Hamsters don’t like to share their territory with other hamsters or pets, so they mark their territory.
How do hamsters mark their territory?
Hamsters mark their territory through scent glands and rub their bodies across the cage. If they have a problem with the work of the scent glands, then they use urination to mark their territory.
Syrian hamsters in particular are known for marking their territory because they never want to share it with others.
Hamsters are territorial and they have a natural instinct always to mark their territory, whether they are in the wild or in a cage.
In today’s article, you will learn how hamsters mark their territory, why they do it, whether they can still live together and similar questions related to the topic.
How do hamsters mark their territory?
Hamsters mark their territory using scent glands and rubbing on objects in the cage, as well as on certain parts of the cage itself.
Hamsters have scent glands either on the sides of Syrian hamsters or under the belly of dwarf hamsters.
You can recognize the scent gland by the fact that it looks like a hairless spot and its color can differ from the rest of the skin, it is usually a little darker in color.
The secretion from the scent gland is yellow in color and smells similar to popcorn.
What is the reason for hamsters to mark their territory?
The main reason hamsters mark their territory is to let other hamsters or potential predators know that it is their place.
Hamsters are very territorial and usually do not want to share their territory with others, except for dwarf hamsters that can sometimes live together in the same cage.
But they also know how to fight for their territory and not share it with other hamsters, regardless of whether they are of the same breed.
When hamsters cannot for some reason use the scent gland, then they mark their territory by urinating on it.
This can be especially noticeable when they urinate on their exercise wheel or on other objects and toys around the cage.
Marking the territory in domestic conditions, where one hamster is usually kept, is unnecessary, but hamsters still do it.
They are taught from life in nature, where marking the territory is their daily work because then it helps them to find their home more easily.
This helps them because they have very poor eyesight and rely on their sense of smell.
Do female hamsters also mark their territory?
Female hamsters mark their territory just like male hamsters, but not as often as male hamsters.
When female hamsters mark their territory, they usually do it to let the male hamsters know that they are in heat, that is, that they are ready to mate.
Female hamsters are ready for mating every 4 days, and by marking their territory they call the male hamsters.
When do hamsters start marking their territory?
Hamsters begin to mark their territory when they are 8 to 12 weeks old.
When hamsters are very small, they do not mark their territory, but when they start to mature and grow, they will certainly do so.
Especially the Syrian hamsters, which are known as the most territorial hamsters, and when they mature, they immediately start marking their territory.
Do hamsters mark your room if you let them in?
Hamsters usually don’t mark your room when you let them run around.
The room is a large space and they won’t just be in one place like they are in the cage to start marking as their new territory.
However, if you let them run around the room for a long time, they may think that it is their new space that they need to mark, but this scenario is a very rare occurrence.
The benefits for hamsters of marking their territory
Apart from the fact that by marking their territory hamsters want to let other hamsters know that the space is only theirs, there are also other benefits.
Here are some of them:
- They protect their food in the cage which is the main factor for them to survive.
- The chances of mutual conflicts and injuries that could turn fatal for one of them are reduced.
- They feel safer and more comfortable, which reduces stress and the occurrence of diseases that affect their life span.
Obviously, marking one’s territory, however territorial it may seem, still has its own benefits for the life of hamsters.
Can some breeds of hamsters live together?
Dwarf breeds of hamsters can live together in the same cage, but it is still recommended that they be together from birth to increase the chances that there will be no problems between them.
However, when they grow up, hamsters know how to change their character and may suddenly start fighting over who is dominant in the cage.
Chinese hamsters are not recommended to live together because male hamsters are very aggressive and unwanted injuries can occur between them.
In any case, if you want to try keeping two hamsters in one cage you need enough space and have separate water bottles, food bowls, and two exercise wheels.
How do you keep two hamsters in one cage without them fighting?
Although they are territorial, hamsters can live in one cage, but for that purpose, you will need to make certain changes.
It is necessary to divide the cage into two parts with a wire partition so that they do not fight.
First, leave them separately each in their own part for a few days so that they get used to each other, and only then can you try to combine them in one cage without a partition.
You will need to put separate containers for food and water and lots of toys so that there is enough for everyone.
If you notice that when you put them together they start fighting, then separate them and don’t try to make them live together anymore.
Syrian hamsters never want to share a cage with other hamsters, while dwarf hamsters have the best chance of success.
Read more: Why Are Hamsters Fighting All of a Sudden? Let’s Discover
What you need to know about the scent glands in hamsters
Scent glands in hamsters are the main way to mark their territory.
But it’s not bad to know some other facts about the scent glands:
- The scent glands in male hamsters produce a longer-lasting odor than in female hamsters.
- The appearance of scent glands is similar to tumors, and sometimes a wrong assessment is made, so it is best to consult a veterinarian to be sure of your pet’s health.
- When fighting, hamsters may bite the scent glands themselves in order to prevent the other hamster from using them.
- The scent glands look a little dirtier than other parts of the hamster’s body.
Scent glands are important for hamsters, especially for those hamsters that live in nature, because they help them to survive more easily.
Read more: Why Do Hamsters Lick Their Cage? Let’s Discover
Hamsters mark their territory because they are territory and do not like to share their cage with other hamsters.
That’s why they leave their scent from the scent glands all over the cage. If they have a problem with their scent glands then they use pee to mark their territory.
Hamsters will probably always mark their territory because it is their natural instinct that they have preserved from the wild.
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