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Old 03-08-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
bohbebby's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1
Default are my hamsters fighting, or just asserting dominance?

earlier today i bought two female campbell's dwarfs, they are currently living in a 40 gallon breeder tank. it's day, so they have been sleeping mostly but they have gotten in two squabbles. (fights?) i'm not certain if they are fighting or just asserting dominance, but i did get scared the second time and moved the instigator to the other side of their tank. is this a size issue? or just normal? will my interference affect them? i am a first timer so i am admittedly quite paranoid.

extra info:
- they are sisters, both ~8 weeks old.
- they were brought home only earlier today.
- they will burrow in the same areas, and occasionally sleep/eat together.
- two bottles, hides, and 4+ chews have been added, they use a communal bowl.
- neither have been scratched/show any sign of injury and both continue to come out and eat/run around.
- i use the 40 gal breeder tank by aqueon, ~662in of floor space.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:33 AM   #2
Little Miss Tinytoes
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 7,040
Default Re: are my hamsters fighting, or just asserting dominance?

Are they still fighting? Squeaking, one ending up on its back, one running away from the other etc. Unfortunately it is quite normal which is why hamsters are best kept alone. It's less stressful for them as well as safer, you run the risk of injuries or worse when you keep them together. I personally think a 40 gallon breeder is a bit on the small side for a pair, but should be ok for one by themselves. If you are a first time owner I would separate them to be honest as it'll be easier to monitor them.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:56 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,592

If you’ve only just brought them home it is a big change of environment and a new cage too so it can unsettle them and make them fall out. I would keep a close eye on them the next day or so. Also how is your tank set up? For a pair you need two or three of everything. Even if they sleep together there needs to be another house too so one can go there to be alone if they want. Two wheels, water bottles - houses need more than one entrance and no platforms or levels in the cage. I would scatter feed - or have two food bowls and a bit of scatter feeding as well. The tank size sounds fine to me - if it’s a 40 gallon breeder it should be about 90cm x 45cm.

Having said all that it is extremely common for pairs to fall out - and they often need seaparati g and keeping on separate cages. They can fight to the death or maim each other. Squabbling can lead to bullying or fighting quite quickly. The idea of 2 of everything and no levels is to avoid one “claiming territory”.

They may settle down - but do monitor carefully the next day or so. Don’t do a cage clean for the first two weeks - just spot clean after a week if necessary but in a tank that size it shouldn’t get smelly with two little dwarf hamsters. If you don’t have two of everything - add the extra things now. Cardboard tissue boxes and shoe boxes with 2 or 3 doors cut in are fine for houses.

It - if they were squabbles that look like fights starting then as mango says it may just be better to separate them now. A large plastic storage bin wd do as a temporary cage.

Last edited by souffle; 03-14-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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tank, breeder, dominance, asserting, fighting, earlier, today, areas, occasionally, sleep/eat, sisters, info, weeks, home, brought, burrow, eat/run, gal, space, floor, ~662in, aqueon, continue, injury, added

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