Separate food and resources: To avoid fighting, give each hamster their own food area and water bottle. This gives more options for eating if one is stubborn.
  • Monitor behaviors: Even hamsters that get along may start to fight over time. If you notice this behavior consistently, you will need to house them separately.

Can Gerbils Live Together?

Gerbils are very social creatures, and it is recommended that they live in groups of two or more (Source: ASPCA). For best pairings, house siblings together from the same litter. These gerbils are already familiar with one another and will not fight when living in the same cage. Just make sure they have their own space and take into account their adult sizing.

Pair of gerbils munching away

To prevent breeding, you should keep gerbils of the same sex together. Mixing will inevitably result in baby gerbils, which you may not be able to accommodate. Mixed pairs may also not get along with varying personalities. Unlike the rodents we have mentioned so far, male gerbils live together much more easily than female gerbils.

As females get older, they are more likely to become aggressive and get in fights. Male gerbils rarely have issues living with other males, both young and mature. Mature females do not pair well with young ones, so make sure they are the same age. Pairing all gerbils with others the same age is usually the best way to ensure they will co-exist peacefully.

Introducing Gerbils to Each Other

If you’re considering having 2 or more gerbils, keep the below tips in mind:

  • Size of the enclosure: Gerbils typically grow to anywhere between 6 to 12 inches (15 and 30 cm) long, including their tail. If you are planning to house 2 or more gerbils in the same enclosure, ensure that each gerbil has enough space to move around.
  • Start with divided enclosures: This is so they can get a feel for each other without any risk. As time passes and if there are no issues, you can start to switch the location of the gerbils to share and mingle their scents. Do this for at least a week before introducing them to each other in a neutral area and placing them in the same cage.

Can Chinchillas Live Together?

It is possible for chinchillas to live together but is not always recommended, like other rodent species. Chinchillas may get along with a partner at first but can become hostile towards each other over time. Watching how your chinchillas interact will be an important factor in determining if they will get along. If not, this can lead to biting and injuries.


Chinchillas are social animals and, in many cases, get along with a partner. This will give them a buddy to hang out with when you aren’t home or sleeping. Males can live with other males but can be territorial and should have larger living conditions. Female chinchillas will typically get along really well. Do not mix sexes unless males are neutered, or you want babies (Source: Chinchilla Care Group).

Introducing Chinchillas to Each Other

If you are considering having 2 chinchillas together, these actions will lead to the best results:

  • Big cages: Chinchillas like to run around and jump, which means they will need plenty of space. Many chinchilla cages come with multiple levels, which will give them their own space to retreat to after playing and interacting. The minimum size for 1 chinchilla should be 24-36″ x 18-24″ x 24″ and doubled for 2 (Source: Long Island Bird and Exotics Veterinary).
  • Introduce slowly: It will likely take time for your chinchillas to bond properly. Creating separation between the two and allowing them to see each other will allow them to become familiar. After they have spent time recognizing each other for a few weeks, you can introduce them without barriers.
  • Neutral territory: Make sure these introductions are in a neutral area. Allow the chinchillas to play to make them comfortable in a stress-free environment. Continue this playing for a few weeks, and then they can enter the same cage. This is a slow process but will lead to the best long-term results.

If you notice the chinchillas barking or making noises at one another, this may be a sign to slow the introductions down. Monitor the behaviors of your chinchillas throughout this process and note any potential aggression, signaling they are not ready to live together.

Can Ferrets Live Together?

Ferrets can live together and are most commonly kept in same-sex pairs. If males and females are paired, they should be neutered. If the ferrets are living in groups larger than two, these can also be mixed sexes.

Pair of ferrets in lap

There are few problems between the different sex combinations, but ferrets can be picky about their particular companion. Monitoring the pair is necessary for fit.

To make sure that the ferrets will create a strong pair, you should do the following:

  • Ample cage space: Similar to chinchillas, ferrets will need room to explore and play. The best cages are multiple levels and have separate sleeping areas. 24″ x 24″ x 18″ is the preferred minimum cage size for a ferret (Source: PETA). This size will need to be doubled, ideally even larger, for two ferrets.
  • Neutral territory: Before entering the same cage, allow them to sniff each other but not touch in the same area. If they reach towards each other, they can interact, but if one recoils, it is not the right time for an introduction (Source: Ferret Central). Ferrets can be aggressive in fighting for dominance, making introductions a careful process.
  • Bathe the ferrets: This will take away their smell and allow them to smell the same, which can help to eliminate additional differences between them.
  • Close monitoring: You will want to watch the ferrets interact for the first couple of weeks to see if they will be a good fit. 

With any of these interactions, it is best to expect the worst and take actions accordingly to keep your ferrets safe and encourage success in their interactions. Ferrets are active animals that will bond really well with another ferret if they find the right match.

Can Hedgehogs Live Together?

Similar to Syrian hamsters, hedgehogs are solitary creatures and live best on their own. In the wild, hedgehogs do not live or bond with other hedgehogs.

Smiling Hedgehog

Our recommendation is for hedgehogs to not live together. This is the safest way for them to live in captivity and will not cause any detrimental impacts on their well-being.

  • Baby hedgehogs are kept together for development but then separated before two months pass.
  • If hedgehogs are paired, these should be all-female groupings.
  • Male hedgehogs will likely fight for dominance, and this can end badly. Females can also fight, but these situations are less common.
  • If you do introduce hedgehogs, this should be done slowly and very carefully.

Some Female Hedgehogs Do Well With Others In Captivity

In captivity, it has been found that some female hedgehogs actually prefer the company of others. This can be in the form of females being brought together or mother and daughter pairs. Females can cohabitate successfully but will need to be monitored in the event that this relationship is not successful.

The rates of success for females living together is increased if they were raised together compared to being introduced earlier in life. If you do choose to pair your hedgehogs, make sure they have plenty of room and their own areas for living, sleeping, and food.

Can Sugar Gliders Live Together?

You may have never heard of a sugar glider, but they are a possum-like animal that people keep as pets. As they are a colony animal in the wild, they do the best living with a partner or two (Source: Exotic Nutrition).

Pair of sugar gliders

They will be much happier animals if they can form a bond with another sugar glider. Because they are nocturnal, having a friend is necessary.

Pair Sugar Gliders by Gender

It is recommended to keep the number of females higher than the males if you plan to mix the two. Males may become dominant, especially during the mating season, if they outnumber the females. They can also be paired in same-sex couples or groups, and coexist without fighting.

Other Tips for Pairing Sugar Glides

Similar to the other species, you should introduce them slowly and cautiously for the best relationship.

  • Introduce at a young age: It is ideal to have them together from a younger age and ideally from the same litter, if possible.
  • Always keep an eye on interactions: Monitor all of these interactions closely to ensure that they will be calm, especially when adults are introduced to babies.
  • Looking for a new sugar glider?: When looking for a new glider, try to make sure it around the same size and age.
  • Introduce in the day time: Introductions are most successful when they are calm, which is during the day time.
  • Neutral territory: Use the neutral territory for these meetings.

Can Rabbits Live Together?

While rabbits are not rodents, it is important to understand how they live together and with other rodents more specifically. We’ll cover that in the next section.

Brown rabbit being held

Rabbits are commonly coupled with these other breeds because they are small, caged animals. They live really well with other rabbits but can be particular about the partner they live with.

Similar to other rodents, they should be introduced gradually with small and distant interactions before the complete cohabitation occurs (Source: Companion Animals).

Rabbits in the same litter will live together with more success than those introduced later in life. Neutered males and females are the best combination to live together (Source: Blue Cross).

Neuter Your Rabbits

Rabbits that are not neutered (both male and female) will often have more apparent mood swings that can result in aggressive behavior toward their cage mates. Getting your rabbits fixed will not only prevent pregnancy but will regulate their hormones and keep them calmer. Same-sex pairings can lead to more aggression and potential fighting.

Can Different Types of Rodents Live Together?

If you have different types of rodents, you may be curious if they can live together. That answer will largely depend on the 2 species you have.

You should always keep different species separate because they use their own communication styles, have their unique behaviors and habits, and many species can be aggressive with unknown cohabitators.

The biggest reason that rabbits were included in this article is that they do not get along with guinea pigs. Owners often want to group these cute animals, but it is not a good idea. Rabbits tend to bully guinea pigs and could injure them both physically and psychologically. Rats will also potentially kill and eat mice. 

Why Most Rodents Should Not Live Alone

While hamsters and hedgehogs are solitary rodents, most of them live in colonies or groups in the wild. Replicating these environments will help them to lead fulfilled lives in captivity.

For many species of rodents, living by themselves can be detrimental to their health. This is particularly true for rats, mice, and really social species.

Rodents Need Socialization for Their Healthiest Life

While pet owners can interact with them frequently, there are many hours throughout the day that they are left alone, including time at work, school, or while sleeping. During these hours, the rodent may feel lonely and isolated, leading to psychological effects, such as stress, anxiety, and depression (Source: Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience).

This is particularly apparent in mice, which have been studied extensively. The absence of social interactions and isolation impacted serotonin levels and led to physiological stressors. Depression and anxiety can manifest differently in rodents, but changes in appetite and behavior can be rooted in their solo living situation. 

Finding the right pair for your rodent can help to improve the quality of their life and have positive impacts on their physical and mental health.

While many don’t think about depression in these little guys, giving them the best living environment should be a goal for every pet owner. Allowing certain species to cohabitate (and making sure others don’t) will achieve this.

Allowing Rodents to Live Together

As you can see, rodent care and living arrangements are very specific to the species. When you are considering bringing your rodents together, you will need to make sure that you have considered all the possible outcomes of this cohabitation. Even if it would make your life easier for bringing them together, this may not be in their best interest.

Similarly, only having one rat or mouse can be okay, but you could drastically improve their life by pairing them up with a friend. When you acquire your rodent, make sure you take all the necessary steps to provide them with the best home. If that means keeping them together, look at the sex combinations for the most peaceful environment.

Lee Cameron

When I was younger, I had guinea pigs and hamsters as pets. There was limited information back then as to how to take care of rodents, and indeed information on the various types of rodents that could be kept as pets. In this website, I hope to make it an easy, one-stop information portal on raising rodents!

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