Hamsters are often misunderstood. This results in either a bad experience for first-time owners or hamsters ended up hurt, abandoned, or worse, dead. One of the most common questions by beginner hamster owners is “why do hamsters fight?” right after “why do hamsters bite?“.
In this article, we will list down the reasons why hamsters fight each other and solutions on how you can stop this to make sure no one will get hurt or get a long-lasting injury. Since hamsters are so tiny, we can barely see when they are hurt or when they are about to start a fight. It will take time until you get to know your hamsters and their behaviour, but remember, one fight can be very fatal and traumatic for any hamster.
For a hamster owner, I can imagine how stressful and scary to see if your hamsters start to fight and hurt each other. So, let’s put a stop to this dangerous behaviour and find out the reasons and solutions.
WHY DO HAMSTERS FIGHT
Here are the reasons why hamsters fight or quarrel with other hamsters:
Hamsters are territorial
Hamsters love their own space. Yes, you might have seen photos of baby hamsters cuddling and piling on one another. But that’s just a newborn trying to keep warm (and be cute).
Once hamsters reach the age of 5 weeks old, they start to be a bit more territorial and enjoy their own space. You’ll start to notice hamsters fighting with one another.
Hamsters are very territorial creatures which many hamster owners, even the experienced ones didn’t know. This hamster fact is very vital to know and should be learnt by any responsible hamster owner.
What does it mean? It means no hamster should be living with another hamster. Hamsters love spreading their scent, creating their nests, and hiding their food – all of these are done to satisfy themselves and to feel secure.
Having another hamster in the same cage digging in another hamster’s nest can cause a nasty fight. In simple words, hamsters are self-centred and like things the way they are and would fight anyone who enters their property.
They are getting older
Once a hamster reached 6 weeks old, they are already grown up and doesn’t enjoy playing around with other hamsters. At this age, female hamsters are almost ready to get pregnant, which means their mother instinct will soon start to kick in.
Matured hamsters will start making their area tidy, digging nests, hoarding food, and most importantly, marking their territories. This is why, at this age, hamsters should be separated regardless if they are siblings or of the same gender.
Hamsters love being solitary
Human has a high need for companionship, in our brain, it is ingrained that we must find our soul mates, so we don’t grow old alone. This is precisely the opposite for hamsters. Hamsters are strictly solitary. This means they thrive when living solo.
I totally understand if you would think that your hamster might get lonely because humans have different evolution patterns. But don’t worry, for a hamster to be happy, it’s best if they live alone as long as they have a spacious cage, deep bedding, healthy food, lots of toys and chew toys, s sand bath, water, and a playpen – they don’t need another hamster for a companion.
If you place another hamster in their cage, this will cause a huge fight. Hamsters are not like a human who can put names on their sleeping dens and hoard food. Placing more than one hamster in one cage will cause a huge fight that will happen until you get them in separate cages.
SINGS THAT YOUR HAMSTERS ARE FIGHTING
Sometimes it’s hard to say if they are just playing around, but you can quickly see in your hamster’s face, and if you listen carefully, you can hear some hissing sounds. You can also see that they would start attacking each other, but the most common signs that your hamsters are fighting are chasing, biting, and when one is being cornered.
HOW TO STOP HAMSTERS FROM FIGHTING
There’s only one thing you can do, and you must do it quickly. If your hamsters are fighting, separate them immediately. However, watch out as they can be very aggressive and might attack you instead.
Wear a thick pair of gloves and remove the other hamster and place them on either a playpen or box (make sure there’s enough ventilation.
Once there’s already a fight, it is vital to separate the hamsters entirely from now on. Hamsters are not like humans whom you can give time-outs to cool down. Hamsters are territorial and naturally aggressive towards other hamsters.
Hamsters fighting is a sign that it’s time to get them in separate cages. If you don’t have one ready, you put a divider inside the enclosure that goes all the way up to the ceiling of the cage cover until the new cage arrives.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO
Once your hamsters are about 5-6 weeks old, it’s best to separate them right away instead of waiting until a fight breaks out.
Limit their interaction time
Make sure that there is almost zero interaction between these hamsters during playpen time. Hamsters fight really hard which can result in injury or worse death. It’s advisable not to do a “check if they still hate each other”, that can get ugly real quick.
Put distance between cages
Now that both hamsters are in their separate cages if placing both cages side by side still stresses each other, it’s best to put distance between the cages instead. Hamsters shouldn’t see or even smell each other.
Hamsters simply didn’t evolve to be around other hamsters because of their natural sense of being protective of their territory. They enjoy living alone and don’t get lonely to spending most of their life by themselves.
Forcing hamsters to live together in one cage is dangerous and can be very fatal. In simple words, hamsters don’t like sharing their cage, space, food, toys, or simply the presence of another hamster (who potentially steals their stuff) and resort to attacking this hamster once it crosses the boundaries with a goal – only one hamster can exist in this cage.
I hope this article answered your question about why hamsters fight and that we gave you useful solutions to this problem. If you have other tips that you want to add to this topic, let me know in the comment section below.