Domestic hamsters, like all other rodents, may well bite a person who picks them up or puts a finger in a cage. And, asking before buying a pet whether the Dzungarian and Syrian hamsters bite, you should know that such a threat exists. You can be bitten by a rodent of any breed – a fluffy and tame Angora, a more independent Dzungarian, or Campbell’s almost wild hamster. Now let’s try to figure out how to wean a hamster from biting, and for this, we first consider the reasons for aggressive behavior.
Why is My Hamster Biting Me?
It is not easy to answer for sure why a hamster bites. Moreover, there can be many reasons for the aggressiveness of an animal. It can react to human threats, hand-smelling food, and mishandling. Sometimes the rodent simply shows its affection in this way or even grinds off the incisors.
Hamster Reaction to Threat
The main reasons why hamsters bite are:
- protective instinct;
- pregnancy of the female.
Too loud noise near the cage, loud screams, and rude attitudes of children frighten and upset the hamster – especially if he has not yet fully accustomed to the new environment. Therefore, having brought home a pet, you should not take it out of the cage for at least 2-3 days to get used to people and the human voice. Another reason the hamster began to bite is protective instinct. By sticking his hand into the cage, a person invades the animal’s territory and poses a threat.
Female hamsters bite quite painfully during pregnancy. At this time, they are most susceptible to changes, and even an attempt to replace water or food can end in a bite. If your hamster has become aggressive due to pregnancy, clean and change food as little as possible. And it is advisable to temporarily refuse to play with him.
Smell of Food
A hamster can bite a person whose hands smell like food – especially if it is unfamiliar to the pet. In this case, the owner himself may not smell. However, the animal still bites painfully on the finger, from which an unusual aroma emanates. Therefore, do not pick up the hamster immediately after eating, without washing your palms.
Improper Handling of the Animal
Do not ask if hamsters bite if the person makes too sudden movements when trying to pick up the animal. Sharp gestures and, moreover, screams, make the hamster nervous and defensive.
Do not take a small rodent with your hands brought from above – otherwise, the owners will immediately find out if their pets bite painfully. This gesture causes the hamster on an instinctive level to fear and desire to bite – due to the fact that in the wild they have enemies attacking from above.
It is also undesirable to touch the animals by the head. It is best to wean the hamster from being scared by bringing his hand to the side and letting the palm sniff, which reduces the likelihood of a defensive reaction.
The Manifestation of Affection from the Animal
The Dzungarian breed is one of the answers to the question of which hamsters do not bite – but even these cute animals may well change their usual behavior, wanting to play with the owner. Light nibbling of the hand, practically pinching is not a symbol of aggression, but, on the contrary, a sign of a good mood. However, if during the game the tingling became more aggressive and the movements nervous, this indicates the hamster’s fatigue and the need to pause and rest.
Why Do Hamsters Bite Their Cage?
Hamster Grinds a Tooth
Even a relatively calm and small Dzungarian hamster sometimes bites painfully for one simple reason – it needs to grind off a tooth. For grinding, all objects are used within sight – from the rods of the cage to the hands of the owner. In order to wean the hamster from biting people, they put branches and bark of fruit trees into the cage, pre-pouring boiling water over them for disinfection.
Features of Handling Campbell’s Hamsters
Sometimes the owners may think that the hamster has run wild – but in fact, the animal is just a species that is practically not tamed by humans. You can verify this by carefully looking at the appearance of your pet. If a wide stripe is visible on his back, passing to the forehead, the fur seems a little clumpy, and the shape of the body when viewed from above resembles an egg, it is possible that this is Campbell’s hamster.
These rodents are considered the most problematic when kept at home – and when asked whether they bite or not, the answer is in most cases yes. And some Campbell hamsters do not lend themselves to training or simple taming. And they constantly bite even their owners, not to mention strangers.
Why are Animal Bites Dangerous?
Many pet rodent owners do not know what to do if a hamster bites and what their reaction should be. First of all, you should not shout at the animal and wave your hands – it will be offended and will remember the person’s aggression for a long time. In the future, this will lead to an even greater risk of being bitten. Instead of responding with aggression to the strange behavior of the pet, it is better to think about its causes and their elimination.
The question of whether hamster bites are dangerous can be answered ambiguously. On the one hand, rodents that have not been in contact with other animals do not tolerate rabies. However, the danger lies in other diseases – common to hamsters and humans – tuberculosis, listeriosis, and toxoplasmosis (especially dangerous for pregnant women).
In cases where pets with obvious signs of any disease bite people, and redness, itching, and tingling occur at the site of the bite, you should immediately consult a doctor. Otherwise, the charges can be pretty serious. Although cases of infection by a hamster of its owner are very rare. As a rule, it is enough to treat the affected area.
There is an opportunity to accustom a hamster to the hands – but only those owners who are ready to show patience and care. By avoiding the factors that cause stress in the pet at a young age, you can gradually wean the animal from fear, raising it to be calm and non-aggressive. Try to stick to the following rules:
- do not touch sleepy hamsters, which can get scared, start hissing and react inadequately;
- wash your hands before playing with an animal – especially after eating;
- do not touch a pet that is reluctant to make contact.
The taming process begins with feeding. They put their favorite delicacy in the cage with the hamster and, without removing their hand, wait until the animal comes up to sniff the food. You should not make sudden movements, because of which even Dzungarian hamsters bite – not much, but still unpleasant. After that, the food is put on the palm of your hand – if the pet climbs on it, it means that it is already possible to wean him from biting, and you can move on to closer contacts. For example, trying to start a game with him.
In dealing with a small animal, you should be delicate. And to convince the children who come into contact with him of the need for the same behavior. By following these rules, it is possible to ensure that the hamster is not aggressive and avoids unnecessary stress – as well as its owner, whose patience will be rewarded over time.