Russian Dwarf Hamster Behaviour – Normal VS Problem

Behaviour For Russian Dwarf Hamsters

Russian dwarf hamsters are one of the only hamsters types that can live with a companion and show sociable behaviour towards each other. What is included:baby russian dwarf hamster behaviour

  1. Normal Behaviour
  2. Behaviour Problems
  3. Best Solutions To Fighting
  4. Day to Day Behaviour

Dwarf hamsters are nocturnal thus active at night. This is because their main predators in the wild are active in the day. It takes years of observation to completely understand Russian dwarf hamster behaviour and we are going to shed some light on typical behaviour for Russian dwarfs.

For most common questions about Russian dwarf hamsters see our Fact Page.

Normal Russian Dwarf Hamster Behaviour

Normal dwarf hamster behaviour is similar throughout every type of dwarf hamster including Chinese, Roborvski, Russian and hybrids. Here are 5 common concerning but normal Russian dwarf hamster behaviours.

1. Sudden bursts of energy – Within the day a hamster can suddenly become very active and this is common in dwarf hamsters. This can be caused by food that they may have eaten earlier being digested into energy. Russian dwarf hamsters are very active and will need to burn of their energy one way or another.

2. Squeaking towards a house mate or fellow dwarf hamsterIntroducing two Russian dwarf hamsters together, squeaking is very common within the first few weeks. When hamsters play fight they squeak and chase each other around the cage. This is very common between male hamsters as they are territorial. However if it persist or visible wounds, blood or spraying a repulsive smell is occurring then click here.

3. More sleeping, less movement and loss of hair – This is very common with age. The life span of a Russian dwarf hamster is 1-2 years and with the right diet some live up to 2 and a half years. When hamsters get old they sleep more, are less active and loss of fur or bald patches appear. This is normal with age. Click the Amazon image to the left now.

 4. Chew chew chew – Hamsters teeth never stop growing and chewing is a way to keep their teeth in shape. If your hamster is chewing the bars try getting her/him a chewable block/stick like pictured to the right.

5. Digging & creating nests – This is what dwarf hamsters do in the wild. Most live underground in burrows and tunnels until roaming at night time. They will most likely dig up and change the bedding and nesting materials within the cage to their own tastes.

6. Itching & scratching – This is a way to tell if your hamster is happy. Grooming is very common with hamsters and shows that they are relaxed, calm and comfortable in their environment.

These points above are typical hamster behaviours on a day to day basis and should not cause concern.

Behaviour Problems and Solutions

Most hamsters show certain behaviour for a reason. For example, dwarf hamsters & rats grind their teeth to make a noise which sounds like a quiet tapping noise. This is a warning behaviour that your hamster is upset or will show anger which normally results with a bite.

Dwarf hamsters genuinely do this when woken up or when they feel scared. This is behaviour that should be prevented as it can lead to stress and future health problems. Wait for your hamster to wake up before handling them.

Russian Dwarf Hamster Behaviour And Problems

Other behaviour that can be annoying for owners is biting the bars. This is a hamsters way of trying to get out, not having enough room to play or they are bored of their accessories. If you are experiencing this then please see our How to Stop your Dwarf Hamster Biting the Bars.

Fighting – If you keep two dwarf hamsters together you should always be prepared to split them up. Even if you never have to split them up.

Young dwarf hamsters will play fight just after their eyes open, especially males. Play fighting is very common and is a way of playing. When two dwarf hamsters are brought up together they may start to fight more and become very aggressive towards each other. This is not normal and something needs to be done.

Russian dwarf hamsters can live together with a brother or sister from birth under certain conditions. Chinese, Roborvski & Syrian hamsters are known to not get on under studies. Here are 3 important points that you should look for when your hamsters are fighting:

  1. Biting, blood or wounds – I know it is hard to notice if there are wounds as your hamster is always running around banging into things. However if you notice marks on the ears, feet, underside or over side that strike your curiosity then you will need to split them up.
  2. Fighting more & not sleeping together – This means that they have chosen to take their own sides and sooner or later will fight to the death for the space and territory.
  3. Hogging of the food – If one is guarding the food, wheel or other toys and not sharing with the other they need separate food bowls, houses and wheels. Most the time it is far easier to just buy a new cage for one and separate them. To see what cages we recommend Click Here.

The behaviour of a dwarf hamster varies among each individual and should be observed.

 Day to Day Behaviour – What to Expect

A Russian dwarf hamsters day to day behaviour is fairly simple. They will sleep throughout the day occasionally waking up for food (every 2-3 hours).normal russian dwarf hamster behaviour

At roughly 8-11 pm they will awake and begin to forage, create new nests or play with their tubes/toys. They will fall back to go back to their burrows, nests or houses when the morning comes.

In the wild the sleep during the day and explore at night. This is the safest routine for them. They eat plant materials, seeds, nuts and a varied diet.

A balanced diet is recommended for Russian dwarf hamsters and pellets are a better option than mixed muesli. Common behaviour for all dwarf hamsters is to eat only the fatty seeds and nuts from muesli. Pellets contain fats and goodness to help keep a balanced diet.

“Nuts & Seeds are like cheeseburgers and fast food to us”

Having Problems? Leave a comment

More From RussianDwarfHamster.Org:



Russian Dwarf Hamster Behaviour – Normal VS Problem — 31 Comments

  1. Hi, we have 2 male dwarfs. they were 10 weeks when bought them and we have had them 3 weeks. The smaller dwarf we think has broken his leg and unsure how. We have observed them and i’m not sure if its play fighting or not. my daughter said they have squeaked so tonight i separated them to give him a rest. i will re-introduce tomorrow and observe. i have another cage so will connect them together to see if more space stops this. what do you think? and what can I do for his leg. it doesnt appear to hurt him. theres no blood and he is moving around fine although he is dragging the leg. can a vet do anything? i want to make sure they are happy and looked after but don’t want to split them up if its only play fighting. the broken leg could of been my daughter although she promises she hasnt dropped him. how else could he have done this. could it be through fighting? thanks becky

    • Hi Becky, welcome to RussianDwarfHamster.Org

      Males are common play fighters and enjoy doing so however it can change quickly from play fighting to dominance over the cage, food or accessories.

      They are at an age now where they will start marking territory (by rubbing their underside around the cage) and this is normal and look out for it.

      Have you seen I think this will help you with the fighting and squeaking.

      I do agree with adding an extra cage and adding some more space. This will help them roam more and not fight as much. I also recommend giving them a wheel, food bowl and toys each. This will prevent fighting a lot.

      A dwarf hamsters leg is small but strong and it is unlikely that it broke it play fighting. However it could just be swollen or infected. A vet would be able to help you distinguish the problem. For now there is not much you can do unfortunately other than take him to the vet.

      Other ways in which they could break their legs are from falling from heights maybe whilst chewing the bars at the top of the cage?

      I think you are doing the right think Becky by observing there behaviour and asking for help. Do you find that one is more dominant over the other? If so, the larger one could be a bit of a bully. There is a saying though, if one squeaks it may be fine however if they both squeak then there is a problem.

      Last thoughts.

      Another quick article that can help with introducing them back together is at

      Thanks for the comment, please let me know how it goes and I hope this helps 🙂


  2. Hi,
    My hamster hides when I go and pick her up. She seem to no that I want to play with her.

    • Hi Debbie, Welcome to RussianDwarfHamster.Org.

      Sounds like your hamster is a bit scared of you still and that is why she is biting.

      Dwarf hamster sight is not that great and they can be easily startled by something bigger than them. E.g a hand or another hamster.

      What I recommend you do Debbie is Tame Your Dwarf Hamster. Here is our 5 steps to success on Taming Russian dwarf hamsters.

      Taming is a way to get your hamster used to you and understand you mean no harm. Taming is a great way to stop biting and aggressive behaviour.

      Let us know how it goes and like us on Facebook if this helps.


  3. Hi, I have a question if you don’t mind. I bought a russian dwarf hamster about a week and a half and last week I got another one. The are both females and the new one is scaried. I tried putting them together in the new one’s cage and when the “old” one gets near the new one, the new one screams and runs. And it was also bad smell thing going on, but I don’t know from which one. I wondered if they are going to fight forever, When I put them in a neutral box (without any smell) they don’t seem to pay much of attention at each other (altho the new one often screams and runs when the other gets close). Do you think I must separate them forever or keep trying? :(

    • Hi Uli

      Great question and I like how you are trying to build up a relationship between the two. You have kinda gone the right way about it (about using the box without scent) but there are some more things to try.

      Now at this time, do you know if they are from the same mother or near the same age?

      The bad smell is a warning smell that they let off and is fighting behaviour. I recommend you see our 5 steps Guide on introducing at
      This will show you how to introduce two together and whether it will or not work. Have a read of that and then you will know what to do.

      Hope this helps

      • Hi! Thanks for replying.
        I built a new space for them, again without scent, and sometimes they fight. Or it seems like it. One of them always screams when the other gets close and she throws herself with the belly up and stays with the mouth open. And some of he times the other one isn’t doing anything. So now I’m not sure if they’re really fighting or if the scaried one screams just for fear. Sometimes the other actually bites but I don’t feel the bad smell anymore.
        One of them is 2 months old and the other is 3. And they’re not from the same mom. I fear that the stress can get the scaried one ill. 🙁

        • Hey, Happy to Help 🙂

          Hmmm its a tricky one. They may be play fighting and this is normal but if the squeeking stops and they are fighting, this is bad news.
          Because they are not from the same mother and one is older than the other, there is a chance they may not get on in the future. I hate to break the news but that is just my opinion.

          I would still try to build up a relationship together. Get them their own seperate wheels, food bowls and toys and this will help a lot with the fighting. If the sleep next to each other they are still friends. Being the age they are, they are becoming more defensive and territorial in nature. They are growing in to adults.

          It is normal if one doesn’t want to live with the other.

          Russian dwarfs that live with a companion from a young age normally live better. But ones that live on their own and then are introduced to another hamster ca be defensive and show aggressive behaviour. This is because they feel like the other hamster is there to take what they have.

          I think you should try the split cage technique. Basically split the cage in two using mesh or something. Then have one on each side. This will help them become part of a clan together and become more friendly. every 3-12 hours swap them from each side.

          If you feel like it is not going to work or it is stressing you out. Getting another cage is always another option. See what we recommend at

          Hope this helps.

          • Ok! I’m going to split the cage to see what happens. Thank you a lot for our help!!! And congratulations on the site 🙂

  4. Hi my name is maisie and my two male Russian dwarf hamsters squeak a lot. We have had them for about 3 weeks from the pet shop. One seems to pester the other by constantly lying on top of it and chasing it round the cage, quite manically at times. Should I split them up? I have a ovo habitrail but I’m not sure it’s big enough for Russian dwarf hamsters.

  5. Hello my dwarf hamster has a play an then falls asleep on me. Is this normal behaviour? He is 3 months when i bought him 2days ago. An he hasnt bitten me or the kids.

  6. My two Russian dwarf hamsters suddenly started to fight the other day. They are brothers and they have been living happily with each other for eight months. However, the smaller one has been suddenly biting the other one and drawing blood. I have separated them but I would like to rejoin them. The smaller one now just lays down on a shelf in his cage and just lays there. He almost seems lonely, however, whenever he gets near his brother, he wants to attack him. What should I do?

  7. My daughters Russian dwarf hamster has twice acted like it is almost comatose with eyes open. My husband touched its back and it started running around. Is this normal? It scares her because she thinks it has died.
    Thank you

  8. Hi, I have 2 male Russian dwarf hamsters, they was 6 weeks when we got them and we’ve had them around 3-4 months. They have started fighting about 3 weeks ago and have become more frequent, they have two of everything, a huge cage with two levels and numerous toys and houses.
    We handle then everyday and change things up in the cage to make sure they are not bored.

    They fight when one goes to were the other is sleeping or where they hide their food, the fighting consists of the more dominant pinning the other down and biting his underbelly, and a lot of squeaking occurs. They don’t fight when out of the cage together, no blood has been drawn and we have not found any marks on either of them, the fighting has become more regular and are unsure if they need splitting up, we would rather not split them up it would be sad to see them have to live apart.

    They used to sleep with each other, eat together and groom each other, now they don’t do much together.

    Thank you

  9. I recently bought a new Russian Hamster (almost a week ago) and he is extremely aggressive. Whenever I first picked him out, he was in the cage with his brother who was significantly smaller than him. The pet shop lady said that was because Gus (my hamster) was taking all of the food and not letting his brother eat any. Now that we have him at home, he runs up when we put our hand in the cage, grabs our hand, pulls it down and bites it. We have tried giving him a few days alone, but it does not seem like it is getting any better. My last hamster was extremely fun loving. This one is much different. How do we let him know that we do not want to harm him, only love him? Is there anything we can do?

    It is only myself and my husband and we have no kids, so no one is picking on him. We also talk to him nicely and calmly. He also has a HUGE cage, multiple cages actually and a big open area the size of a guinea pig cage, so cage aggression does not seem to be the problem.

    Thank you!

  10. Good day. I have 2 Russian hamsters (Male and female). Got them 5 days ago. When I got them the female was in a cage with other hamsters and the male was in a cage by himself. When I got home I put them in the cage together and the female seems to be hurting the male hamster. Well I think she is, because the male keeps making noises and when I have a look his on his back making noise.

    It’s my first time with hamster! PLEASE HELP ME! I don’t know what to do

  11. Hi my name is Niamh. I had 3 russion dwarf hamsters we got them when they were 12 weeks old and have had them for about 2 months. One of them was always crazy. When we were taming them she would latch on to you, rap her whole body around you and bite and not stop until it literally took a chunk of our hand out, we thought it was juts because she was scared so we introduced gloves and was very jentle and slow with her until one day she juts went absolutely mental running up and down the cage, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t drink; and has died today, the other 2 are absolutely fine, I thought maybe it would be a neurological problem? Thanks a lot

    • HI Niamh,

      Interesting but I have heard about this before. Sometimes the saying a bad egg is the case.

      Most pet shops cross breed two types of species and that can be the outcome sometimes. She could of also been through a rough time from birth before you owned her, so please do not worry.

      Sorry to hear this, all the best.

  12. I have two hamsters (female and male). The female is a new arrival and has only been here 2days while the male has been here for about a week. they’re about 4-5months old and not from the same nest. I’ve been trying to get them to be close to each other but the male keeps chasing the female around and she squeaks. When he reaches her she is on her back squealing. The cage is separated and whenever they meet at mid the female squeals for a bit and runs away. Is she just scared of the hamster? Or is she not used to him yet? It seems like the male is trying to mate with her. Can i get any help with this?

  13. Hi. I bought two Russian dwarf hamsters (Tom n Jerry). They both were in the same cage when I bought them.

    However a good few months down the line they have been squeaking an awful lot so took to the web to see if they are play fighting or squabbling. When I go over I see Tom standing over Jerry. Is this time to separate them? Jerry is very nervous around Tom now he scurried round and ducks his head away from Tom.

    Getting a little concerned now. 😢

  14. My brother recommended reading this behaviour for dwarf hamsters article. He was entirely right. This post truly helped my dwarf hamsters stop fighting. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  15. Hi,
    I got two female hamsters a couple of months ago, they were both sisters, so I got them together, to keep each other company. They started play fighting a couple of days after I put them in the cage, but then it became more rough. I’ve had them for about 5 months now, and when I came back from school to check on them, the weaker one (Wonder) was dead in her cage, whilst the other hamster (Star) was playing on her wheel, not knowing anything. When Star found Wonder, she tried waking her up, but then gave up after about 2 minutes. Now Star is alone, she seems quite lonely, and my mum said that I should see how she is after a few weeks or so, but if she still acts strange, then we could get another hamster, but in a different cage. I’m hoping this might keep her company, and they won’t be able to fight, so that’s good. It is my 12th birthday on Thursday and I might get some money.
    If I do, then I will save it until I’m sure that Star is okay and has forgotten about the death of her sister.
    Do you think this is a good idea or not?
    Thank you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *