Can hamsters mate with rats? No. Scientifically speaking, although hamsters and rats belong to the same family, they are two different species. On top of that, they don’t even have the same number of chromosomes, which is essential for successful breeding. Moreover, clashes between the personalities of these two rodents also make it impossible for them to mate.
Recently, the trend of keeping rats and hamsters has seen a significant rise. It is because these tiny beings are adorable, and you can take care of them quite easily.
There are three types of rodent owners. The first type includes people that love owning rats only. The second one is the group of hamster-lovers. The third type of group is a little more open and loves both hamsters and rats equally.
The third group usually wonders about having a mixture(crossbreed) of hamsters and rats. Can a hybrid of hamsters and rats exist in reality? Does this question cross your mind as well? Let’s learn the science behind this idea.
Reasons Why Hamsters And Rats Can’t Mate
People who have kept hamsters and rats both can more easily understand why hamsters can’t mate with rats. From behavioral to scientific, there are multiple reasons which increase the odds of hamsters mating with rats.
Following are the reasons which make it impossible for the rats and hamsters to mate with each other naturally:
Although there are some noticeable similarities between hamsters and rats, they are entirely different species. And scientifically, two different species can’t produce healthy offspring.
Hamsters are the opposite of rats in every possible way. Starting with the personality, hamsters, unlike rats, are very territorial animals. They don’t even like the interference of their own species near the place they live.
In addition, the nutritional needs, preferred food, and even diseases of these two animals are considerably different from each other as well.
Hence, it is not naturally possible for the hamsters and rats to mate with each other.
Different Number Of Chromosomes
Biology says: Two animals must have the same number of chromosomes in order to produce healthy offspring.
You will be amazed to learn, even different species of hamsters have different numbers of chromosomes.
For instance, Syrian hamsters have 44 chromosomes, and dwarf hamsters have 28 chromosomes. Therefore, hamsters can’t even mate with hamsters of different types. This eliminates the idea of mating with rats, as they have 42 chromosomes.
The difference between the numbers of chromosomes is one of the biggest reasons hamsters can’t mate with rats.
If you have owned hamsters and rats, you will never agree that these are similar animals. Not only size and physical appearance, but these animals also have entirely different ways of living.
Hence, even if we ignore the first two reasons, there isn’t any possibility of mating between hamsters and rats due to their behavioral differences.
Whether in the wild or their cage, hamsters prefer to live alone. Few types of hamsters can live in same-sex pairs, but that too under certain conditions. These conditions are that the hamsters belong to the same litter and have stayed together since their birth.
The icing on the cake is that hamsters are very territorial beings. They don’t tolerate the presence of other hamsters, let alone the companionship of any other animal.
Hamsters mark their territory and their stuff using their scent glands.
Contrarily, rats are very social animals. They like to live in colonies and are calmer than seemingly calm hamsters. If you keep a hamster and a rat together, it is less likely that rats will attack the hamster first.
But rats are also not very forgiving if the hamster attacks them, which this tiny aggressive creature ultimately will. The consequences of this duel won’t be very nice for the hamster. The bigger and stronger rat than the hamster will not rest till his opponent dies.
Hence, no matter how friendly your rat and hamster seem, please don’t mistake putting them in the same cage.
To understand this whole concept at a deeper level, let’s discuss the differences between the reproduction of rats and hamsters.
Reproduction Of Hamsters
Hamsters are ready for breeding at the age of 2.5 months. Despite this, it is recommended not to breed hamsters before they get 15 weeks old because complications during pregnancy are more common in younger female hamsters than older ones.
Depending upon the type of hamster, a female takes 16 to 22 days to give birth to her babies. Hamsters start showing physical signs of pregnancy when they are near to delivering the babies. You will notice that they have gained weight and started nesting.
There are chances that you might even witness slight bleeding from their vaginal tract during pregnancy.
One thing to note here is that keeping male and female hamsters together before or after breeding is not a good idea. Female hamsters are very aggressive towards male hamsters. They only let them come near when they are ready for mating. Otherwise, male hamsters can be subject to some life-threatening attacks.
Reproduction Of Rats
Rats are much earlier capable of breeding than hamsters. At the young age of 4 weeks, male and female rats can mate. However, by breeding them at such a young age, you can destroy their health. The size of their body and organs is not suitable for pregnancy at such an age.
Therefore, it is recommended to keep male and female rats away from each other till the age of 4 months.
Female hamsters keep their babies in their wombs for around 25 days. This duration is longer than the most prolonged pregnancy duration in the hamsters. Once pregnant, female rats will stop showing signs of the estrus cycle.
Female rats can give birth to 6-12 baby rats at a time. On the flip side, female hamsters give birth to 6-8 hamster babies at a time.
Here are the answers to some related questions:
People often think about the possibility of mating between a mouse and a hamster. It is because there is a negligible difference between their size. If you believe the same, then sorry to break the bubble for you, but this isn’t possible.
Just like rats, mice are also a completely different species than hamsters. Moreover, they also have different numbers of chromosomes, making it impossible for them to mate with hamsters.
Absolutely Not! Hamsters and rats are both different species. Although they belong to the same rodent family, they have contrasting behaviors, nutritional needs, and reproductive cycles.
Apology to hamster-lovers in advance but “Yes” rats are more intelligent than hamsters. It is considerably easy to train rats, and they are more interactive than hamsters.
Mating Between Hamsters And Rats Explained
Hamsters and rats have some similarities because they belong to the same rodent family. Due to these similarities, people wonder if these two similar creatures can mate. The truth is that this is not biologically possible.
Both of these animals are different species and have different numbers of chromosomes. On top of that, their behavioral differences make it even more challenging to produce a hybrid of these species.
In addition, their way of living, the nutrition they need to stay healthy, and intelligence levels are also different. Hence, it is safe to say that a hamster cannot mate with a rat naturally.