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We're interested in keeping a hamster in the house, and I know my wife is fond of small reptiles.

Is it possible to keep a tortoise and a hamster in the same enclosure?

I'm thinking this is possible. The tortoise shouldn't try to eat the hamster, and the hamster probably couldn't hurt the tortoise even if it wanted to. Both prefer dry and warm habitats. If you set up the cage right, the tortoise could have some high ground to bask in while the hamster could have some burrowing space.

But this is all conjecture. Experience or sources would be welcome!

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In short, no. Tortoises and hamsters have different needs for their habitats.

While some hamsters might live in the desert in the wild, any hamster you buy in the store will have been bred inside for so long that, among other things, they've evolved to live at a normal room temperature (60-75 °F / 16-24 °C).

Meanwhile tortoises simply haven't evolved. While they make perfectly good pets, and can enjoy human interaction, they still require the same habitat as they would live in the wild. This includes temperatures of 78-82 °F (26-28 °C) on the cool side, and about 90 °F (32 °C) in their basking area.

Most importantly, rodents chew on everything. They can't really be blamed for it, it's driven into their brains. But to a hamster, a tortoise's shell is just another thing to chew on. Plus the shells contain calcium, which no doubt will encourage the behaviour.

This thread was posted after someone's pet rat escaped from it's cage and found their tortoise, chewing it's legs to the bone. I'd like to say that's the first time I've heard of that happening, but unfortunately not. Rodents and reptiles are something that simply shouldn't be mixed.

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No way! I have a very bad childhood memory of when I left two small turtles with two hamsters in their cage. The next morning I woke up and saw the turtles on their back; when I flipped them over, I realized the hamsters had chewed to their brains and eaten them out. No, please tell your kids to not mix those two creatures together. It’s in the nature of a hamster as a rodent to hunt, while turtles are herbivores.

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My answer is yes, because I put my hamster in my tortoises cage and they got along fine. In fact they love each other.

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  • How long have you been housing them together? How have you addressed the problems that Matt outlines in his answer? – James Jenkins Jan 24 '15 at 11:46

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