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Everything You Need to Know about Hamster Bites

  • Hamsters

Hamsters are sweet, adorable little animals, but sometimes they can get scared or aggressive and bite. Sometimes they bite because they’re curious and other times they may bite because they feel cornered and scared. It’s important to know why a hamster decided to sink their teeth into you or someone else and that’s what we’re going to cover in this article.

From whether those bites hurt, to the danger a bite poses, and most importantly why a hamster may feel the need to chomp down, this article will cover everything you need to know about hamster bites.

This article is broken up into different sections to answer the most common questions about hamster bites, so feel free to use any of the links below to be taken directly to that section of the article. But we recommend reading through every section listed here because if you own a hamster, it’s important to know all there is to know about a hamster munching down on you or a loved one.

Table of Contents

    Do Hamster Bites Hurt?

    While hamsters are small, adorable little animals, they can bite and those bites can hurt because of their sharp teeth. Hamsters generally bite because they are feeling afraid or cornered so it’s important to remain calm and treat them gently to avoid any biting.

    Do Hamster Bites Hurt

    Now, you have to keep in mind that hamsters are small animals, so their bite can’t be compared to a dog or even a cat, but that doesn’t mean their bite doesn’t hurt. Hamsters have sharp teeth that can easily break the skin if they bite hard enough.

    A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the hamster, the less severe the bite. Larger hamsters will generally bite a bit harder just because of their size and strength compared to a smaller hamster. But you have to remember why your hamster is biting.

    The most common reasons are that hamsters feel cornered, scared, or afraid and they bite as a last resort defense. That’s important because a hamster will bite harder the more scared they feel, which means you can help reduce the severity of the bite by remaining calm, moving slow, and watching your hamster to see if they are acting in a scared manner.

    Always handle your hamster in a gentle manner that makes them feel safe and free. Imagine if an animal 100x your size cornered you and made you feel scared, you’d probably take a few bites too. And while a hamster bite can hurt, you can take steps to avoid it from even happening.

    Are Hamster Bites Dangerous?

    Yes, hamster bites can be dangerous if the hamster is infected with a dangerous disease or if the person being bit is immunocompromised. If you suspect either of these scenarios to be the case, it is best to get checked out by a doctor to ensure there will be no serious health effects.

    Are Hamster Bites Dangerous

    People generally don’t think that hamster bites can cause serious harm because hamsters are small, furry little animals. And generally that sentiment holds true in most cases, however that doesn’t mean hamster bites aren’t dangerous.

    Hamster bites have been documented to pass on serious infections or diseases from the hamster to the person being bit. In 2005, a young boy in Denver was diagnosed with tularemia, a rare infectious disease, after being bitten by a hamster who was carrying the illness (source).

    Also, some people may be unknowingly allergic to hamster bites or saliva. So even if a hamster isn’t carrying a disease or infection, a small bite can trigger an allergic reaction and lead to serious health complications, including the inability to breath.

    And while these cases are rare, they can still occur and it’s important to take the necessary steps to avoid any serious health complications. That means avoiding hamster bites at all cost. While they may not hurt and you may think it’s cute, if your hamster is carrying any type of disease or illness, it can get passed on to you and result in medical bills, serious sickness, and even death.

    What Does It Mean When a Hamster Bites You?

    When a hamster bites you, it generally means that they are feeling scared, cornered, or vulnerable and are biting as a last resort defense. When hamsters feel threatened, their only real defense is to bite and that’s what they do.

    What Does It Mean When a Hamster Bites You

    Hamsters are not aggressive animals, but when they feel cornered by another animal 100x their size (you), they may bite as a defense mechanism. In the wild, hamsters are more often than not prey than they are hunters, which is part of the reason they are nocturnal. Everything they do is mostly in the pursuit of self-preservation because they don’t have many hunting tools or behavior in their little bodies.

    However, the other reason a hamster may bite is curiosity or a general feeling of being uncomfortable. If you notice your hamster biting their cage when you put them in there for the first time or chewing on new toys, it could just be their way to adjust to their new environment. This type of being isn’t really aggressive and indicative of feeling scared, but more aligned with a hamster getting comfortable with something new. And it should cease over time.

    It’s important to remember these two reasons why hamsters bite. They either feel scared or are curious about something new. Always make sure to try and keep your hamster feeling safe and comfortable in any environment, especially when you’re directly interacting with them. That will help reduce the potential of biting.

    If a hamster does continue to bite even if you’re playing gently, then it could be time to consult a veterinarian and get a professional opinion.

    Why Does My Hamster Bite Me Lightly?

    Hamsters may bite you lightly because they are scared, curious, or providing a warning when you are dealing with them too aggressively. Let’s cover each one in more depth so you can know why your hamster is biting and what to do next.

    Why Does My Hamster Bite Me Lightly
    1. Scared: As mentioned earlier, when hamsters feel cornered or scared, their go-to action is to bite. It’s really the only defensive action they can take because they’re small prey animals that mostly try to avoid or hide from conflict. But if they feel cornered or scared, they won’t hesitate to bite with their small, sharp teeth. If this happens, give your hamster some space and leave them alone for a little bit. That will help them calm down and relax.
    2. Curious: Hamsters are naturally curious animals because they like to explore and roam. However, when they find something interesting that they want to investigate further, they may use their mouth and teeth to take small, light bites into the object of their attention. This isn’t an aggressive behavior, but rather your hamster just being curious and there’s nothing to worry about or do in this scenario.
    3. Providing a Warning: The last last reason why a hamster may bite is that they’re providing a warning if you’re handling them too roughly. Think of it like them giving a warning saying, “That’s too rough, be a little gentler.” So it’s not necessarily an aggressive or curious action, but somewhere in the middle. Take this light bite as a request to either put them back in their cage or give them a little more freedom.

    Hamsters may bite you lightly for a few different reasons. If they take a small nibble, try to figure out why they did that and take the appropriate action to make them feel more comfortable. Hamsters aren’t naturally aggressive so then they bite it’s usually for a good reason.

    Hamster Bite Drew Blood. Now What?

    If a hamster bite drew blood it’s important to immediately take the following steps:

    Hamster Bite Drew Blood. Now What
    1. Clean the wound: Hamster bites can cause infections so it’s important to immediately clean the wound to prevent an infection from occurring. Wash the wound with water and soap, remove any dirt or debris, and use a clean cloth or towel to to dry the cut. Don’t apply too much pressure or scrubbing because that can increase the possibility of infection.
    2. Apply a cold towel: Next apply a cold towel and hold it on the wound applying medium pressure for 10 minutes. Then remove the towel for 10 minutes and repeat this process 2 to 3 times. This will stop the bleeding and prevent any swelling or additional pain.
    3. Apply antibiotic ointment: After the bleeding has stopped, apply an ointment, such as Neosporin to help reduce the potential for infection. You can apply this ointment to a bandage and then place the bandage on the cut.
    4. Keep the wound dry: Finally, keep the wound dry and ensure it’s dry before placing the bandage with ointment. Moisture can increase the risk of infection and cause other potential issues. When you wash your hands or shower, take off the bandage, thoroughly dry the cut, and reapply the ointment and a new clean bandage to keep swelling down.

    If you happen to get bit by your hamster and the bite draws blood, ensure that you take the proper precautions to reduce the risk of infection, swelling, and pain. It’s important to take these steps immediately after the bite occurs.

    And finally, if you notice any issues, such as continual pain or swelling, talk to a doctor to ensure there’s no infection or cause for concern. Hamsters can carry infections and diseases that are passed onto people in the event of a bite. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen so it’s vital to address any health issues as soon as possible.

    What to do if a Hamster Bite Won’t Stop Bleeding?

    If a hamster bite won’t stop bleeding, apply continual pressure until the bleeding stops. Once it stops, place a bandage with an antibacterial ointment, such as Neosporin to prevent further infection.

    What to do if a Hamster Bite Won't Stop Bleeding

    While hamsters are small, their teeth are sharp and their bites can draw blood. If that occurs, it’s important to take the proper precautions to stop the bleeding and prevent infection. The best way to do this is to clean the wound, apply pressure, and then a bandage with antibacterial ointment. While this works in the vast majority of cases and hamster bites shouldn’t cause continual bleeding, there are situations where it can worsen.

    If you are taking blood thinners or an anti-inflammatory like Advil or Tylenol regularly, the risk of continual bleeding may occur since the blood won’t easily clot. If this occurs, you may need to see a doctor to cauterize the wound to close the open wound.

    Always consult with a doctor in these situations since the effects can vary from person to person. It’s important to address any wounds immediately to prevent the risk of further injury or infection.

    Can a Hamster Bite Kill You?

    While it is rare, a hamster bite can and has killed people in the past due to infection or allergic reactions. It’s not common, but you may not know of an allergy or disease that the hamster is carrying and thus it’s vitally important to take the proper steps to prevent further injury or death.

    Can a Hamster Bite Kill You

    You may not think that a small hamster bite can result in death, but it has happened. You won’t die from bleeding out because a hamster’s bite is small and the wound normally heals over quickly, but hamsters are animals and all animals can carry disease that leads to infections that can worsen if not addressed as quickly as possible.

    This is why it’s vitally important to quickly clean the wound, apply the proper medication, and see a doctor if your condition worsens. It may seem trivial or even embarrassing, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

    Also, allergic reactions are common and can worsen from a hamster’s bite. And the worst part of allergic reactions is you may not even be aware you’re allergic until the bite occurs.

    If you are bit by a hamster, take the proper precautions immediately. While rare, a hamster’s bite can result in infection or the transfer of a disease that can be potentially fatal in humans. Always treat every cut and wound as serious and see a doctor if you have any concerns or see a worsening in your health after a hamster’s bite.

    Additional Reading

    If you’d like to read more about hamster behavior or explore some of the products and related content mentioned in this article, check out the links below to other helpful resources on this site and others. From toys to other types of hamster behavior, the most important tool you have in your belt is knowledge.


    And there you have it! If you’ve made it this far, you know a good amount about hamster bites, why they occur, and what to do in the future to avoid them. For all intents and purposes, hamsters are wild animals and it’s important that you always remember that. Animals can carry disease that can lead to infection or you may have an unknown allergy that causes severe health effects in response to a bite.

    Hamsters may bite because they’re feeling scared, cornered, curious, or aggressive. For any reason, it’s important to know why a hamster bit you so you can avoid that type of behavior in the future. Keeping your hamster happy, comfortable, and feeling safe is important to avoid any aggressive behavior or biting.

    Finally, always remember to consult with a veterinarian for any professional advice specific to your situation to get the most up-to-date and reliable information for your hamster to live a long, happy, and comfortable life.