Do Hamster Bites Hurt?

Hamsters are adorable and make good pets. However, many people wonder if it hurts when these cute rodents decide to bite. It can be essential to know whether or not hamster bites hurt when determining if they are the right pet for you or your children.

Hamster bites can be painful. However, hamsters are rarely aggressive, and their bites are usually superficial. When someone is bitten, they must clean the wound with soap and water to avoid infection.

In this article, we will discuss if hamster bites hurt. We will also cover if hamsters can give you rabies, why hamsters bite, how to handle your pet without being bitten, and other related topics. If this sounds interesting to you, continue reading to learn more!

A hamster biting finger, Do Hamster Bites Hurt?

Do Hamster Bites Hurt?

Generally, being bitten by hamsters hurts. The risk of being bitten, and the level of pain it will cause, depends on the type of hamster you have. 

Smaller species like dwarf hamsters tend to bite more because they are more territorial. You are less likely to be bitten if you have a larger species, like a Syrian hamster. However, while less common, Syrian hamster bites hurt more because they are larger.

The actual pain level depends on how hard the hamster bites and your pain tolerance. Some people describe the pain as minimal, while other pet owners say it is excruciating. Luckily, most people seem to agree that it only hurts for a moment and then is over.

Why Do Hamsters Bite?

Small domestic hamster on hand

There are a lot of different reasons that your hamster may bite you. Hamsters are rarely aggressive, so if your hamster bites you, you should try to find the cause.

If you move too quickly or have a timid hamster, you could scare your pet. Your hamster could also be sick, hungry, or smell something on you your pet doesn't recognize. Female hamsters tend to get irritable and a bit aggressive when in heat.

Of course, your hamster could also be territorial or not want to be handled. A hamster that isn't held often is less likely to enjoy being handled. 

How Can I Tell If My Hamster Is Sick?

If your ordinarily tame hamster suddenly bites you, your pet may be sick or injured. Some of the more common signs that your hamster is ill or in pain are lethargy, loss of appetite, hair loss, and a wet tail caused by loose stools. 

If they have a respiratory infection, they may sneeze or seem like they are having trouble breathing. An ill hamster may stop taking care of themselves, which will result in your animal's coat looking dull or dirty.

It is common for stressed hamsters to get wet tail disease, characterized by a damp tail from diarrhea. It is highly contagious and requires antibiotics. 

How Can I Tell If My Hamster Is Hungry?

Another common cause of biting is not getting enough to eat. If you notice your pet is out of food or water, he may be hungry. 

Hungry hamsters may lose weight, constantly chew on their cage, and be more aggressive than usual. They will not stockpile food and may seem less energetic. Aggressive behaviors like fighting with cage mates, growling, and standing on their back legs will increase. 

They will be more vocal than usual and squeak a lot. A hungry hamster is more likely to be seen during the day and make escape attempts.

What Type Of Hamsters Are The Most Likely To Bite?

Some types of hamsters are more prone to biting than others. Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamsters tend to be more likely to bite than other hamsters due to their timid nature. 

Female hamsters tend to be a bit more aggressive than males. When they go into heat, they get irritable and are more prone to biting. For this reason, you may want to get a male to have the lowest chances of being bitten.

What Happens If A Hamster Bites You?

A hand holds a hamster on a pink background

When your pet hamster bites you, nothing much will happen most of the time. All you need to do is wash it off with soap and water and apply a bandage if it is bleeding. Then monitor the wound for signs of infection.

It is possible, although rare, to get nasty infections from a pet, especially if they have been exposed to wild rodents. If your hamster bites you, you are at risk of contracting tetanus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and other bacterial diseases.

If someone who a hamster has bitten suddenly develops flu symptoms, a stiff neck, drowsiness, or confusion, seek emergency care immediately. 

Do Hamster Bites Break Skin?

Usually, hamster bites do not break the skin. However, hamsters' teeth are pointy and sharp and can sometimes cause puncture wounds.

If the skin is broken, bacteria from the hamster's mouth can cause infections. If it has been more than five years since your last tetanus shot, you may need to see your doctor as hamsters can spread tetanus. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections. 

Can A Hamster Give You Rabies?

It is improbable for a hamster to carry rabies. Therefore, it is not likely you will contract rabies from your pet. However, it is not impossible. 

If you are worried your hamster may have been infected, keep an eye out for certain signs. A rabid hamster will bite everything around it, make weird noises, and start to have problems moving. Paralysis usually begins at the back legs of the hamster and works its way up the body. 

It will also be unable to drink water, drool, and foam at the mouth. If you believe your pet is rabid, take it to a small animal vet for testing and do not try to handle it. If a potentially rabid animal bit you, contact your doctor immediately.

How Do You Pick Up A Hamster Without It Biting You?

A woman holding a hamster on her hands

First, you will want to wash your hands before handling your pet. Washing your hands will protect your hamster from getting sick and ensure you don't smell like food or have any weird smells on your hands that could trigger biting.

Don't surprise your hamster. Allow them to see you approaching and offer your hands for smelling before attempting to pick them up. Instead of scooping them up, place a treat in your palm and allow the hamster to come to you.

Hamsters do not have the best eyesight. So be sure to avoid quick movements and never hold a treat between your fingers. Otherwise, your pet may mistake your fingers for a snack!

To avoid dropping the hamster, make sure you always handle them with both hands. This will make sure they feel supported and secure.

You can also transfer them with a scoop or wear gloves to prevent being bitten. Watch the video below to learn more about how to avoid bites.

Do Hamsters Enjoy Being Held?

The child holds in his hands a hamster

After being bitten, you may wonder if your hamster even enjoys being handled. The answer depends on the breed you have and your hamster's personality.

Syrian and Chinese hamsters tend to be the most likely to enjoy being handled. Dwarf hamsters are smaller and less likely to enjoy being handled. They are more likely to bite or run away when nervous. 

Hamsters are mammals and are capable of giving and receiving affection. However, they are prey animals and naturally tend to be afraid of humans. Therefore, you will have to hand-tame your pet and help them get comfortable around you before they enjoy being touched by you.

You will need to hold your pet daily to ensure they are comfortable. When you get a new hamster, allow them time to adjust to their new surroundings before attempting to handle them.

Do Hamsters Give Love Bites?

There is no way to tell what a hamster is thinking. Many pet owners insist that their pet shows affection by nibbling their fingers. This is different from biting because it doesn't hurt or leave marks. 

Other people say this is a sign the hamster doesn't want to be held or wants to go back to its cage. So, the jury is still out on if hamsters bite to show affection.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discovered that hamster bites do hurt. We also found out that sickness, fear, and hunger may cause an ordinarily tame pet to bite. 

We hope you found this article helpful. If you enjoyed reading this article, check out the links below to discover more about hamsters. 

How to Stop My Hamster From Chewing the Bars of the Cage?

Hamster Jumps Out Of Hands – What To Do?

Kjersten Aragon
Kjersten Aragon
Articles: 6

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