It can be distressing to see your pet hamsters fight, so it’s important to look at how you can stop it from happening, and what you need to do if you see that fights are taking place.
If you are a hamster owner, or you are thinking of getting hamsters as pets, you need to be aware that there is always the potential for hamsters that are kept together to fight, and that there are some hamsters that should always be kept on their own.
We are going to take a look at some of the issues you need to be aware of if you are going to keep hamsters together; which types of hamsters can be housed together, why a fight is not always what it seems and what you should do when fighting is confirmed.
Which hamsters can be kept together?
Syrian hamsters should never be kept together; they are territorial and solitary creatures. These tendencies start to develop when Syrian hamsters are between six and eight weeks old, and after this point they should be housed on their own.
Dwarf hamsters (read our sister site’s top 5 facts about dwarf hamsters) will sometimes live happily in the same accommodation; however, it’s always best to keep hamsters of the same sex together. It’s also important that you remain vigilant and keep an eye out for any fighting, to prevent your pets from getting hurt.
How can you minimise hamster fighting?
If you are going to keep more than one hamster in a cage then you need to make sure there is enough room for them to have their own space; if an area is cramped then there is more chance that the hamsters will fight.
It’s also a good idea to provide two of everything so that there will not be any fights over toys, food dishes and water bottles!
One very important thing to remember if you are going to be keeping more than one hamster is to allow for escape should one hamster decide to fight with another. If you have a hamster house in the cage then make sure it has two entrances, and make sure that there are no blocked off corners in the cage.
You cannot watch your hamsters twenty four hours a day, so you need to make sure that the hamsters can get away from each other, should an attack take place. This is especially important when the hamsters are new to each other, and full compatibility has yet to be established.
When is a fight not a fight?
It’s important to note that hamsters may not always be fighting when you think they are; squabbles are not uncommon, and are not usually dangerous. This is especially the case when hamsters are still getting to know each other.
It may be disturbing to see your pets chasing each other, and to hear high pitched squeaks and squeals, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will come to any harm.
It’s not unusual for one hamster to pin another down and groom it; the hamster that is pinned will often squeal in submission. This is just an expression of dominance and not an actual fight.
You will usually be able to tell if your hamsters are actually fighting by taking note of the way they interact with each other on a daily basis and looking out for injuries. If your pets are getting along they will generally share activities such as sleeping, eating and grooming.
What should you do if your hamsters are fighting?
If your hamsters are not interacting each other, except to fight, then it’s time to admit defeat. The fact is that some hamsters are just not compatible. If this is the case you will need to separate your pets. If you don’t do this you stand the chance of one of them getting hurt or even killed!
You should also remember that once you have separated hamsters they should never be allowed to socialise with each other again.
If you remember that Syrian hamsters should always be kept alone, introduce your hamsters to each other properly, and always keep a close eye on any hamsters that are housed together, then your hamsters will hopefully live happily together!