Hamsters are friendly and docile creatures. They will squeak and talk among themselves happily when living with cagemates.
You will also see them sleeping together and eating together. Sometimes, however, you may notice that they are acting violently towards one another.
They could be chasing each other around, pinning each other down, biting one another, or squealing and squeaking loudly.
This can be worrisome and frustrating to watch. If you have seen your hamsters fighting and want to know the reason behind their fights, keep reading to find out.
Why do hamsters fight?
Hamsters will usually fight because they are territorial. Syrian hamsters are more prone to fighting as they are solitary animals who like living alone in their own space. Dwarf hamsters are more friendly towards one another but they can fight at times too. Fights are brought about by the kind of breed you are having, the nature of the hamsters, living in a small cage, stress, or if you just introduced a new hamster to the cage.
What leads to hamster fights
Hamsters are generally social animals and their fighting could be brought about by:
- Type of breed – Syrian hamster breeds are very territorial and they will fight a lot while dwarf hamster breeds usually live peacefully with each other.
- Nature of the hamsters – some hamsters may have personalities that are simply incompatible and be unable to relate well with each other.
- Small cage – a small cage will mean that they have a small space to roam and this will make them stressed and more likely to fight over their space.
- Show of dominance – a dominant hamster will engage their cagemate to show their dominance to them.
How to prevent hamster fights
As the owner, you will be responsible for ensuring your pet’s safety by preventing fights that could cause harm and injury to them. Some of the things you could do are:
Keep Syrian Hamsters Separately
Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and they should always be kept alone. Their territorial nature begins to show as they get to around 6-8 weeks of age which is the time you should put them separately.
Leaving them together will lead to serious constant fights as they mark their territories. So avoid that in advance.
Provide a large cage
Hamsters will need a big cage to exercise. Each hamster will also want their own space.
A small cage will make them feel cramped up and lead to fights among them so ensure that their cage is large enough to accommodate them.
Have a hiding place
Create a hiding place for your pets in case they are fighting and one wants to hide from the other. Make an escape route that they can easily pass through to safety.
Have separate accessories and toys
Due to their territorial nature, hamsters will want to use their own food bowls, water bottles, and toys instead of sharing. They could begin fighting over the items with each thinking they are supposed to be theirs.
To avoid these fights, offer each pet their own separate item to use.
How to know if a fight is not serious?
Sometimes your pets could seem to be fighting but in actuality they are only play fighting. This is never that serious and they usually do it as a sign of trying to establish dominance.
They could chase each other around while squeaking. One will pin the other down and may begin grooming them to show dominance.
Sometimes one hamster can start a fight by raising on their hind legs and trying to bite the underbelly of the other. They may lunge at each other and roll on the floor with each trying to outdo the other.
If one surrenders, they will lie on their backs and freeze. This marks the end of the fight.
These fights are usually brought about by misunderstandings in the cage and they are normal. Even humans living together will have occasional squabbles so you shouldn’t become worried.
To know that it’s not that serious, your pets will still act friendly towards one another. They will eat, groom, and sleep together.
Signs of serious fights in hamsters
To know that the fights are serious and not just some play, you can watch out for the following signs:
- Injuries in your pet – one may have bite marks on their body.
- Biting aggressively – they will bite each other more brutally.
- Loud squeaking – squeaking will also be louder and high pitched.
- One keeps running to hide – the hamster that is usually attacked will exhibit signs of fear like always running to hide from the dominant one.
- Not friendly – they will not act friendly towards one another and you will not spot them cuddling or sleeping together.
What to do if your hamsters keep fighting?
Some hamsters will just not be suited for each other. They will lack compatibility making them always fight even over nothing.
This is dangerous as it could lead to serious injuries in your pet. Their fighting can also be fatal so you have to do something about it when you notice it happening often.
You should separate your pets during fights and bring them back together when they have calmed down. Be careful while taking them apart to avoid getting injured by bites or scratches in the process.
Spritz some water on them to confuse them, then use gloves to pick one up. You can bring the separated hamster back later on.
If they won’t stop though, separate them permanently. Put them in different cages to stop the fights altogether.
Hamster fights will be brought about by factors like their type of breed, the size of their cage, and shows of dominance. You can prevent the fights by providing them with a larger cage, keeping Syrian breeds separately, and providing each pet with their own accessories.
Sometimes not all fights will be serious fights as they could just be play fighting and that’s normal. If your pets will not stop fighting, however, you should permanently separate them to avoid injuries and fatalities that could arise.
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