Why does my hamster keep biting me?

Why does my hamster keep biting me

Is it normal that my hamster keeps biting me? While I love my hamster, she keeps biting me and it drives me crazy. Why does my hamster keep biting me? I decided to have a look at why my hamster bites and what I can do about it so you can stop your hamster from biting too.

Why does my hamster keep biting me? Hamsters bite when they’re afraid or feel threatened. It’s a natural reaction for a hamster as a way of defending itself against natural predators. The good thing is that you can train your hamster to stop biting you. Let’s look into what that means and what you can do about it. 

So, you now know that hamsters bite when they are afraid or when they feel threatened. The logical next question would be, why does my hamster feel afraid or threatened at home? 

Is my hamster aggressive?

It’s not likely that your hamster is aggressive as they are not known to be aggressive creatures.  It’s just an animal very low on the food chain. This means it has lots of reasons to believe that the world is a dangerous place. Hamsters are skittish and this in turn means they will be scared easily. If they don’t have anywhere to hide quickly, they will defend themselves, by biting you. You can’t really blame them though, can you? 

Why does my hamster keep biting me at home where it should feel safe? 

You might have had your hamster for a while, set up a nice home for it and maybe you feel like your hammy is a part of your family now. But does your hammy feel the same? 

When you bring your hamster home, it’s very important to give your hamster time to adapt. To get used to their new surroundings. There are many new smells and sounds and this will be scary for your hamster. 

If you have just brought your hamster home, just give it some time to get used to you and its new home. Try not to pick him up for a couple of days. 

If your hamster has been with you for a while, more than a couple of weeks, he should really be used to his new surroundings. However, your hamster is still more a wild hamster rather than a pet. 

As hamsters are reliant on their noses for many things in their lives, it will help to put a cloth with your scent in your hamsters’ cage. 

Just take a piece of material and rub it on your skin, then place it in the cage. This way your hamster will smell you all day long and will slowly get used to your scent. Then when you pick your hammy up, you are not so much of a treat anymore. 

When are hamsters more likely to bite? 

Hamsters are more likely to bite when they are scared, startled or feel threatened.  

This means you will want to avoid these situations.  

If you watch your hamster closely and often, you will get to know your hammy’s behaviour better. How does he react when he wakes up? When does he sniff around his cage? 

When does he come out of his hiding place? 

When you try to pick up a hamster after he has just woken up, you can expect a bite. A bit like many people when woken up from their slumber.  

Another bad time to pick your hamster up is when he’s eating. Let your hamster fill his belly before you pick him up. 

Sudden movements don’t help either. Remember, in nature your hamster has many enemies, and many are no more than a shadow that comes overhead! 

Can you train your hamster to stop biting? 

A hamster is not an animal you can train as such. You could give a dog treats to make it do or stop doing certain things. With hamsters this doesn’t really work. 

In fact, I would argue that you will need to train yourself to behave in a certain way, so your hamster stops biting you.  

Let’s have a look what you can do to stop your hamster from biting you. 

How to stop your hamster from biting you 

Now that we have established that your hamster needs to feel safe and secure and that biting is nothing more than a natural reaction to feeling threatened, it’s time to have a look at what you can do to stop your hamsters biting. 

  1. Have patience.  

Your hamster is out of its natural environment and needs to learn that he’s safe. This will take some time and you will need to give your hamster this. Be patient, don’t rush! It could easily take a month, sometimes even more, to win your hamster’s trust. But remember, be patient and persist and you can build a strong bond with your hamster. 

  1. Get your scent in your hamster’s cage. 

Make sure that your scent is there all day, even when you are not. Use some material and rub it on your skin so your scent transfers onto it. Then simply place it in the cage. The best place for this would be near your hamster’s bed.  

Make sure you don’t use material that frays as you don’t want your hammy to get hurt. 

  1. Talk to your hamster. 

When your hamster is in its cage, this is a great time to talk or sing to your hamster. Do this in a nice soft voice so it doesn’t sound threatening.   

You can talk about your day, sing a song, read a book. Anything to make your hamster get used to your voice, to you being there and to you not being threatening. 

  1. Move slowly 

When you are approaching your hamster or its cage, move slowly. Don’t startle your hamster. If a big shadow suddenly appears your hamster will be scared for sure. Slowly does it. If you can softly talk at the same time, even better. 

Same goes for when you want to pick up your hamster. Put your hands in slowly. 

However, when you are still getting used to your hamster, you can just pet it rather than pick it up for a week or so. Then try to pick it up the week after. 

  1. Check your hamster’s mood 

When you slowly put your hands in your hamster’s cage, stop to let them smell your hands. 

They rely on their smell and now that they are so used to yours, (you did put the scented cloth in the cage, right?) they are much more likely to be ok to be picked up. 

If your hamster moves away, they might not be in the mood for interaction. Which might be your cue to leave them be at this time. 

However, your hamster might be very happy to climb onto your hand and let you pet it. 

  1. Bribe them. 

Bribing is a great way to interact with your hamster. Offer your hammy a nice treat before you pet it, pick it up and while you hold it. This is a win/win situation as your hamster is happy with the treat, you get to hold it and all the while you are bonding. Over time your hamster sees you as a source of treats rather than a treat which is what you want. 

You don’t need to have a treat ready all the time. The more your hamster gets used to you, the easier you can pick it up. 

Your wild hamster is now becoming a pet! 

Why does my hamster keep biting me after all the steps above? 

If you hamster still bites you when you have implemented all the above steps, there is a big chance that you try to pet your hammy at the wrong times.  

Go back to step 5 and find out what your hamster likes and what not.  

Do you wake your hamster during the day? This might happen without your knowledge. Maybe you come into the room making lots of noise, have loud music on, have pets run into the room, have your hamster in a room where everyone comes home to at the same time? 

You might think ‘oh hammy is up, let’s have a cuddle’ while in reality your hammy is half asleep wondering where the treat will be coming from next! 

Can I wear gloves to stop my hamster biting my skin? 

While you can wear gloves in the long run the situation might get worse rather than better. 

After all you want your hamster to get used to you, which you do by getting it used to your smell. If you wear gloves, your hands will be protected from bites, but your hamster can’t smell you and will feel more threatened and will therefore be more likely to bite you. 

What to do when your hamster keep biting you? 

Stay calm. 

While it’s not nice to get bitten by your hamster, if you put in the work and stay patient, it will get better over time. Don’t react strongly when you get bitten.  

Don’t drop your hamster, shout at it, handle it roughly or try to yank it off your finger! 

Your hamster is not aggressive, its scared. Aggression from your side, however, will make it more scared.  

Stay calm and loving towards your pet. Always.  

How do you get your hamster to stop biting? 

You will need to build trust with your hamster if you want her to stop biting you. Make sure you handle her often, though start slowly. Don’t feed your hamster through the bars of the cage, as she can confuse fingers for food. Also have clean hands before handling your hamster as she mainly uses her nose, not her eyes for reference. 

 Do hamsters bite to show affection? 

Yes, hamsters do show affection, but it could be that you don’t see the signs as they are quite different to human signs of affection. Your hamster could yawn and stretch, start playing with toys or run faster on their hamster wheel when you are near, or try to come close to you when you are around.  

Why does my hamster bite me lightly? 

It could be that your hamster is looking for attention. When you handle your hamster often and he’s getting comfortable around you, it could be that your hamster is looking out for you when you are around. 

Why does my hamster bite my finger? 

Most hamsters are not actually aggressive, but they can be scared and bite if they are not handled often. If you do handle your hamster often, it could be that your hamster is confusing your finger for food, so wash your hands before you handle your hamster. 

Do hamsters bite to show affection? 

No hamsters don’t normally bite to show affection, however they can be fond of you and give you a little nibble to get your attention.  

Read more: How Long Does it Take for a Hamster to Trust You?

How do you tell if a hamster loves you? 

There are some clear signs which show your hamster loves you. It could be that your hamster stays near you even after eating his treat. Your hamster might show off when you are near, like playing with toys or running faster. He might come running to the edge of the cage when he hears you. He might nestle in your hand and let you stroke him when you handle him. 

Do hamsters give kisses? 

Hamsters don’t give kisses themselves. It’s normally people giving hamsters kisses. While some hamsters are ok with this, it’s not actually a very good idea. A hamster might become frightened and bite you. It could also transfer possible diseases to you.  

Are hamsters smart? 

Hamsters are actually quite smart and can even learn to recognise their own name! Unfortunately, they are not conceived as smart by many people so training hamster is not really a thing. 

Conclusion to why does my hamster keep biting me?

Always remember that your hamster is unlikely to be aggressive.

It’s more likely a food related misunderstanding, a sign of affection but above all a sign of fear.

So train yourself to be calm around your hamster, to give your hamster time to get used to you and to wash your hands before you handle your hamster.

I hope this information will help you to build a stronger bond with your hamster!

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Stop your hamster from biting