If you’re looking for your first pet, something to give as a gift, or you’ve been a pet owner before and are looking for a different one. Hamsters are great pets to have at home. If tamed and with the appropriate care, they can be very friendly with humans. There are different types of hamsters to choose from, but note, you should watch out for those tiny teeth.
Hamsters do bite. It’s rare, but they bite as a defense mechanism when they are afraid, in pain, stressed, or not trained to accept being held. Hamsters’ bites are often insignificant and superficial, but they can also be deep-cut injuries that can hurt quite a bit and require immediate attention.
Hamsters are tiny, furry, and bright pets to bring home; before doing so, you should know some important details about them and their maintenance. This pet can be trained to learn its name, do tricks and accept being handled to stop biting.
What Does A Hamster Bite Feel Like?
Biting is a common reaction in most animals. It is a way to show how they feel and protect themselves. If you are a hamster owner or planning to become one, you might wonder how it would feel if your little fur baby bit you. Well, it will depend on the strength it uses to bite. If your pet does it quickly, you might feel as if it tickled you. If your hamster is hungry, scared, confused, or in pain, the bite will be stronger and more painful. It will feel like a sharp, clamp-like sensation that can puncture the skin and make the area bleed; if this happens to you, you will be sore and feel the injured area burning for a while.
What Happens If A Hamster Bites You?
If you get bitten by a hamster, you should immediately wash the injured area with a large amount of soap and water and keep an eye out for any signs of infection. The mouth of your hamster can carry commensal bacteria that, in rare cases, can cause diseases.
Overall, hamsters are low-risk pets when it comes to transmitting diseases to humans, but they can carry diseases if they are sick or infected. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a common rodent-borne viral infectious disease.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
LCMV infections occur after exposure to fresh urine, saliva, or nesting materials from infected rodents. This disease can also be transmitted to humans if the materials from the infected rodent get into your system through a bite, nose, eyes, or mouth. Humans of any age are potentially at risk for infection if they manipulate an infected rodent.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Symptoms
In the early stage of the infection, the symptoms can last almost a week and might be the following: fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, sore muscles, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Less common symptoms recorded are a sore throat, cough, joint pain, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. LCMV has also been known to cause neurological complications such as meningitis, encephalitis, meningoencephalitis, and in rare cases, hydrocephalus and myelitis. The LCMV doesn’t get transmitted from one individual to another. Still, if a pregnant woman gets infected, she can transmit the disease to the fetus, which can cause pregnancy termination or defects in the fetus’ development in the early stages.
How Do You Train A Hamster Not To Bite?
Hamsters are not aggressive by nature and are pretty docile. They enjoy being taken care of, entertained, and cuddled; this is why it can be very rewarding for humans to own them. Nonetheless, there may be situations where your hamster feels scared, confused, hungry, or anxious, causing him to bite you. You need to know that if your hamster is new, he needs to adapt to being handled and becoming familiar with your scent before you attempt to tame it. Here are a few tips for training your hamster to stop biting:
- Let your hamster get familiarized with you. Don’t try touching him immediately; talk to your pet while it is inside the cage.
- Wash your hands properly to remove any scent that isn’t yours, and then slowly get close to the cage after a week to let the hamster sniff you and recognize your hand.
- Try grabbing the hamster from the front where they can see you, never from behind or above, because it can feel attacked. Hamsters don’t have a good sight, so it is important to approach them slowly.
- Use treats to make your hamster come to your hand and let you pet it. Pieces of apples, raisins, and seeds are a great treat to give your hamster gradually for training purposes and to reinforce good behavior.
- Use thick gloves for protection only for a couple of weeks because you need the hamster to get used to your scent, and this can’t be done well while using gloves.
- Do not yell or hit your hamster if it ever bites you; try to bring it down to its cage until it is calm, and try picking it up with a treat.
- When picking him up or putting him down, try using both of your hands like a cup under the hamster’s belly and demonstrate you are not scared. They can feel fear and tension.
- Leave them alone if they are sleeping.
What To Do If You Get Bit By A Hamster?
If you get bit by a hamster, don’t panic if it is a slight or profound biting. This reaction will shock the hamster and get him to bite even stronger. Despite the pain, try to avoid screaming or shaking the hamster of your hand also. Yelling will only scare your hamster more and could make it more likely to bite you again. Try to gently place him back in its cage or familiar territory so the hamster can relax and feel safe.
Facts About Your Furry Pet
- Hamsters can last up to three years with the appropriate care.
- Hamsters are nocturnal, so most of their activity will be done during the night, and they’ll sleep throughout the day.
- They like to play and enjoy having toys and areas to play inside their cage.
- They can remember their name if you use it constantly.
- They are born blind, and while they are growing, they start having slight sight.
- The smell is their most vital sense.
- Hamsters like to be alone. Some hamsters like Syrian and dwarf hamsters will eat their companions if placed in the same cage.
- Hamsters should be taken to the vet for annual checkups.
- Do not feed chocolate or caffeine to your hamster, as this is very toxic for them.
- Hamsters love hiding, so be careful letting it out of the cage without supervision.
Hamsters are adorable pets to have at home. They are low maintenance and can be trained to stop biting after they become familiar with their owner. Despite their lack of sight, they are intelligent creatures with a strong sense of smell and will recognize you from a distance. If your hamster is sick, try to rush him to the vet to ensure it doesn’t carry bacteria that can be infectious.
If a hamster bites, you should immediately wash the area even if it hurts and watch out for any infection. If the site is swollen and red within a couple of days, go to the doctor for a check-up. Don’t ever yell or show your hamster you are scared because confidence is the key, and if they cant trust you, they will be more liable to bit you when you try to approach.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.