Hamster Hamster Care

All You Need To Know About Hamsters Biting

Can Hamsters Eat Almonds?

When choosing what pet to keep, one of the main concerns for many people is whether they are a pet that you can handle and it the animal is prone to biting. This is particularly important if you have children who may touch the animal as parents do not want their child suffering the pain of a bite. Hamsters are one of the most common small animals kept by families. If you are thinking about getting a hamster, then you will want to know more about when and why hamsters bite and how you can avoid this situation arising. Here is all you need to know about hamsters biting.

Do Hamsters Bite?

Unfortunately, hamsters do bite but the amount they bite varies from one hamster to the next. Of all the rodents kept as pets, hamsters are the most likely to sink their teeth into their owners.

When and Why Do Hamsters Bite?

When a hamster bites another hamster, it is usually a sign of aggression, dominance, or marking their territory. However, hamsters do not restrict their biting to other hamsters and there are many reasons why they may bite their owners. These include the following:

  • Grumpiness- Hamsters have a reputation for being grumpy creatures. They are at their most grumpy when woken from their sleep. Therefore, if you wake a sleeping hamster, you can expect it to bite.
  • Fear- Hamsters will bite if they are scared. If they are not used to being handled by humans and you approach one too quickly, it may bite as a form of self-defense.
  • Pain- When a hamster is in pain, it cannot communicate this to its owner. Handling the hamster can increase the pain they are experiencing. They bite to warn you that they do not want you to pick them up. If your hamster does not usually bite but suddenly starts biting when you pick it up, it is worth checking to see if your hamster has an injury.
  • Accidental- Sometimes a hamster bites by mistake. For example, if you poke your fingers through the side of its cage, it may mistake your fingers for food and sink its teeth into your flesh.

How Bad Is a Hamster Bite and Does It Hurt?

Hamster have long, sharp incisors. If a hamster bites you, it is likely that their teeth will break through your skin and leave a clear bite mark. This will, of course, cause pain. The other problem with receiving a hamster bite is that all animals carry bacteria in their mouths. When their teeth break through your skin, the bacteria are transferred from their mouth into your skin. This can potentially lead to an infected wound. The bite wound will remain sore until it has healed.

What to Do If a Hamster Bites You

As there is a risk of developing an infection in the wound left by a hamster bite, it is important that you clean the wound immediately. You should rinse the affected area under water before applying some disinfectant wash or cream. Apply a plaster to keep the wound clean and prevent further infection. In most cases, hamster bites are not severe and do not lead to any further problems.

What Can You Do to Avoid a Hamster Bite?

Sometimes, a hamster bite is unavoidable. If your hamster does not usually bite, it can take you by surprise. There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your hamster biting you.

  • Don’t poke your fingers through the bars of the cage to avoid your fingers being mistaken for food.
  • Another way to prevent a hamster from mistaking your fingers from food is to wash your hands before handling them.
  • Don’t wake your hamster if it is sleeping as this is when they are at their most grumpy and they are most likely to bite.
  • Handle a hamster regularly so they do not fear human contact.
  • Wear gloves the first few times you handle the hamster so if they bite, it does not break the skin. This is a short-term solution, so they get used to you handling them. In the long-term, you should stop wearing gloves, so they can get used to your scent.

Final Verdict

Although not all hamsters bite, biting is a common issue with hamsters. There are many causes for biting, including fear, pain, grumpiness, aggression, and mistaking you for food. Although you cannot stop all forms of biting, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of suffering a hamster bite.

About the author


Liz Flynn is a mum of four with a background in education. An animal lover, she has owned everything from dogs to tarantulas and animals of all sizes in between and loves to write about them.

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