Should You Be Worried About a Hamster Bite?

November 13, 2019
There are many reasons why a hamster may bite you. But should you be worried about a hamster bite?

Hamsters are sweet, cuddly animals, and we can never resist scooping them up to play with them and stroke them. However, your pet might not always be too happy about this, and in some cases, they may even bite you. But should you be worried about a hamster bite?

Unsurprisingly, many parents would be concerned if their pet hamster bit their child. But why do they do it? And what should you do about it? Should you be worried? Today, we’ll answer all these questions and more.

Why does my hamster bite?

Because their eyesight is relatively poor, hamsters mainly rely on their sense of smell. When they detect an unfamiliar scent, they often bite in self-defense.

  • When you bring home a new hamster, it needs time to adapt to the unfamiliar surroundings, people, and even other pets. Can you imagine how confusing it must be to smell so many new things at once?
  • If, on top of all these new scents, you then try to pick them up, your hamster may become overwhelmed and try to bite you.
  • Another reason is that your pet might not be accustomed to handling. So, if someone tries to pick it up, it may feel threatened and bite.
  • If your hands smell of food, your hamster may nibble your fingers, mistaking them for actual food.
  • Hamsters may also be more grumpy at certain stages of their reproductive cycle.

What should you do if a hamster bites you?

Sometimes, when a hamster bites, it may latch onto your skin. Shaking your hand can make matters even worse, as it will automatically clamp down harder to stop itself from falling.

If you scream, you’ll only scare your hamster more. It’s best to stay calm and try not to move. Right now, you need the animal to trust you. The best thing to do is to slowly place the animal back in its cage. If it still doesn’t let go, you can stroke it a little with the other hand, and talk to it softly to help it calm down.

Remember, your pet is far more scared than you are, and just needs to know it can trust you. Screaming or hitting your hamster will only terrify it further, and next time, it may bite you even harder.

So, should you be worried about a hamster bite?

Short answer: no. Although it may hurt, especially if the animal latches on for a long period of time. But with a little soap, warm water and cotton wool, you’ll be able to clean the wound in no time.

A hamster eating a treat.

If your pet isn’t vaccinated, it might be best to see a doctor, especially if the wound is deep. However, this is pretty rare.

How to pick up a hamster without it biting you

In light of all this, you make be asking yourself the following question: how do you pick up a hamster without it biting you? Let’s take a look at some simple steps you can follow:

  • Pick them up as little as possible. Hamsters are independent animals, and don’t enjoy being held all the time.
  • Wash your hands. It’s important for your pet to smell you, rather than that sandwich you ate for lunch or anything else you’ve touched recently. Too many interesting scents will only confuse it and make it more likely to bite.
  • Don’t snatch your hand away if it nibbles you gently. It’s simply getting to know you.
  • Before picking it up, let your hamster smell you. Grabbing your pet suddenly will only frighten it.
  • Let your pet come to you. Place both your hands inside the cage and let your hamster approach in its own time. Let it sniff you and nibble your fingers, and then maybe it will be ready to be picked up.
  • Don’t hold your hamster for too long, as this can cause unnecessary stress.

As we’ve seen, there’s no need to worry about a hamster bite. But, if you follow these simple rules, your hamster will be far less likely to bite you.