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Do you want to know why your hamster licks you? Well, we have researched this question and have answers for you. It is essential to understand why your hamster licks you to ensure they have a healthy diet.
While sometimes hamsters lick you to show affection, they may have a salt deficiency if they are licking you excessively.
In this article, we will learn why your hamster licks you. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions like, do hamsters bite to show affection, and how do you let your hamster know you love them. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Does My Hamster Lick Me?
Have you ever been holding your hamster, and they begin to lick your hand? While this can be a sign of affection, they may have a salt deficiency if they are licking your hand excessively.
Hamsters, like all animals, need salt to live. Salt is essential for the body to send electrical impulses properly, and low salt can affect everything from muscles to the nervous system.
Since salt is so vital to the body, the body has gained a clever way to ensure enough salt is consumed. When the body is low on salt, it will crave salt, which is true for humans and hamsters.
If you see that your hamster is licking you lots without stopping, there is a chance that it is because it is enjoying the salt on your hands. Just as french fries or potato chips can be addictive to people, licking the salt off your hand can be addictive to hamsters.
If your hamster does have a salt deficiency, you will need to add salt to your hamster's diet. There are a couple of ways that you could do this.
One method is to provide your hamster with a salt lick. A salt lick is a block of salt that your hamster can lick to supplement salt in their diet.
You do need to be careful if using a salt lick. Just as people can eat too many potato chips, hamsters can lick their salt lick too much. If your hamster licks their salt lick too often, they may begin to hurt their kidneys.
When hamsters, or humans, consume salt, it has to be filtered by the kidneys, which shortens their kidneys' lifespan. Once your hamster's kidneys have reached the end of their life, they will shut down.
Since there is no dialysis for hamsters, this will mean the end of your pet's life. To ensure your hamster doesn't hurt itself, remove it after a few days so that they don't have unlimited salt access if you provide a salt lick.
Selecting A Different Hamster Food
Another solution for your hamster's salt deficiency is selecting a different hamster food. If your hamster has a salt deficiency, then it means they aren't getting enough salt in their diet.
Look at the sodium levels in their hamster food. Then find a new hamster food that has higher sodium levels.
This solution is far safer than giving your hamster a salt lick that can harm your furry friend if incorrectly used.
Now that we know why your hamster licks you let's discuss if it is safe for them to lick you.
Is it safe when hamsters lick you?
Hamsters are members of the rodent family. Like all rodents, they can spread leptospirosis, hantavirus, rat-bite fever, and meningitis. This may have you wondering if it's still safe for your hamster to lick you.
The short answer is yes, it is safe for hamsters to lick you. It is usually safe because rodents don't just have these diseases; they have to catch them from another infected rodent or mammal to pass them to you.
If your hamster is kept inside and isn't a wild animal, it is improbable that it will carry any of these diseases. This doesn't mean, however, that the risk is zero.
Infected rodents can sometimes find shelter in your home and mistakenly spread diseases to your pet. If this happens, your hamster will be capable of infecting you with these diseases.
While the risk is low, it's significant enough that the CDC says that pregnant women shouldn't clean out their hamster's cage to avoid danger. They also say if you are pregnant, you shouldn't even sleep in the same room as your pet rodent.
Despite these risks, you can do a simple thing to be safer. If you hamster licks, you wash your hands afterward, and this simple task will wash away germs that could cause potentially fatal diseases.
If your hamster is displaying signs they are sick, before handling them, take them to a vet to ensure they didn't get infected from a diseased mouse or vole.
Be sure to hire an exterminator at the first sign of rodents in your home. They can be a serious threat to not only your hamster but you as well.
Now that we know if it's safe for your hamster to lick you, let's discuss if hamsters can give kisses.
Can hamsters give kisses?
While hamsters may lick your lips if you bring them close to them, they are not giving you kisses. Often when they lick your lips, like when they lick your hands, they are looking for salt.
Since hamsters can carry diseases, it isn't wise to let them lick your lips. Germs on your hands can be washed away, but germs on your lips are more likely to make their way into your body and make you sick.
Hamsters can become familiar with you and try to show you affection. If you regularly show your hamster affection, they may show you some in return. Hamster can learn to cuddle with you.
Hamsters are mammals. Like all mammals, oxytocin is essential in hamsters' behavior patterns. Oxytocin is the chemical responsible for feelings of love and closeness. When you spend time with your hamster, oxytocin is released in both you and your hamster.
All mammals need oxytocin to feel happy and connected. If your hamster doesn't get enough oxytocin, they may feel depressed and become lethargic.
So while kissing your hamster isn't wise, you should be spending time holding and being near your hamster. Doing so will make them happy and help them bond with you.
Now that we know that hamsters don't give kisses, let's talk about whether hamsters bite to show affection.
Do hamsters bite to show affection?
Hamsters do sometimes bite to show affection. These love bites, however, are different from aggressive bites. To tell if your hamster is biting out of love or aggression, see how hard they bite you.
It is an aggressive bite if they bite you hard enough to draw blood. If, however, they are softly nibbling on your finger, they may be showing you affection.
Let's discuss love bites, then aggressive bites to see how they compare.
When a hamster gives you little nibbles, it may be a way for them to show you they are happy. Many mammals do this, including cats and dogs. Like cats and dogs, however, the reason they do this has to do with nursing.
All mammals have many things in common, such as mammary glands, which are called mammals. All mammals start in this world nursing on their mother's breasts. This comfort that mothers offer is hardwired into all mammals.
When your hamster, or other mammalian pet, is softly biting you because they are so comfortable with you, they feel as though they are in the safety of their mother. This may cause them the softly bite on you in a repetitive motion similar to nursing milk.
This should be taken as a massive compliment as it means your hamster is so comfortable with you they feel they are in the presence of their mother. There is, however, another reason that your hamster may be softly biting you, and it has to do with food.
Sometimes, if you don't wash your hands after eating, you may have trace amounts of food oils on your hands. This may cause your hamster to believe your finger has food on it and attempt to nibble some of the food off of your finger. To resolve this confusion, wash your hands before handling your hamster.
Now that we understand why your hamster is giving you love bites, let's learn why they might bite out of aggression.
When your hamster bites you so hard that you bleed, it is an aggressive bite. The main reason your hamster may bite you aggressively is that they are scared, and it may be that your hamster is unfamiliar with you or that you startled them.
In the future, try not to grab your hamster so quickly. Also, if your hamster is unfamiliar with you, try sitting and talking to your hamster often for a few days to give them a chance to get to know you before handling them. This should make your hamster more comfortable and less likely to bite.
Now let's learn how to let your hamster know that you love them.
How do you let your hamster know you love them?
The first thing you should do to let your hamster know you love them is keep their cage clean and their food full. If your hamster needs are met, they will be more receptive to your love.
Holding your hamster is a great way to show you care for them. While holding them, give them light rubs on their back, making them happy.
You can also try singing and talking to your hamster. If you sing and talk to your hamster, often they will begin to recognize your voice, and they may even start to come to you when they hear your voice.
If your hampster comes to you when you enter the room or begin to talk, then you can be sure that your hamster knows you love them.
This article taught that your hamster might be licking you because they have a salt deficiency. We also learned that hamsters don't give kisses, and you shouldn't let them kiss you to avoid getting sick.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts.