Hamsters bite when they want to dominate or when they need to defend themselves, and this is their normal behavior, but sometimes they bite themselves.
When you see the hamster biting itself then it surely worries you and you wonder why this phenomenon is happening.
Why do hamsters bite themselves?
When the hamster bites themselves, it means that it may have an allergy, mites, injuries, or is under stress from its environment.
When hamsters are bored and do not have enough activities, this can be a reason for them to start biting themselves. So you have to do something to prevent him from biting himself.
In today’s article, find out why the hamster bites itself and what to do to stop this habit.
What are the reasons for a hamster to bite themselves?
When a hamster bites itself it is not right, and this kind of trampling happens for a reason.
The most common reasons why hamsters bite is:
- fur mites
- overgrown teeth
- genetic factor
Obviously, there are several reasons, so in the following text, we will see in detail about each of them and how you can help the hamster to stop doing this.
A hamster bites itself due to stress
When a hamster is under stress, it is anxious and nervous and may start biting itself.
Hamsters can be stressed by something going on in their environment and as a result, they will start biting themselves.
Then the stressed hamsters start biting the fur and may even bite the skin. The most common causes of stress in hamsters are:
- too many hamsters in one cage – then the hamsters become nervous and get stressed resulting in biting themselves. The competition for food and the small space itself takes its toll and the hamsters become depressed and stressed. Especially Syrian and Chinese hamsters are prone to this phenomenon because they do not want to share the cage with other hamsters.
- due to territorial fights – when hamsters fight each other, and they usually do it because of dominance in their space, some of them will end up with injuries that at first glance look like the hamster bit himself. Although it also happens after fights, some hamsters bite themselves, more precisely those who are defeated in the fight.
- due to isolation – when hamsters are lonely and isolated, although they usually live like that, problems with their mental health can still occur. When hamsters face social isolation they lose weight, become aggressive, and may bite their fur for fun.
How to prevent stress in hamsters?
Stress is dangerous for hamsters, not only because it causes them to bite themselves, but it also causes diseases and dangers for their lives.
Here’s what you can do to make your pet less stressed:
- more attention – hamsters need attention from their owners to make them feel better and more satisfied, which will reduce their stress. Talk to the hamster and play with him from time to time, and let him out of the cage to run and be happy and satisfied.
- enough toys in the cage – the hamster needs toys, an exercise wheel, ladders to climb, and other objects that will make him happy and of course, reduce his stress.
Hamsters are very active and they often climb in the cage, and on objects, and can get injuries to their body that need time to heal.
When hamsters have injuries they lick their wounds and that’s why hamsters seem to bite themselves.
If the hamsters have small wounds from the injuries they will heal on their own, but if the wounds and injuries are deeper and more open then you will have to take them to the vet.
This is necessary because, on the contrary, the condition may worsen and bacterial infections may occur.
Hamsters are often groomed to maintain their hygiene. Sometimes we may misjudge that the hamster is biting itself, when in fact it was just grooming itself.
Therefore it is best to check the hamster’s body to check if it has any wounds or injuries because if there are not then there is no need to worry, it was just grooming your pet.
Allergies cause hamsters to bite themselves
When hamsters have allergies, it will start to irritate them and they may start biting themselves.
Hamsters often get allergies from:
- the bedding
- cleaning products
- artificial colors
- certain food
If you notice that the hamster is scratching and biting itself, try changing something in its cage to see if and what it is getting an allergy from that causes it to bite itself.
When hamsters have mites on their fur it causes them to constantly scratch and bite themselves.
Symptoms of mites are the following:
- movement problems
- loss of fur on certain parts of the body
- irritation and scratching
- the hamster gets nervous
the mites negatively affect the hamster and then it can be noticed that it is more active than usual behavior. When hamsters have mites, it can be noticed by the appearance of tiny black dots on the fur itself.
And the skin becomes red and inflamed around the:
- the feet
- the nose
- the ears
That’s why all these problems when your pet has mites cause them to bite themselves.
To get rid of mites in hamsters, you should first take the hamster to a veterinarian to determine which type of mites it is, and how far they are spread throughout their body, and then he will do therapy or treatment for cure.
Acaricides are usually used to treat mites in hamsters, but in addition to the treatment, the area where the hamster lives, i.e. its cage, will also have to be disinfected.
It will be necessary to completely disinfect the toys, the exercise wheel, and all other items that are in the cage.
Genetic factors cause hamsters to bite themselves
Some studies show that some hamsters bite themselves more than other hamsters.
Genetic factors may therefore play a role in why hamsters may bite themselves more.
Of course, apart from the genetic factor, it is only part of the reasons that can contribute to hamsters biting themselves.
Hamsters are by nature very active animals that move around all the time which helps keep them healthy and happy. If the hamster is bored and has nothing to do, it may start biting itself.
That’s why he needs to have enough toys, tunnels, and an exercise wheel to be active and not think of biting himself.
The more enrichments there are in his space the less likely he is to bite himself. If the hamster has all the necessary toys in the cage and bites again then you should take it to the vet for an examination.
Read more: Why Does Hamster Bite Bars in a Cage?
Hamsters have teeth that are constantly growing, and therefore they need to reduce them all the time.
If the hamsters do not have enough toys and other objects in the cage to reduce their teeth, they will start biting themselves.
If you notice that the hamster does not chew properly, does not eat enough, and starts to lose weight, then you should take it to the vet to examine it and if necessary reduce its teeth.
Hamsters sometimes know how to bite themselves, as a result of some problem with their health.
For example when hamsters are nervous, when they have mites, and when they are lonely they may start biting themselves.
When hamsters are injured or have wounds, they may groom themselves, and you may think they are biting themselves.
Therefore, pay attention to your pet when he bites himself, to find out what the problem is with this habit of his and how to help him stop doing it.