Why do your hamster bite?
If you’ve ever been bitten by a hamster, you know how painful it is, and it’s probably not something you want to repeat! But what causes hamsters to bite? And how do you keep hamsters from biting?
Hamsters bite when they are threatened; they are naturally prey animals and need a way to protect themselves.
We’ll look at situations where hamsters may bite and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of biting.
The case of mistaken identity
Hamsters cannot see well and must rely on their sense of smell to navigate. As a result, it’s relatively easy to mistake you for a tasty morsel of food. Remember to always wash your hands before putting your hand into your hamster’s cage or touching your hamster. This removes any perplexing scents from your hands and reduces the likelihood of your hamster munching on you after mistaking you for food.
Getting to know your hamster
When you first bring a hamster into your home, it is likely that it is not used to being in close proximity to humans. Taking the time to get to know your hamster, and more importantly, allowing them to get to know you, reduces the likelihood of being bitten. If you don’t get to know your pet before handling it, you might startle it and cause it to bite.
We’ll show you how to gradually train your hamster to accept your hands inside their cage. Even this slow method, however, does not guarantee that you will not be bitten. When training your hamster, we recommend that you wear thick gloves, such as these. You’ll be able to remove them once your hamster has been trained, but they’ll keep you safe during the training process.
Teaching your hamster not to bite
Allow your hamster to explore its new environment for a couple of days before attempting to make friends with it. It will become accustomed to the scents around it and will feel safe and secure as a result. After a few days, sit close to the cage and speak to your pet to accustom it to your presence.
You can gradually begin to put your hand inside your hamster’s cage. It’s important to note that you should do this while your little friend is awake and active to avoid startling it. At first, place your hand just inside the cage and avoid touching your hamster. Always allow your hamster to approach your hand. You can use treats to encourage your pet to do this, but be careful not to overfeed.
When your hamster begins to interact with your hand, you can gently touch it and eventually pick it up. Never grab your hamster; instead, cup your hands under its belly and over its back to gently but securely hold it.
If you follow these guidelines, you and your hamster should get along fine. This will make your pet feel more at ease in your presence, making it less likely to bite.
When is your hamster most likely to bite?
Even if you and your hamster are used to each other, there are some situations to avoid if you don’t want to be the victim of a hamster bite!
If you disturb your sleeping hamster, it will become grumpy and scared, and it may bite you. And never approach your hamster from behind, as it will be startled.
The best time to handle or touch your hamster is when it is awake and active, can see you approaching, and can predict what you are going to do.
What should you do if your hamster bites you?
If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by a hamster, the experience can be excruciating. Hamsters have sharp teeth that can pierce the skin. This is not to say you should be scared of your hamster. There are a few things to keep in mind if your hamster bites you.
Do not shake your hamster to get it to let go of you. Simply lower it into its cage. If it does not release you automatically, gently pry it away.
Do not yell at your hamster. This will only frighten it and increase the likelihood of it biting again.
Clean the wound with warm water and an anti-bacterial solution, pat it dry, and then dress it with a loose piece of bandage.
Check the wound in a day or two to see if any swelling has subsided; if it is still very swollen, antibiotics may be required.
Hamsters are kept in your home, and the chances of contracting a disease from them are extremely low. Although hamster bites are painful, you should not be alarmed if you are bitten. And hopefully, if you follow our advice, you won’t have to deal with a hamster bite firsthand!
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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