While hamsters aren’t known as the most social animals, no domesticated animal is completely self-sufficient. In fact, most house pets can’t be left alone for long periods of time. And hamsters are no different! That’s why in this article we’re going to cover the topic of hamster loneliness and what you need to know.
Keep in mind that every hamster is different and what your hamster needs is ultimately specific to them. However, if you generally know how hamsters behave, what they need, and what behaviors exhibit stress, you can get a better idea of what your hamster needs.
So without further ado, let’s jump into the article. As always, we provide a table of contents that helps you jump to any specific section, but if you just want to know if your hamster is lonely, keep on reading.
Is My Hamster Lonely?
Your hamster is not feeling lonely because they are a solitary and individualistic animal that prefers to avoid animals, including other hamsters. Hamsters don’t desire or need social activity and in the wild they prefer not to share the limited resources, such as food and water with other hamsters.
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, hamsters are considered prey in the animal kingdom. They tend to scavenge for their food at night to avoid predators and danger that lurks during the day. That prey mentality tends to feed into other aspects of their life, such as social activity.
As a result, hamsters don’t really get lonely. They’re not out searching for or desiring social activity, and they don’t miss it when it’s not there.
Now, another thing to mention about hamsters and their lack of social activity is how resources, such as food and water, play a role in the wild. Hamsters have historically lived in desert areas, where important resources are scarce. When resources are scarce, you don’t want to share. But if you have a companion, family, or social group, you’re inclined, if not required, to share.
Therefore, in order to survive off limited resources in the wild, hamsters preferred to be left alone and not in a social group. With fewer resources, every little bit mattered, and those small amounts of resources would dwindle fast if a hamster had to share.
As a result, no, your hamster probably isn’t feeling lonely because they are generally not social animals.
How Long Can a Hamster Be Left Alone?
You should leave your hamster alone for no longer than a week, but make sure it has enough food and water to comfortably eat and drink during that time period. Hamsters generally don’t need a lot of social activity, but they do need their vital resources to survive.
As mentioned in the previous section, hamsters aren’t social animals. In fact, they are the opposite. So they generally don’t need a lot of social interaction to remain happy and healthy. That means you can leave them for longer periods of times compared to more social animals, like dogs and bunnies.
However, regardless of how long you leave a hamster alone, you need to make sure that you’re giving the hamster enough food and water to live comfortable, as if you were there. And the hard thing to do when leaving for extended periods of time is giving them even amounts of food spread over the time period, rather than all of the food at once in the beginning.
Typically hamsters are good at rationing their food in the wild for extended periods of time, however when they are domesticated, they get used to receiving their food on a regular basis and they stop rationing. So when you then leave them for a few days or a week, they’ve forgotten to ration and they can run out of food early.
As a result, the ideal scenario is to have someone checking in on your furry friend every couple days while you are gone. It’s just an easier process than having to provide a supply of food and then worrying whether your hamster is rationing their food correctly.
If that’s not possible, then you should always do these three things before leaving your hamster alone:
- Make sure your hamster has enough food and water for the entire period of time you’re gone (and it doesn’t hurt to add a little extra)
- Leave your hamster alone for no longer than a week
- Clean their cage thoroughly before you leave
That will help you provide a loving and functional home for your hamster while you’re away!
Can I Leave My Hamster Alone for 3 Days?
Yes, you should have no problem leaving your hamster alone for 3 days as long as they have enough food and water for those 3 days. Hamster are solitary animals and don’t need attention like other household pets, so leaving them alone for 3 days is not a problem.
As mentioned earlier, the longest you should leave a hamster alone is for about a week. Any longer than that and you’re running the risk of things happening that you may not have expected. Water or food running out, your hamster chewing down a toy or cage to something dangerous, or the cage gets dirty enough that you need to clean it.
But leaving a hamster alone for 3 days generally shouldn’t ever be a problem. You can safely leave enough food and water for 3 days and the cage won’t get dirty enough to require a cleaning before the 3 days is up.
However, something to keep in mind is you don’t want to leave for 3 days, come back for a day, and then leave for another 3 days. Your hamster should be getting out of the cage regularly, getting exercise, and exploring their surroundings in a safe way to keep them happy and excited.
As a result, regular attention and being around is important for your hamster. So while you can leave them alone for a few days, don’t make it a regular habit.
Can You Leave a Hamster Alone for a Week?
Yes, you can leave a hamster alone for a week, but that’s about the longest you should leave them. And when you do, make sure they have enough food and water for the time, and clean out their cage beforehand to give them a nice clean home before you go.
Leaving a hamster alone is essentially trusting them to survive and not do anything stupid or dangerous while you’re gone. Now, you may be thinking that hamsters are alone in the wild for way longer than a week, so if they can survive out there, why can’t they survive in a cage?
Well, the difference is that wild hamsters are self-sufficient and have learned to be that way. Domesticated hamsters, like the one in your home, is not nearly as self-sufficient. They rely on you for food, water, safety, security, engagement, and more. They don’t need or know how to scavenge for food because you feed them every day. And not to mention, they couldn’t even if they wanted to because they’re locked in the cage.
So it’s not so much a matter of whether a hamster has the skillset to be left alone, but rather that they’ve become dependent on you to survive. It’s important that you remember that when taking care of your hamster because if you depended on someone to survive, you probably wouldn’t want them leaving for long stretches of time either.
If you enjoyed reading about hamsters and their behavior when it comes to loneliness and independence, then we’ve collected a few additional articles to continue reading below:
- How long can I leave my hamster alone for a vacation? – Hamster Hideout
- 25 Fun Facts about Hamsters – PetCo
- Why Do Syrian Hamsters Prefer to be Alone? – Small Pet Select
Those articles above all come from reputable websites in the space and can spark additional interest in learning more about your furry friend.
Hamsters are unique animals that we’ve domesticated as pets in that they are generally solitary and don’t need or really want attention or companionship. Most other animals like dogs, cats, or bunnies need companionship either with you or another friend of their type.
But that doesn’t mean that hamsters won’t make great pets. They do, you just need to know more about them. And it helps that they can be left alone for periods of time up to a week. That means you can take easily take weekend vacations and even longer week vacations without having to find a pet sitter.
Hamsters are wonderful pets that are more solitary in nature and as a result, they’re more easy going and low maintenance because of that.