Why Does My Hamster Bite Me? (Potential Diseases & Treatment)

Although Hamsters are cute, gentle and docile creatures, they may bite sometimes like most other pets. However, they do not bite without a cause.

Your Hamster may bite you when they are stressed or frightened. There are some other causes too. Hamster bites does not cause any severe health complications as the case is with other pets, their bite may be painful.

Hamsters rarely bite their parents, and even if they do nothing critical will happen. However, if your Hamster is annoyed, it can bite you  hard, causing pain and bleeding. You may need some antibiotics and a tetanus shot after a bite. Tetanus shots should be taken compulsively if is has not been taken in past five years.

There are several reasons due to which your Hamster might bite you, it is discussed in the later part of this article. 

We will also learn about the all the  potential threats like any infection or the spread of any diseases in case you get bitten.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Why Does My Hamster Bite Me?

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Over time, Hamsters tend to develop a strong bond with their owners. Most Hamsters love to play with their owners and also allow their owners to groom them.

Sometimes, even after having a strong bond with your Hamster, they can bite you. It is a typical behaviour in rodents. But what triggers the bite? Here are some common causes:

  • They see you as a potential threat: Hamsters will bite you if they are afraid of you. If you hold your Hamster forcefully, they they might bite you out of panic and fear.
  • Stress: Being prey animals, Hamsters can easily get stressed. If there is a frequent change in their surroundings, or when they are not happy with their ambience and are annoyed, they may bite you.
  • Territoriality: Hamsters are dominant and prefer to have their individual space. They will act aggressively and may bite you, if they feel you are invading in their territory.
  • Pain and illness: If your Hamster is in pain or are sick, they may bite you.
  • Mistaking you for food: If your Hamster is hungry and your hands smell like food, they may bite you. They may mistake your finger for food.

Mostly Hamsters will bite you as a reaction to your action, which it doesn’t like. It is a common behavior in them when they get hurt, afraid, or irritated. They bite to express their discontent.

Also Read:

Does A Hamster Bite Hurt?

When your Hamster sniffs you, you enjoy, but same is not the case when they bites you. They will bite with their mouth wide open and will hold tightly.

Many argue whether Hamsters bites are painful or not. It entirely depends on your tolerance for pain, still most Hamsters find it painful.

Hamsters have long and sharp incisors, these help them to chew most of the things. Hamster bites can easily cut through your skin. These cuts are deep enough to allow bleeding. It may take a few days to heal the wound.

Young Hamsters have smaller teeth than older ones. Therefore, the bite of young Hamsters are less painful than older ones.

Also, the wound depends on the cause of the bite. If your Hamster is furious or afraid, it may bite hard, whereas, the bites are soft in other situations.

Are Hamster Bites Dangerous?

Hamster bites are painful but is it a potential threat to our health. How long can it take to recover?

The bite of a few animals can be very dangerous, especially those living in the wild. The animals in the wild are the carrier for various germs and pathogens.

We can be exposed to those germs when these animals bite us. That is not the case with domestic animals.

Sometimes, a Hamster bite can cause severe bleeding, which should be immediately stopped by applying pressure.

If the cut is in a sensitive area or near to any significant artery, then make a visit to the doctor, or else it can lead to severe damage. In some cases, the bite can even lead to some skin conditions.

It is advised to get some antibiotics as well as tetanus shots or tetanus boosters, if you have been bitten hard by your Hamsters.

Do Hamster Bite Spread Diseases?

Hamsters are prove to several diseases and are infected with various germs, but all of these does not get transmitted to humans. These bacteria and viruses are not likely to survive in humans.

However, some Hamsters do carry diseases that can get transferred to us. These includes:

  • Pasteurellosis: Pasteurella is a common bacteria causing respiratory infection and pneumonia among Hamsters and other rodents. If these bacteria are present in your Hamsters you can be infected too.
  • Tularemia: It is one of the diseases that can be transferred from Hamsters to humans. Although it is a rare disease, it is highly highly infectious and life-threatening. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Rabies: Rabies is another rare diseases among Hamsters. It can be transferred to humans once Hamsters are infected with it.
  • Tetanus: That is a common bacterial toxin that can enter our body through the wound. We should take a tetanus shot as a precautionary measure.
  • Few other diseases like skin infections can affect us. But this is not transferred by biting. Instead, they are passed on by skin contact.

Hamster bites resulting in any disease are rare phenomenon, and you can always visit a doctor if you have any suspicions.

Are Hamster Bites Infectious?

A severe wound is a gateway for germs to enter your body, it doesn’t matter how the injury took place.

If the bacteria enters our body, it can be infectious. Our body is exposed to various such bacteria and is highly susceptible to diseases.

The germs present in the mouth, teeth and saliva of your Hamsters enter your body when they bite you.

As the teeth of our Hamsters are not sterilized, their bites can be a potential source of bacteria. If these bites are left untreated, it can be infectious.

Treatment for these bites is normal and should only be done at home. However, if you see any significant signs of illness, you can call your doctor.

How To Cure A Hamster A Bite?

Most Hamster owners are bit by their little ones, one day or the other. Although Hamsters are docile creatures, sometimes they can be aggressive or impatient and bite their owners.

Being prey animals, Hamsters can easily feel stressed and terrified for petty reasons.

In all situations, you must be prepared to help yourself when a Hamster bites you. Follow the steps listed below, it will help you with the treatment and get instant relief.

Access The Severity Of The Wound

Firstly, it is important to assess the severity of the wound before taking any further steps.

Not all Hamster bites are the same. Sometimes the wound may be quite deeper than usual. It depends mostly upon the shape and size of the teeth of your Hamster.

Usually, Hamster bites can be treated at home but in a few rare cases, professional advice is important.

Once your Hamster bites you, stay away from them for a while as they may bite you again. 

It is advised to place a clean wet cloth on the wound and apply a little pressure to stop blood loss. After the blood flow stops, you must inspect the wound.

You may require stitches in certain cases, some of them are:

  • If the would is deeper than 1 centimeter or 0.3 inches
  • If the would is near any sensitive area, such as your face or neck
  • The blood flow is not stopping even after placing the cloth and applying pressure for ten minutes

If you have any of the above issues with the wound, then it is suggested to visit a doctor for treatment.

Clean The Wound With Cold Water

After you are done applying pressure on the wound with a clean cloth for ten months, then inspect the wound. Did the flow of blood stop? In some cases, blood may still drip. You should stop using force at this point in time.

Wash the would properly with clean and fresh water after the blood flow has stopped. This is important because the teeth of Hamsters are not always clean and contain food particles and germs.

Also, cleaning the would will help you remove any debris and bacteria.

You can wash the wound with tap water or any bottled water, whatever available at that moment. Just clean the wound with water and do not rub or massage the wound as it can start to bleed again.

You should use some antibacterial soap to wash the wound. This is a suggested measure to eliminate all the dirt particles. It may pain when you’re using soap, but it is important.

 If in any way the dirt enters the blood through the cut, then it can be infectious. 

Apply Some Antibiotics Over The Wound

After you are done washing the wound, use a clean and dry cloth to cover the cloth. Do not rub the would while you place the cloth. If you rupture it, it can cause further problems.

Dry the wound completely, as the leftover water particles will develop into pus and won’t let the wound repair fast.

After that, apply some antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. This will help to reduce bacterial activity and hence prevent any infection.

Even if a bacterium exists inside the wound, the ointment would not allow it to grow and therefore help to heal the wound more rapidly. 

It also moisturizes the wound, which eliminates any inflammation. You should still take some pain-relieving ointments, if it is sore.

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Dress The Wound (To Keep Infections Away)

In most cases, Hamster doesn’t bite hard and the wound is not always deep, you can leave the scare open to heal.

As the bleeding stops, apply some ointment and put on a bandage. This will help to keep the skin around the wound moist.

Moist skin helps the skin recover faster in the following ways:

  • The formation of tissue is faster.
  • Safeguarding against any infection.
  • Reduce the formation of scars.

It is crucial to cover the wound with a suitable bandage that will protect the wound from any further physical injury. Even if there is some bleeding, the dressing will absorb the blood.

You must cover the wound completely as it is better to cover a larger area than the injury. Affix the dressing with an adhesive bandage, like Band-Aid or any surgical tape.

Check For Signs Of Infection

You must monitor and keep a check on the wound on a regular basis. Do not leave the dressing unchanged for more than a day and check out for infections.

If there is bleeding, the bandage can adhere to the skin. In such situations, do not pull the bandage, instead, soak the dressing in water to ease up and then strip the bandage slowly. 

Once the bandage has been removed, wash the wound with water. Dry the wound with a towel, and check the wound.

Test to see how the wound heals day by day. If the injury does not improve, there is a risk of infection. Check for the following signs: 

  • The skin surrounding the wound is red or colder than the temperature of the body
  • Inflammation
  • Some bad scent comes out of the injury
  • Ache over a longer time than a day 
  • Production of pus (On the first day, a transparent discharge of dead cells will be produced, but an opaque, thick discharge after that is not correct)
  • Lack of sensation near the wound. 

Symptoms will be serious, such as fever, nausea, fatigue, and pain when the infection progresses. 

All of the above signs is an indication of illness or any disease that can be spread from Hamsters, and you should visit your doctor immediately.

Do I Need A Tetanus Shot After A Hamster Bite?

In most cases, home treatment is sufficient for Hamster bites. Still, many owners prefer to take a tetanus shot or tetanus booster after being bitten by a Hamster.

Tetanus is caused by bacteria entering the body from the wound. The chance is greater when we get hurt in the open space since the bacteria are embedded in the soil. Animal bites can lead to tetanus, too.

The rate of infection from tetanus is significantly low; still, you must take the precautionary measure.

If you haven’t received the tetanus shot in the past five years, it is best to take it. Know that the vaccine should be given within 48 hours of the incident.

Rabies is another illness that you should be careful with. It’s intermittent among Hamsters. There is also a vaccine available for this purpose. 

Rabies virus spreads by saliva. So there’s a risk that it could spread from an animal bite. If you suspect that your Hamster has rabies, visit the veterinarian promptly. The illness must be treated at an early stage, or it could be fatal.

Sources: Science Direct, NCBI, Research Gate, Understanding Hamsters,  Pneumonia infected Hamsters Research Gate,  Biology and Diseases of HamstersDehydration In HamstersHyperadrenocorticism in Three Teddy Bear Hamsters

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am currently studying Animal Nutrition. I have a pet hamster. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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