Why Is My Hamster Losing Patches Of Fur? (Reasons+What To Do)

Nothing can be worse than a situation when you suddenly wake from your deep sleep and spot their Hamster missing a patch of fur. Fur loss in Hamsters can even be a life-threatening situation for your Hamster, especially when you don’t know the causes behind fur loss or how to treat them.

Like all of you, I too was alarmed when I saw my Hamster shed for the very first time. So, I decided to do some research on the same and also consulted a few experts, and here is what I have learned.

Hair loss in your Hamsters can either be natural or can be due to some health complications. Health complications include Parasitic or Bacterial Infections (lice, fleas, mites, and fungus), Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and hormonal imbalances. Some other causes are dominant behavior, overgrooming, pregnancy, etc.

Timely treatment and proper care can help you to bring your Hamster’s life back to normal.

In some cases, the situation may turn worse if the problem is not detected in the early stage.

It is very important to find the cause behind hair loss as soon as possible, this is one of the primary keys to effective treatment.

If you are concerned, you could talk to a vet or your local pet shop. If you think your Hamster is sick, the best idea would be to take it to a vet.

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

Why Do Hamsters Lose Fur?

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Hair loss in your Hamsters can either be natural or can be due to some health complications. Some Hamsters lose their hair partially while others lose their hair completely.

Hamsters shed their hair throughout the year and there is no specific limit to the amount of hair your Hamsters can shed.

Most of the Hamsters were seen undergoing heavy shedding during spring as the summer begins. However, sudden loss in a patch of hair could be a sign of a problem.

You need to observe your Hamster. This will help you to understand the pattern of hair loss accompanied by other symptoms can help you determine the actual cause.

Studying the pattern of hair loss will also help to determine whether the hair loss is natural or due to some medical issues.

What Is Normal Shedding In Hamsters?

The amount of fur Hamster loses varies from Hamsters to Hamsters.

If you have a healthy Hamster you will notice that they shed heavily during spring. They shed just before the summer season to get rid of excess hair so that they remain nice and cool during summers.

Hamsters will long hair shed more than the ones with short hair. The usual shedding period is between 4-6 weeks depending upon the breed of your Hamsters.

You have to keep a look at your Hamsters to make sure that they do not pull out their fur either due to boredom or stress.

Some Hamsters even lose a clump of fur in a single go during a substantial shedding period resulting in bald patches.

Bacterial or parasitic infections can also lead to hair loss in your little ones. They are generally accompanied by symptoms like crunched skin, itchiness, redness, and open pores.

Natural or normal shedding in Hamsters are seasonal. If your Hamsters shed fur throughout the year, it is advisable to take them to a vet.

What Is Abnormal Shedding In Hamsters?

Abnormal or excessive shedding in Hamsters can range from mild to even life-threatening in some cases.

You must be cautious about your Hamster’s health, as some of the medical conditions are contagious. Proper medical care can be beneficial for your Hamsters.

If you feel that your Hamster’s fur loss is due to some underlying medical conditions, it is advised to take them to a vet as soon as possible.

Timely treatment and proper care can help you to bring your Hamster’s life back to normal.

What Can Cause Excessive Hair Loss In Hamsters?

If fur loss in your Hamsters is accompanied by others symptoms can be a major concern for the owners. Some of the common signs that accompany hair loss in Hamsters are:

  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Dandruff and lice in their fur coat
  • Red or itchy skin
  • Inflammation or open sores

Most of these fur loss is often caused by one of these factors:

ConditionCauses 
Bacterial or Parasitic Infection1) Ringworm
2) Sarcoptic Mange
3) Demodex Mites
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)-Urine Burn( Hair loss due to constant leakage of urine)
Other Health Issues1) Pododermatitis Or Bumblefoot
2) Cushing Disease
3) Molting
4) Exposure To Excessive Moisture
5) Nutritional Deficiencies
6) Pregnancy
7) Old Age
8) Hormonal Imbalance
9) Over-Grooming
10) A Fight Among Hamsters

Parasitic or Bacterial Infections

When your Hamsters are kept outside their house or the ones that live in warm and humid climate are more prone to bacterial infection.

Since they can’t remain dry for long, the moisture accumulates in their fur, especially in the lower back and back area where Hamsters can’t afford self groom.

Thus, the coat becomes smelly, crumbly, and severely prone to flystrike. In the majority of the cases, flies are attracted by the living conditions of the Hamsters. The more unpleasant the cage, the more the flies.

Hamsters affected with flystrike often experiences a lot of fur loss.

It is always advisable to use good quality super absorbent beddings and keep them dry. You must check for moisture or skin irritation in their skin regularly to avoid flystrike.

If you ever see your hamster hit by a flystrike it is always advisable to visit the vet as soon as possible. Delay in such conditions may worsen the situation.

Your vet will provide you with proper guidance on how to treat the wound and care for the affected area.

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Ringworm

Ringworm infection is very rare in Hamsters. However, this can also be a reason for hair loss in some Hamsters.

The ringworm fungus can lead to slight irritation in the skin of our little ones, followed by tiny, raised, red spots.

Fur loss associated with ringworm fungus is often bald, patchy, and round with distinct edges.

These patches first begin occurring around the face area like the nose, ears, and mouth, and then they will move towards the back portion.

It is best to take your Hamsters to the vet in such situations. Do not try to cure your Hamsters by yourself, you can put their life at risk.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange also called ‘Canine Scabies’ is a contagious skin disease in Hamsters. It is so contagious that your Hamster can even pass this on to you if you are not careful.

Due to Sarcoptic Mange, visible signs of hair loss mainly on the face but also the body will begin to appear in your little ones.

You will your Hamsters’ skin will become very itchy. It then becomes crusty or scabby.

If left untreated, it can lead to bacterial or fungal infection as well, which further adds to the threat to your Hamsters’ life.

In such situations, you must wear gloves while handling your Hamsters. It is advised to isolate your infected Hamsters from any other pets or you and your family members.

While you are treating your sick hamster you should thoroughly clean the cage and replace all the bedding since these mites can live for a few days in the bedding.

The best option would be to take your Hamsters to a vet, they would be able to provide you with the best possible help.

Demodex Mites

Demodex Mites are one of the causes which can cause fur loss in your Hamsters.

Demodex mites are tiny parasites that live in and around the hair follicles of Hamsters. These mites will attach themselves to the skin of any healthy Hamster given the opportunity.

Mites often occur as the flakes in the skin that resembles dandruff.

However, as the infestations get severe, your Hamsterss might lose small patches of hair in their body.

However, appropriate treatment of these mites with proper medication prescribed by a vet often clears the problem from the root itself.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is one of the most common reasons for fur loss in Hamsters.

If you ever notice that the fur loss in your Hamsters is restricted to the area around the tail, between the hind legs, and sometimes on the feet and up the belly, then there are chances that your little one is suffering from some kind of urinary infection.

These problems often lead to continuous leakage of urine. Urine is acidic, and constant contact with it can cause urine burn in the skin around those portions of the body.

If you suspect your Hamster is suffering from a urinary infection, then take them to a vet immediately.

Pododermatitis Or Bumblefoot

Pododermatitis commonly known as bumblefoot is a common health issue in Hamsters.

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

If your Hamsters have been living on wire flooring or hard and wet bedding for a long then they can suffer from such issues.

In some cases, obese Hamsters also suffer from such issues. This is because their legs take a toll on their heavy bodyweight.

If your Hamster is suffering from bumblefoot you will notice that the fur around their feet and legs might disappear in patches.

The best option would be to take your Hamster to the vet. A delay in treatment can even lead to a situation where the amputation of the affected leg might be the only option left.

Cushing Disease Or Hyperadrenocorticism

Cushing disease is caused by a tumor in the Pituitary gland in the brain. Due to this, the eyes, ears, skin, and the urinary tract are the most likely areas to become affected

Sometimes Cushing disease is also mistaken for diabetes because the intake of water and food by your Hamsters increases.

Cushing disease is one of the main causes that lead to hair loss in Hamsters.

Immediately take your Hamster to a vet in such situations.

Molting

A healthy Hamster sheds heavily during spring. They shed just before the summer season to get rid of excess hair so that they remain nice and cool during summers.

Some Hamsters even lose a clump of fur in a single go during a substantial shedding period resulting in bald patches.

Hamsters will long hair shed more than the ones with short hair. The usual shedding period is between 4-6 weeks depending upon the breed of your Hamsters.

Researches have even shown that Syrian and Russian Hamsters tend to shed more than Chinese or Roborovki Hamsters do.

Exposure To Excessive Moisture

You must always keep your eye on your Hamsters water bottle and make sure they do not leak.

Also, if you provide a bowl to your Hamster for drinking water, make sure they do not trip the bowl.

Moisture has a safe impact on Hamsters as it has on we humans. All the extra water is harmful to Hamsters and can prevent hair growth.

Also Read:

Nutritional Or Dietary Deficiencies

Your Hamster’s diet will decide a lot about their health and well being.

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

Dietary deficiencies are one of the most common reasons for baldness in Hamsters. If your Hamsters lack protein or vitamins then it is obvious for them to lose hair.

You can try modifying your Hamsters diet by adding a few more fruits and vegetables. Make these changes gradually. A drastic transformation can be harmful to your Hamsters.

Also, it is always best to consult a vet if you have any suspicions.

Pregnancy

It is very common in Hamsters to lose hair during pregnancy and also post-pregnancy.

Hamsters exhibit their nesting behavior by pulling out their fur. They pull out hair from their chest, sides, and belly to line the nest with the fur.

You will also notice that they also use other items available in the cage-like toys and hay to line their nest.

Sometimes, Hamsters even experience false pregnancy and start showing these symptoms.

In such cases, it is advised to take your Hamster to the vet.

Also, if your Hamster has recently given birth, the post-pregnancy stress can lead to hair loss in them.

Old Age

Fur loss in older Hamsters is common.

Just like humans, some Hamsters face problems of thinning of hair, hair fall out, or even change in their hair color as they grow older.

These symptoms are visible in Hamster after the age of two years. It starts from the lower abdomen and then starts spreading to the legs, hips, neck, and chest area.

Over-Grooming

Although Hamsters usually spend 20-30% of his life grooming themselves but then this is a bad sign.

Hamsters often over-groom when they are bored or stressed. Therefore, make sure that you give your Hamsters plenty of play toys to stay occupied.

Sometimes, even some health complications make Hamsters overgroom. In such cases, you must lookout for a reason and eliminate the same immediately.

Even the presence of your other pet in the same room can stress your Hamster.

If you have introduced some new things in your Hamster’s enclosure, try to get rid of them.

A Fight Among Hamsters

Hamsters are better off alone. They do not need a company. It is advised not to keep more than one Hamster in an enclosure. Sometimes, Hamsters may even fight themselves to death if kept together.

Hamsters try to prove their dominance in front of the other Hamsters, this often leads to fighting.

When Hamsters find another Hamster in its enclosure they take them as an intruder to their territory. They have a fear that now they will have to share their food.

All these fights can lead to hair loss in Hamsters.

How Can I Stop Fur Loss In My Hamsters?

Some Hamsters shed fur naturally while others shed due to some external factors. Some even might be undergoing medical complications due to which they might lose fur.

You must observe your Hamster intently and look if they over-groom themselves. If you have a long-haired Hamster then you should build the habit to brush them in regular intervals.

Also, if you keep a sand bath in your Hamsters enclosure throughout, then you must stop doing so.

You should leave it in your Hamsters cage for a day or two and then remove it for the next four days and keep it in their cage again after four days. You can now follow this process throughout.

Provide your Hamster with enough toys and entertainment units so that they stay occupied and do not get bored.

You must also make sure that you provide enough Vitamin C in your Hamsters diet. Lack of Vitamin C often leads to hair loss in Hamsters.

You can give your hamster a drop of cod liver oil daily or yeast tablets in the food once a week.

Using good quality bedding and cleaning the cage regularly is also crucial to ensure your Hamsters don’t suffer from infectious that causes hair loss in them.

If you have any suspicions about your Hamsters’ health, then take them to a vet immediately.

Do Hamsters Lose Hair As They Age?

Yes, fur loss in older Hamsters is common.

Just like humans, some Hamsters face problems of thinning of hair, hair fall out, or even change in their hair color as they grow older.

These symptoms are visible in Hamster after the age of two years. It starts from the lower abdomen and then starts spreading to the legs, hips, neck, and chest area.

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss In Hamsters?

Yes, the fact that stress causes hair loss in Hamsters is true.

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

Some Hamsters were even seen pulling out their hair when they were stressed out.

Abrupt change in your Hamster’s living conditions, lack of sources of entertainment, or even lack of human contact can lead your Hamster to get bored or uneasy, which can lead to hair loss in them.

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Does Hamster’s Fur Grow Back?

Yes, in most Hamsters fur loss is curable.

If your little one is missing a patch of fur, then try to find out the cause behind it. With proper medical care, you can fix this problem in your Hamster.

However, if the fur loss is due to some exceptional causes, then there is no surety of your Hamster’s fur growing back.

Can You Dye Your Hamster’s Fur?

No, you must not even try to dye your Hamster’s fur.

Dying your Hamster’s hair can be excessively stressful for your little one. Besides this, dyes are toxic for Hamsters.

Dying your Hamsters hair will also remove natural oils present in their fur and can also lead to several allergic reactions in them.

Your Hamsters’ will also become wet when you try to dye their hair. Change in your Hamsters body temperature can bring their life to risk.

Why Is My Hamsters’ Fur’s Color Changing?

The color changes in the fur of Hamsters are quite common.

You will also see a slight variation every 5-6 months in your Hamsters when they shed a little. This is the time when they prepare their coat for the climate they are in.

As Hamsters require a thinner fur coat in summers as compared to winters, the shedding of the coat depends upon the change in seasons.

It is also seen that the change in the color of Hamsters occurs for their protection as well. These are more common in wild Hamsters than in pet Hamsters.

If your Hamster’s enclosure is outside or nearby a window from where they come in contact with light frequently, then a little variation is normal.

During summers, Hamsters usually get darker in shade whereas, in winters, the color of their coats lightens.

Why Is My Hamster’s Fur Matted?

There are quite a few reasons which can lead to matted furs in Hamsters:

  • Health complications such as diarrhea
  • Irregular brushing of Your Hamsters
  • Lack of Vitamin A and fiber in your Hamster’s diet
  • Improper living environment that includes soiled bedding and enclosure
  • Abrupt change in your Hamster’s diet


If you have any suspicions about your Hamsters’ health, it is advised to take them to a vet as soon as possible.

Sources: Caring Pets, Hamster Mites, Hyperadrenocorticism in Three Teddy Bear Hamsters, Ringworm in small exotic pets

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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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