Why Do Hamsters Bite? – 5 Simple Steps to Help Them

A hamster bite is irritating, a little painful(sometimes more), and often unexpected. While these animals are usually cuddly and adorable, they can often get threatened and scared and may end up biting you. 

If you have experienced a hamster bite more than once, you might already know that those tiny teeth can easily bring tears to your eyes. So, before your pet gets too used to this habit, take measures to train it as soon as possible. 

Dig into this article to get a complete overview of this situation. From why a hamster bites to how you can treat the pain, we have got everything covered in this write-up. 

Why Do Hamsters Bite?

Biting is often related to aggressive behavior, but that’s not true with hamsters. Instead, hamsters bite when they feel uneasy, scared, and threatened. 

This isn’t common with tamed hamsters as they are familiar with people and their touches. However, a hamster that has never been touched or held regularly by a human hand often ends up biting in fear. 

Moreover, hamsters also bite when they are hungry and have smelled food on your hand. It might fail to figure out that your hand isn’t a piece of chicken, which results in your pet biting it. 

Scratching and Biting at My Clothes

Sometimes, instead of your hand, your hamster bites on your clothes. For example, it scratches your shirt and trousers making you quite uncomfortable. 

One of the main reasons behind this act is often a new smell. You might be wearing a perfume that the hamster hates or doesn’t know about. This animal has a powerful sense of smell, and thus, even if you change your detergent, the hamster recognizes it. 

So, when you hold a hamster while smelling different than usual, this animal scratches your trouser and shirt to show its fear. It is normal behavior as the hamster feels strange and unsafe in your company. 

How to Stop Hamster Biting

A hamster bite isn’t a thing you would want to experience every day. So, before this habit gets worse, take proper measures to stop it. Here’s how you can do that: 

Show Patience and Give It Time to Know You

Hamsters are pretty similar to humans when it comes to trusting someone. For instance, these animals take time to get cozy, so make sure you take this process slowly. 

If your hamster is new to the environment and only recently has entered its first cage, it may take time to get used to its surroundings. So, during this challenging transition period, spend a few minutes of the day sitting close to the cage and talking to your pet. Moreover, if possible, sing or read to the hamster, so it gets familiar to your voice. 

This request might sound weird to many, but talking and spending time is a great way to build trust. 

Moreover, place a tissue in the hamster’s cage with your particular scent. It can be a great way to introduce yourself to this pet as hamsters rely on their solid sense of smell. 

Besides, if you want to clean the cage in the first few days, instead of picking the hamster with your hand, move it away in a towel and then place it back when the cleaning is done. 

Make It Get Familiar to Your Hand

While you spend time with the hamster, please make efforts to make it get used to your hand slowly. You can achieve this by moving your hand in the cage now and then. 

First, start with placing the hand in the door or on the cage only. Then a few days after, move it a little more inside. 

Avoid touching the hamster in the first two weeks but if the animal gets curious, let it touch and explore your hand. 

Offer Treats to Win Trust

After spending many weeks with your new pet, you might have already discovered the treats it likes. For example, hamsters usually love sunflower seeds, apples, and raisins. 

Make sure to feed all these items in moderation. While you do so, feed these goodies using your bare hands instead of placing them in the cage. Eventually, the hamster will come to you to eat them, which will help build trust and bond between you two. 

Start Petting the Hamster

hamster petting

Pet the hamster gently while it feels comfortable consuming treats from your hand. If it feels great, continue with the petting and eventually start holding this furry pet in your hand. 

However, if the hamster still feels scared, keep feeding it without letting until it completely trusts you. 

Don’t Disturb While the Hamster Is Sleeping 

How would you feel if someone woke you up from a deep sleep? Not great, right? Hamsters have similar feelings. 

If you hold them while they are sleeping, they might feel threatened and bite you as a result. If you want to make a connection with your pet, hold it during nighttime or in the early hours of the morning. 

Hold the Hamster Gently So It Feels Safe

Don’t hold the hamster tightly and avoid gripping its back. Hamsters often consider backpressure as a bad sign which may urge them to bite. 

Move the hamster slowly rather than lifting it in a hurry. It might give you a hamster bite and try to escape the situation. Please bring it to your body’s level slowly and steadily, so it doesn’t feel very far from its cage. 

Also, keep all the surrounding noises low and dim the lights while you hold the hamster. This animal doesn’t take long to get scared, so create a calming environment before opening its cage and pulling it out. 

While picking the hamster, don’t use your hands like claws. The poor animal should consider you as a human friend and not a bird or cat. 

Hold the hamster through a scoop motion. Open your palms and allow the hamster to climb on your hand. A treat in your palm will make this process relatively smooth. 

Once the animal has landed safely on your pam, place the other hand over it to make a covering. This posture will work as a shield to prevent the hamster from escaping the hand.

Keep your long nails away from a hamster as it may nibble on anything that’s protruding out. Besides, if you have applied a nail color, don’t come close to a hamster as the nail paint might be toxic for your pet.

Significant Tips to Follow to Avoid Biting

Before holding the hamster, wash your hands properly. This is more important if you have recently had lunch or dinner. Please don’t use a fruity soap and clean the nails too so that your hamster doesn’t detect anything while you hold it.

Don’t disturb the hamster while it is busy eating. This is similar to what you do while feeding your cat or a dog.

If you want to wear gloves to save your hands from a hamster bite, do so. But don’t make this a habit, as this precaution will never help your pet get familiar with your hands. Gardening gloves are a great choice to prevent wounds from biting. They are usually made of sturdy and thick material, which may block a hamster’s teeth from reaching your skin. 

Some hamsters are pretty difficult. They can test your patience. So instead of disowning one, please visit a vet as he will easily detect the problem or give you some training tips. 

Sometimes hamsters bite because you might have touched an injured part. Some injuries are not visible, and if your hamster bites more than often, see a vet as soon as you can. 

How To Handle a Hamster that Bites

If you feel your hamster wants to bite your hand, don’t panic. Move its body gently using your other hand without shaking. A shake would be a quick way to dislodge it, but the hamster may panic and bite again or run away from you. 

You can also blow on the hamster’s face if it plans to bite you. Your friend may not like this method, but it is one of the most gentle ways to distract it. 

If the pet has successfully bitten you, don’t yell, hit or scold the poor creature. Instead, keep your calm and remind yourself that the bite results from fear rather than aggression. 

Should I Worry About a Hamster Bite?

Yes, you should. A hamster bite shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can lead to many infections. 

Most of the time, hamster bites are small and painless, but you might also get a deep wound if you are unlucky. 

What Happens If the Hamster Bite Breaks the Skin

If a hamster bite is aggressive and powerful, it may break your skin. In that case, clean the wounds with a strong solution of water and soap. This step is imperative to prevent the chances of any infection. 

Moreover, monitor the wound for any infection or excessive bleeding. 

Hamster Bite Infections 

If a hamster has bitten you, look for the following signs:

  • Swelling
  • The appearance of a pus
  • Pain 
  • Fever
  • Bleeding

An infection can usually occur because of the commensal bacteria present in the hamster’s mouth. Moreover, very rarely, a bite can also transmit infections like rabies, and viruses such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. They can transmit from an unwell hamster to the owner through a bite. 

How Do You Treat a Hamster Bite?

As mentioned earlier, you should clean the wound with water and soap as soon as you have experienced the bite. Moreover, you should also consider an antimicrobial therapy for the bites on hands, joints, genital area, tendon sheath, or prosthesis. 

Besides, if you have low immunity or suffer from an underlying health condition, you should start treatment as soon as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of some common questions asked by pet owners like you. If you have any queries regarding the hamster’s bite, go through the answers below. 

Final Words

You should never take a hamster bite lightly. However, just because it doesn’t hurt you much doesn’t mean that you should allow your pet to bite you whenever it likes. 

This habit can get worse as the hamster gets older. So, before your hands get filled with many scars caused by these bites, take action and tame your little pet. 

Moreover, if you find yourself failing in this task, don’t feel disheartened. Instead, visit a vet or join a good training class to learn more.

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