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Do the hamsters need to be separated?


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#1 melotama

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hello guys, I just brought home two Russian dwarf hamsters on Friday and have been losing sleep worrying if I should separate them. Sorry for the lengthy post in advance!

 

They are two 6-month old Campbells. They were kept in the same cage in the shelter when I picked them up, and the guy who works there told me they were found in a cage, abandoned in the streets. He said the shelter would usually separate hamsters but these two got along well. I saw them snuggle up together, so I went to buy the cage with the biggest floor space I could find and two of every accessory except the water bottle.

 

I brought the bedding from their old cage and put it on top of the new bedding, and they seemed to be settling ok until last night I saw them in sort of a boxing position and I panicked. I took one of them out to the backup cage I prepared but ended up putting him back in after 15 minutes because 1. he was really struggling in the steep tunnel of the other cage and 2. the other hamster was climbing all over the cage to dangerous heights looking for him. When he was put back in, he pinned his cagemate down and sniffed his crotch area. Last night they slept in the same nest and they have been napping side-by-side and grooming each other today, not without the odd tackling though.

 

I'm sure I've made many newbie mistakes. I wish I could tell if they like/accept each other as cagemates. :( I'd really like them to have a happy life from now on but I'm not sure what's best for them. Any advice is appreciated, thanks!






#2 GhostOrca

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 05:47 PM

I would look out for any loud alarmed squaking noises and blood. These are definant signs they are fighting. If they are then you will have to seperate them. But sometimes they just playfight. They do like and accept each other as play mates, but sometimes stuff happens and they fight. ( due to a cage that's too small,  sharing a wheel, fighting over levels, food etc.)



#3 Hamsterpassion

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 10:52 PM

First of all are they the same gender/ If not seperate them you dont want baby hamsters. Next if they are the same gender and they are getting along then i would just keep an eye on them if it keeps on getting bad again seperate them.



#4 Ping

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 11:19 PM

It's natural for hamsters to "wrestle" on occasion, as they sort out who is in charge. Just keep an eye out to check it's not happening all the time, and check for signs that one of the hammies is not getting access to food, water, shelter etc. To reduce squabbles, make sure you have two of everything (food bowl, water bottle, wheel, hideout), so there is less chance of them "arguing" over who gets to use it :)



#5 Biscotti

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:54 AM

A change of environment is stressful, and sometimes that will cause a pair to want to re-establish their dominance order. If they are boxing, wrestling, and pinning, then that's what they're doing to sort themselves out. As long as there are no distressed squeaking, and no prolonged chases (meaning they disengage after a few moments), and no aggressive biting, then you don't have to worry.

 

During this initial settling period, I'd suggest you taking out all the platforms and vertical tubes (you can lay them out flat) so there are less chance of territorial issues. They can be introduced back into the cage slowly once they're settled in a few weeks, as long as you don't observe any change in the balance of their relationship.



#6 Jolty

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:03 AM

From experience, dwarf hamsters will fight and they play-fight as well. As a general rule -- no blood, no foul. As Ping said, just make sure you have two of everything, and that you keep an eye on them. 



#7 melotama

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 10:38 PM

Thanks for all the responses, everyone. :) They are two males. I did get two of everything but I caught them fighting over the same wheel with some biting even when there was another one. In the end I decided to keep them in two cages, just to be absolutely safe. I will spend plenty of time with them myself just so they won't be lonely. 

 

Thanks again. Your help is very much appreciated!starry-eyed.gif



#8 GhostOrca

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 01:19 AM

I think that is a good decition. One of my Robos nearly ended up RIPPING the others tail off!! Not nice... Any way, at least both you hammies will be safe now. :)