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Preliminary investigation into the housing of dwarf hamsters

Hedley, JE; Pettitt, A; Abeyesinghe, SM


JE Hedley

A Pettitt

SM Abeyesinghe


BackgroundAlthough pet hamsters are widely available, the literature on their husbandry and health is limited, and guidelines for the care of hamsters are variable. This study investigated housing in different dwarf hamster species, focusing on factors affecting co-housing failure. MethodsAn online cross-sectional survey shared on social media investigated potential factors influencing co-housing failure of dwarf hamsters in captivity, such as sex, species and resources provided. ResultsThe majority of hamsters had not received veterinary care and were provided with fewer food and water sources than animal numbers, while 12% were kept in enclosures less than 75 cm in length. Co-housing failure was more likely in dwarf hamsters older than 6 months (odds ratio 4.75, p = 0.005, 95% confidence interval = 1.607-14.13). There was no association found between sex or species and co-housing failure. LimitationsThere was likely a degree of selection bias as the owners who completed the questionnaire may have had more knowledge of dwarf hamster husbandry than the general population of owners. ConclusionKey welfare concerns regarding dwarf hamster care in captivity were identified as inadequate enclosure sizes, a high prevalence of co-housing failure arising from aggression, especially in hamsters more than 6 months old, and inadequate resource provision for many pair- or group-housed animals. Further investigation of the welfare impacts of resource provision deficits is required.


Hedley, J., Pettitt, A., & Abeyesinghe, S. (2023). Preliminary investigation into the housing of dwarf hamsters. Veterinary Record,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 29, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Aug 15, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2023
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


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