A situation where hamsters that have previously been living in peace suddenly start fighting can be very disconcerting. Upon encountering this sort of situation, you will want to know what may be the reason as to why the hamsters have started to fight, and what you can do about it. This article explores those issues.
Why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden? It may be because they have matured and become territorial. Something may be stressing them up, and they respond by lashing out at each other. They may also be fighting over resources or due to the desire to assert dominance over one another.
Normally, understanding the reason behind the sudden fighting can be helpful in coming up with a viable solution.
Therefore you need to start by figuring out, why is my hamster getting aggressive or why have my hamsters start fighting?
If it is something that is persisting, then the question to ask yourself would be, why do my hamsters keep fighting?
Once you understand the reason behind the aggressive behavior, coming up with a solution becomes much easier.
Do Hamsters Fight?
A situation where your hamsters seem to have started fighting all of a sudden can be very baffling. In that sort of situation, the first question you will probably have is as to whether hamsters actually do fight. Or whether it is something unique to yours.
Thus, before the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question typically comes this one: on whether fighting is something hamsters normally do.
So, do hamsters fight? The answer is yes. Their superficially gentle mien and small size may delude you into thinking that hamsters are incapable of fighting. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Hamsters do fight. Sometimes, they fight in a savage manner: to the extent of hurting or even killing each other.
Therefore if your hamsters have started to fight all of a sudden, you need to know that this is not really a novel behavior. It is a phenomenon that many other hamster owners encounter from time to time.
Indeed, going through hamster owner forums, you often come across threads that revolve around the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question. So fighting is something that hamsters do.
Why Do Hamsters Fight?
Before proceeding to answer the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question, it is important for us to have general insights on why hamsters fight.
Now there are several reasons as to why hamsters fight.
Sometimes, hamsters fight simply because they want to assert dominance over each other.
At other times, hamsters – being territorial animals – may fight in a bid to carve out their territories.
Hamsters do also fight over resources. So you may have hamsters fighting over food, toys, spaces and so on. Especially when there aren’t enough of these resources.
Stress is another thing that at times makes hamsters fight.
During the mating seasons, you may have the male hamsters fighting over the females. Or you may have males fighting to impress the females, so that the females can prefer to mate with them.
Some types of hamsters just prefer to be solitary. If you try to put more than one in a single cage, they end up fighting because they can’t stand each other.
An example of a hamster that prefers solitude is the Syrian hamster. Therefore if you find Syrian hamsters fighting, it may be simply because they can’t stand each other.
Why Are My Hamsters Fighting All Of A Sudden?
A situation where your hamsters start fighting all of a sudden can be very worrying.
If, for instance, they are dwarf hamsters, you will certainly find yourself wondering, why are my dwarf hamsters fighting all of a sudden?
And if it is a case of one hamster being suddenly aggressive towards its cage-mate, you will find yourself wondering, why is my hamster suddenly aggressive towards its cage-mate?
The core underlying question here would therefore be, why did my hamsters suddenly start fighting?
And it can actually escalate to a situation of the hamsters killing each other. So you start wondering, why are my hamsters killing each other all of a sudden?
Now one very real possibility is that something is stressing the hamsters up. So they take out the stress on each other: by fighting.
This may be stress on account of them being in unsanitary conditions. Or it may be stress arising as a result of being underfed. It could also be weather-related stress or anything else along those lines…
Another possibility is that the hamsters have matured to the point where they have become territorial. So you may find one hamster fighting off another one, in a bid to push it out of what it perceives as ‘its territory’. This is more common among males.
Related to territoriality is dominance. So you find one hamster trying to claim dominance over another: by fighting.
If you introduce new hamsters to a cage, there may be some sudden fighting. This would be happening as the hamsters try to establish some sort of pecking order.
If resources that were previously abundant become limited, there may be resource-related fighting.
So those are the possible answers to the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question.
Are My Hamsters Fighting Or Playing?
Sometimes, it can be hard to differentiate hamster fighting from hamster playing.
Therefore, quite often, alongside the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question arises this one: on whether the hamsters are fighting or playing.
The way to tell if hamsters are fighting or playing is by looking at the aggressiveness of the affair.
Hamster playing is usually a reasonably gentle affair, whereas the fighting is a more aggressive affair.
If, from what a hamster is doing, the goal seems to be that of hurting (or killing) the other one, then you know that is not play. It is fighting.
The sounds can also help you in telling you whether what is happening is playing or fighting.
For instance, if you have two dwarf hamsters fighting squeaking horribly, then you know that it is probably a fight. Not play.
Usually, when hamsters are fighting, you will find one cornering the other in a manner whose aim seems to be that of preventing escape. If you witness such, you know that it is not play. It is a fight.
Vicious chasing is another sign of fighting as is biting. The bites sometimes draw blood.
Suppose, for instance, you have robo hamsters. And you find them chasing, pushing and biting each other viciously, in a manner that seems to be aimed at causing injury – if not death – and complete with horrible squeaking sounds.
In that case, the question obviously wouldn’t be why my robo hamsters are playing. On the contrary, it would be, why are my robo hamsters fighting?
Therefore the telltale signs of fighting (rather than playing) in hamsters include vicious chasing, biting, pushing, cornering and squeaking.
How Do I Know If My Hamsters Are Mating Or Fighting?
It is easy to mistake hamster mating for fighting. This is because the mating entails the male biting the female at the back of the neck, at some point.
Therefore what appears to be a case of hamsters fighting suddenly may actually be a case of them mating!
In other words, while answering the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question, it is important to be sure that we aren’t mistaking mating for fighting.
Now the neck biting that is part of hamster mating is usually not very aggressive. Therefore if you find the hamsters biting each other very aggressively, then you know that it is not mating, it is probably fighting.
Furthermore, in the mating context, the male hamster stands on his hind legs. If you find a male biting a female while not standing on his hind legs (that is, not in the mating posture), then it could be fighting, rather than mating.
Of course if the hamsters that are tussling are both males or both females, then it can’t be mating. It can only be fighting.
Can Hamsters Kill Each Other?
If you discover that your hamsters have started to fight all of a sudden, the main concern you may have is as to whether they may end up killing each other.
This is why, alongside the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question usually comes this other one: on whether hamsters can kill each other.
Sometimes, the person posing the question may frame it in a hamster breed-specific manner. So it becomes, can Syrian hamsters kill each other? Can robo hamsters kill each other? Or can dwarf hamsters kill each other… and so on.
The true position is that hamsters are capable of killing each other.
There are two mechanisms through which hamsters may kill each other.
One is where a hamster inflicts injuries that are so nasty that they end up killing the other hamster.
The other is where a hamster inflicts injuries that are not particularly bad. But being open wounds, they end up getting infected, with the infection in turn leading to the hamster’s death.
Therefore hamsters are capable of killing each other. That is why, upon discovering that your hamsters are fighting, you should do whatever it takes to stop the fighting.
How To Stop Hamsters From Fighting?
Once you ascertain that your hamsters have started fighting all of a sudden, the next question is obviously on how to stop the fighting.
Thus, right after the why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden question usually comes up another one – on how to stop my hamsters from fighting.
If, for instance, yours are dwarf hamsters, the question is specifically on how to stop dwarf hamsters fighting…
Now as noted earlier, you first need to find out, why are my hamsters fighting all of a sudden? Establish the real reasons.
Where the reason for the hamsters fighting all of a sudden is stress, you need to identify the stressors causing the fighting. Then eliminate them, in order to restore harmony among the hamsters.
Where, for instance, the cause for stress is due to unsanitary conditions, you need to put more effort into cleaning the hamster cage and the items in it.
Should the stress be due to temperatures or overcrowding, take the necessary corrective measures, to eliminate it.
What of a case where the hamsters are fighting over territory or in order to assert dominance over one another? Here, the solution may lie in separating them.
And in a case where the hamsters are fighting over resources (such as food, toys and so on), you may need to provide them with more of those. That should reduce the conflict.
At a general level, it may be best to avoid keeping hamsters that prefer to be solitary (for instance, Syrian hamsters) with cage-mates.
It may also be ideal to avoid keeping males together.
And where you have to keep more than one hamster together, it may be best to provide big enough space. This way, each hamster can have its personal space, thus reducing conflict.
Final Verdict – Why Are My Hamsters Fighting All Of A Sudden
Hamsters may start to fight all of a sudden because something is stressing them up. They may also start to fight all of a sudden upon maturing, and starting to be territorial.
The desire to assert dominance over one another can also cause hamsters to start fighting all of a sudden.
If resources that were previously abundant become limited, this may also cause the hamsters to start fighting all of a sudden.
Getting rid of whatever is stressing the hamsters may help in restoring harmony. Providing adequate resources (such as food, toys and space) can also be helpful at minimizing conflict.
There are, however, cases where you just have to separate the hamsters, in order to get the fighting to stop.