Why do Hamsters Fight? 5 Things You Should Know
Hamsters may seem adorable, but they are capable of fighting with each other. If you are looking to buy several of them, you need to be cautious of their aggressive behavior.
A hamster fight resembles a wrestling match, which can quickly escalate to biting and result in serious injuries. Hamsters usually fight over food or territory due to lack of space. A separation is often the best solution for hamsters that keep fighting.
Some species are also known to be more tolerant than others. Syrian hamsters, for example, are solitary, and they should not be housed in the same enclosure.
Dwarf hamsters can flourish in groups, although their sociability varies from individual to individual.
Common Reasons Why Hamsters Fight
If you care for multiple hamsters, you might want to know what is happening in the cage. So here are the most common reasons why hamster fights:
1. Male Hamsters Will Always Fight
Male hamsters will typically fight for dominance, and this wild instinct helps them to establish territories and mate with the females.
If you have been keeping one male and you introduce another, the older one will interpret the addition as a threat to its territory.
The dominant hamster will chase and fight the other into submission. One of the male hamsters will also get bullied and become withdrawn. In some cases, the dominant male will scratch and bite the other one.
You can differentiate the males by observing their genital region. The anal and genital openings of the males are further apart with a patch of fur in between. The openings on the females are close together.
2. Overcrowded Cage
Hamsters kept in an overcrowded cage will be likely to fight. If you keep the rodents in a cramped cage, tempers will quickly flare and lead to combat.
Hamsters will also get stressed if they don’t have enough space, and those that are being bullied will require hiding spots to retreat, therefore it is necessary to pick a good size hamster cage, or eventually get separate cages for your pets.
3. Not Enough Food
Hamsters commonly fight during meal times, especially if they are not being fed enough. You may observe one of them snatching food from another and the other one squeaking in protest. Feeding them inadequate food over time will incite fights.
Make sure you feed your hamsters food they like to eat, and you feed them enough so they don’t get into fighting.
4. New Pet Hamster
If you bring another hamster home, do not place them directly into the cage with your other pet. Hamsters need time to get used to each other’s scent, and the best strategy is to put them in separate cages close to each other.
You can put one hamster in a small cage, and place it in a bigger one with the other hamster. The idea is to prevent them from doing much more than touching noses as they get used to each other’s presence and smell. You can even exchange a little bit of bedding between the two enclosures.
If the hamsters warm up to each other, invest in a larger cage that will house both of them comfortably. If you handle one hamster, handle the rest so that your scent is on all of them. They can easily reject each other if they detect foreign smells.
5. Hamsters Just Play
Pet owners sometimes find it tasking to determine if their hamsters are actually fighting or just playing. You can also give them toys, so they don’t get bored or don’t pick on each other.
Squabbles are frequent between hamsters, and they are not dangerous for the most part. If you are raising a litter, they will establish roles within the group as they grow up.
Hamster disagreements can be loud and surprising: you will hear squeaks as they chase each other around. They will even have wrestling matches, where one hamster tries to bite the underbelly of another.
One of them will eventually surrender by laying on its back. A fight can, however, break off if no hamster is willing to give up.
You can determine if your hamsters are fighting if they begin behaving differently with each other. Once you see blood or missing fur, the solution will be separation.
Can Hamsters Kill Each Other?
Incompatible hamsters can kill each other when kept in one cage. Keeping a bigger hamster and a smaller one can also end up in the demise of the latter. Pet owners are advised not to house Syrian hamsters together as they can fight to the death.
Hamster mothers can also cannibalize their children if they are stressed or if they give birth to too many pups.
How to Stop Hamsters from Fighting?
An essential factor to account for when keeping multiple hamsters is their need for a vast territory. They demand a lot of floor space to burrow, run around, hide, play, and rest.
Allocate at least 350 square inches for a single hamster.
If you don’t want to buy another cage, consider dividing the existing one with plastic or glass partitions. Cage bars are not enough as they may try and fight each other through them.
A dominant hamster can chase and trap the submissive one if they are kept in one house. You can eliminate any blind corners and ensure that the boxes and tubes have two exits.
The cage should be well-cleaned and stocked with toys and other accessories. You want your hamsters to be engaged continuously so that they have less time and energy to confront each other.
We have established that hamsters are territorial, and it helps to have two sets of accessories for each. Your pets will not like to share water bottles, beds, dishes, and running wheels.
You should also show them equal treatment by sticking to a daily routine and handling them the same. They should both have your scent when you return them to the cage.
When you come upon your hamsters fighting, you should physically separate them for a while. If the fighting continues after re-introduction, it may be time for permanent separation.
Do Hamsters Squeak When Fighting?
Hamsters can squeak during fights, and it is often a sign of aggression. The sounds can be quite upsetting because the rodents are nocturnal, and they can fight through the night.
If you notice that your hamsters are constantly squeaking and fighting, it is best to separate them.
While you can keep baby hamsters together, their territorial behavior will soon become noticeable. The pets commonly fight for resources, which is why it is advisable to keep them in a large cage.
Do not keep different hamster species together, and do not pair a male and female in the same cage.