Hamsters may be adorable and affectionate, but they can get aggressive and even bite their handlers.
Each hamster has its unique personality, however, which also depends on the kind of hamster you have.
Syrian hamsters, for example, are not sociable, while dwarf hamsters seem to tolerate each other.
5 Tips to Reduce Pet Hamsters’ Aggressive Behavior
Before putting multiple hamsters together, there are few things to consider to avoid or reduce aggression:
– Don’t Keep Males Together
Male hamsters are territorial, and it is a bad idea to keep them in one cage. Hamster fights are not unheard of, and they can seem like wrestling matches if you observe them carefully.
The dominant male will try to bite the underbelly of his cage-mate, and the two of them will roll around the cage, trying to get the upper hand.
The submissive male may surrender by lying frozen on its back, but the wrestling can continue if none of the hamsters wants to give up.
Hamster wrestling may look playful, but it can lead to grave injuries. The subordinate hamster will run and hide, but the dominant one can chase after him and cause more harm.
This is why it is advisable to decorate a hamster cage with a lot of hiding spaces if you want to keep several of them.
This does not mean that females hamsters are not aggressive as well. Syrian hamsters can sometimes be more hostile than males, especially during the mating period.
Whichever sex you get, it is better to keep hamsters singly.
– Don’t Overcrowd Your Hamster Cage
A hamster can quickly become aggressive if they feel confined; a cramped space will also trigger the animal’s wild instinct to establish territory.
A single hamster should be allocated a minimum of 360 square inches of floor space. You should invest in a larger cage if you want to keep several hamsters together.
Furnish the cage with two beds as hamsters do not like sharing sleeping areas.
The enclosure should not have any blocked areas or blind corners to discourage a bullying hamster from trapping their cage-mates.
Any tubes or boxes that you use should have two exits. Since you cannot watch the pets 24/7, you should reduce the chances of them being trapped together.
Hamsters are also sensitive to scents, and the cage should be kept clean at all times. Change the bedding regularly, so that your pets don’t feel the need to establish their territory.
You can partition a cage into separate living quarters if your hamsters are continually fighting. Use plastic or glass partitions as hamsters can attempt to fight each other through wire bars.
– Keep Your Hamsters Busy with Toys
A stimulating environment will keep your hamsters pre-occupied and less prone to fighting. Get two hamster wheels as hamsters do not like sharing their toys.
A hamster wheel is an excellent way for your pet to exercise and keep obesity at bay. Get hamster balls for them to run around an open space.
The cage’s layout should encourage exploration and satisfy the hamsters’ curiosity.
Use ropes and ladders if you have Syrian hamsters so that they can climb and down the different levels in the cage. Include card boxes, plastic houses, tunnels, and tubes to create mazes.
Keep in mind that hamsters are active foragers, and they need deep bedding. You can provide a bowl of fine sand for your pets to roll and dig in.
Supply the hamsters with chew toys made from organic and safe materials like apple-wood.
Provide two of each toy and accessories to keep the peace between your pets.
– Hold Them Correctly in Your Hands
It is vital to show your hamsters equal treatment and affection. You also want your scent on both of your pets, since hamsters do not like strange smells.
To reduce your chances of being bitten, do not come up to the cage suddenly, and frighten them.
Put your hands in the enclosure for the pets to smell and climb. Your hands should be thoroughly washed beforehand to avoid exposing the animals to germs.
You can use their favorite treats to lure them to you. Always use both hands when handling your hamster, and ensure you support their bottom.
– Introduce a New Hamster Gradually
If you come home with an additional hamster, you need to give them some time to acclimatize to the new environment. Leave them alone for several days to get over the anxiety caused by the change.
Inquire about the hamster species and gender in the pet store. Syrian hamsters and Chinese dwarf hamsters are solitary, while dwarf hamsters can live in groups.
You can never be sure that your hamsters will get along, and it is better to first place them in separate cages side to side.
Hamsters get familiar with one another through scent, which is why you will see them smelling each other up through the cages. Leave them to interact while watching out for signs of aggression.
If they appear to tolerate one another, try moving them to a bigger cage. Clean the enclosure thoroughly to eliminate any unfamiliar scents. Layer the cage with fresh bedding and provide two sets of hamster toys.
Watch the hamsters closely once you add them to the new house. You should only leave them when you are confident that they are getting along.
Can Hamsters Bite You?
Yes, hamsters can bite humans, and it can be very painful. A hamster will bite when they feel nervous or afraid, especially when you first bring them home.
The pet can also bite you if they detect foreign smells, and you should wash your hands before handling them.
You should never scoop a hamster suddenly. Put your hands in the enclosure and let them come to you.
If your pet bites you, do not yell or handle them roughly, as they can perceive you as a threat and bite you in the future.
How to Stop Pet Hamsters from Fighting?
Separate male hamsters if you find them fighting. If they keep wrestling with each other, it may be best to move them in separate cages.
Can Pet Hamsters Kill Each Other?
Yes, hamsters can kill each other during intense fighting. Male hamsters will bite and injure each other, and it can lead to severe damage.
Hamsters are favorite pets because they are low-maintenance, but these cuddly animals are capable of aggression. Do not keep males together as they may fight over territory.
To minimize aggression and rage, invest in a large cage, and furnish it with hiding places and toys.