I write on many subjects in addition to pet hamster care and wellness.
How Do Hamsters Get Injured?
Small animals are prone to falls, drops, and other mishaps. If they get dropped accidentally, they can suffer a serious injury. Oftentimes, if the drop is high enough, the fall could be fatal. This is why you should be especially careful when you are carrying your hamster.
As a general rule, never let your hamster loose in your house, as this could result in them getting injured. They love to jump, run, and play, and they can easily injure themselves if you don't take preventive measures. Let's talk about how to keep your hamster happy, healthy, and safe.
Signs Your Hamster Is Injured
- Inappetence or anorexia
- Labored breathing
- Sudden aggression
- Squeaks or cries of pain
- Sleeping more than normal
What to Do If Your Hamster Gets Injured
How Serious Is the Injury?
I'll quite often get an email or a call from a person saying, "I dropped my hamster, now what do I do?" What you need to do will depend on how seriously they were injured. A hamster dropped from several feet onto a hard surface or floor can suffer broken bones and serious internal injuries. In such a case, if your vet advises, having it euthanized is the most humane thing to do. If it is bleeding from its mouth or having convulsions, it is probably not going to survive, but if it just broke a toe or leg, the veterinarian may be able to help them.
Take Your Hamster to the Vet
If you suspect that your hamster is seriously injured from a fall or other cause, take it to the vet to be checked. Don't let the little animal suffer—it may well have to be euthanized, but this is the best thing to do if it is badly injured. Have a good vet's contact available before you ever need one, and don't wait until the last minute to find a vet or it may be too late.
Avoid handling an injured hamster unless it is absolutely necessary. If it is injured and you need to pick it up to go to the vet, wear thick gloves so it won't bite you (you may accidentally drop it again!). Transport them to the vet in a covered cardboard box if you need to.
Addressing Minor Injuries
If a hamster is injured and in pain, it may stop eating; if this happens, you're going to have to visit the vet to get it treated and get pain medication (this often happens if it has a broken rib). With pain medication and hand-feeding, it can survive if you give it a lot of care and spend extra time with it. Ask the vet about how to hand-feed an injured hamster and what to feed it.
Hopefully, the injury won't be as serious as you think. With luck, the vet will be able to help your hamster and before long, your pet will be back home with you.
How to Prevent Hamster Injuries
Here are some general guidelines to follow by that will help you to keep your hamster safe:
- Handle With Care: Use care when handling a hamster so that it doesn't suffer a bad fall. They squirm, and an excited or scared hamster can nip you, causing you to drop it. If you're going to hold them, sit down on the floor or on a bed; it will not suffer as bad an injury if it falls onto a soft surface like a bed.
- Supervise Children: A child should always be supervised when interacting with small pets. When holding a hamster, the child should always be on the floor or on a bed; teach them how to be gentle.
- Watch Household Critters: If you have a cat in the house, you must ensure that the cat cannot get ahold of the hamster in any way and injure it. Same goes for dogs and other potentially predatory species.
- Provide Adequate Housing: Hamsters, especially dwarf hamsters, can get through holes you would never think they would be able to. If it is in a wire cage, the wires must be close enough together so that they cannot escape between them.
- Prevent Cage Injuries: If you have a door that drops down on the cage, make sure you fix it so it can't slam down on a curious hamster. Install a spring or a twist-rod to prevent the door from closing too quickly.
- Use a Hamster Ball: Consider buying a plastic ball in which the hamster can travel and explore your home safely. They go inside the ball and can then wander around the house and explore safely.
- Use a Safe Exercise Wheel: Not only can hamsters suffer a broken bone from a fall, they can injure themselves running on their exercise wheel. Back when wire wheels were in common use, hamsters often injured their legs and toes and suffered sprains from catching extremities in the wires of the wheels. But with the new solid exercise wheels, they suffer far fewer injuries. Also, the new exercise wheels are a lot quieter.
- Prevent Fighting: If you try to keep Syrian hamsters (Teddy Bears) together, they will fight, sometimes to the death (the same goes for breeding). Russian Dwarfs can be kept in small groups if the cage or tank is large enough.
Common and Uncommon Hamster Illnesses
There are many other conditions besides injuries from a fall that would require a visit to the vet:
If you see that your hamster's rear area is wet and it stays wet, this is a condition called wet tail, and it requires treatment by a veterinarian. Wet tail is a serious disease, and your veterinarian will likely prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
What Does It Mean If My Hamster's Tail Is Wet?
Hamsters get wet tail from being kept in cages that are not clean. Your hamster's bedding needs to be changed at least once a week, and the cage, tank, or enclosure needs to be cleaned with warm, soapy water and be completely dry before you put the bedding back into the cage.
Just like on a person, a small wound should be cleaned and treated with antibiotic ointment per your vet's recommendation. Keep the wound clean and dry, apply an antibiotic, and the wound will likely clear.
If you see an otherwise healthy hamster suddenly lose patches of hair, it may have mites, and you should take it to the vet. You'll need to take its cage outside and clean it very well.
Note: Never buy a hamster with patches of missing hair. If you have healthy hamsters at home, you may bring mites home to them.
If you suspect that they are constipated, you will need to schedule an urgent visit with the vet to have the issue resolved.
General Husbandry Tips
Here are a few other things owners need to know:
- Nail Trimming: You can trim your hamster's nails, but you will have to use extreme care as to not cut off a toe or foot, and you should wear gloves so it can't bite you. If you don't feel comfortable trimming its nails, take it to the vet.
- Teeth: It's perfectly normal for their teeth to be yellow (no, you don't need to brush their teeth). But you do need to provide them with wooden chew sticks so their incisor teeth will be kept worn down.
- Environment: Keep them in an environment that is between 60 and 80 F. Avoid drafty places for the tank or cage. Also, be sure that you don't place the tank in full sun because it can heat up quickly and injure or kill them.
- Diet and Nutrition: Be sure that you know what foods your hamster should and should not eat.
- Hygiene: Hamsters can and do catch bacteria from their human friends, so always wash your hands before and after you handle them. If you know you're sick, then don't handle them because you can make them sick too. Sick children should also be kept away, especially if the child is running a fever.
A Little Love Goes a Long Way
Now that we've discussed the many ways to keep your new friend happy and healthy, consider the ways you can enrich their current environment. Remember, all animals need stimulation, socialization, and engagement to keep them well, so find ways to enhance your hamster's environment. Enjoy the companionship!
Haley and winter on June 05, 2020:
My hamsters eye is turning like a grey color... I don’t know what’s happening can anyone tell me what’s going on..?
Marien Rodriguez on May 28, 2020:
my dog bit my hamster and i’m not sure what do because it is having a hard tome breathing
Hamstermomlayla on May 19, 2020:
Hey. My hamster started bleeding alot the other day from getting a nail popped out by the cage. I quickly cleaned it and started the treating at home. The bleeding stopped and he seems alot better but today i noticed swelling. There aint vets that care for hamster nearby. What should i do? Should i put ice on it?
MS on May 11, 2020:
My male dwarf became aggressive with my female dwarf and in a scuffle my female has become injured, she has a small cut on her leg, what do I do?
Sal on May 09, 2020:
my brothers hamster was found lying in a corner unconscious and after we tried to get her up and going we checked if she was choking and we think she had a broken rib that punctured her lungs but we lost her. is their any reason this would happen, her caige has ladders up twice but we don't think she fell because she has been using them for months.
And it looked like she was gasping for air, she was cold but then she stopped.
linda hammy mom on January 04, 2020:
My 1 year and 4 months old syrian keeps licking my hand i dont know why and he runs extremely fast although hes not skiddish.
Emalee on January 02, 2020:
my hamster got out of his cage awhile ago but he is back. when he got back we saw that some hair was missing and he looked injured. we waited for an awhile and it is getting bigger. what should I do about this? it is very worrying
Lisa on December 06, 2019:
My hamster's finger got caught in a tiny crevice in his wheel and I pushed it out but he kept biting it so now it is bloody. I'm not sure what to do. He keeps licking the hand which makes sense but when i try to help him he bites me and them bites his hand.
Julie on November 28, 2019:
When I picked up my hamster to hold her she randomly ran and jumped out of my arms she fell head first out of my arms and onto the floor she’s sleeping and I’m so scared it’s 10:00. She started hiccuping and wobbling around and I don’t know what to do I have no access to a vet and I’m so scared to tell my mom and dad is she gonna die? She can’t be put down there’s no vet here so is she going to die slowly?
A parinoid 11 year old on October 21, 2019:
I dropped my hamster when taking her out of her cage and she got a nosebleed,I instantly got a piece of cotton and tried to make a blood clot, I'm scared if something bad happened during the fall,Should I take her to the vet or not?
Letitia on August 17, 2019:
My hamsters got a broken leg I don’t know how she has done this and I don’t know what to do she is dragging her leg so she’s only walking on 3 legs and she keeps on rolling on her back and she can’t get back up I not sure what to do because vets can’t help tiny little bones
Lisa Setchell on July 21, 2019:
hi i have a hamster called oreo and he has a hind broken leg but there is no bone sticking out and he is dragging it what should I do please help
Caitlyn on July 02, 2019:
I was carrying my hamster back to his cage, when he ran up to my shoulder and jumped off. I was kneeling so it wasn’t a big drop, however, he is very big and heavy so he got injured by the fall. He laid on the floor not really moving for a minute, then he got up but wasn’t moving/using his hind legs. I am suspecting he got paralyzed because he usually gets startled if he is suddenly touched, but doesn’t get startled if I touch his back side or legs. He is crawling only using his arms atm and drags his hind legs. Is there a chance he is just stunned? Or is there any other signs to look for, for paralyzed hamsters?
yeehaw I'm dying on April 28, 2019:
Hi my male hamsters toe is bleeding everywhere and we've tried to put polysporin on it but he wont stop running on stand i don't know what to do.
Eli on April 22, 2019:
My hamster some how got into the basement and when we found her about 2 weeks later she wasnt walking in her left leg what should i do
natanel on April 04, 2019:
my hamster got into a fight with another. I managed to pull him out quickly before anything serious may occur but I noticed a rather big hole in his right cheek. He screamed and panicked for a while but now he's a bit calmer and stopped screaming. He's really small and I can't possibly patch him up. What should I do with him? Will he take care of himself?
Unknown on March 27, 2019:
My hamster got trapped in a wired cage and after caring for it I can’t see its hand and only reason red it bird so I can’t get close
Paige on January 07, 2019:
Hi my name is Paige and we own to male hamster last night my brother was sleep walking and put both of them on the same cage the wrestled a lot and ink the on that is ingred got beat up a lot he has a lot of Scabs And bite marks And he is the Younger one with less fer and all he has done is sleep and I sometimes see him at his water or his food but not often had he is keeping his head down and eye close to closed and I am worried can you please help me
Emily on January 05, 2019:
My hamster got its leg bitin off by another hamster what cani do im scared im 9 years old
Mia on December 30, 2018:
I have two females and the names are nibble and button one day as i was putting them food accidentally woke them up and put the food quickly but as soon as that they came to eat but nibble (white one) bit button (the brown one) and it is bleeding so im not sure what to do please help!
Ana mendoza on December 23, 2018:
One of my hamsters testicles is growing and it has purple and yellow
Katelyn on December 11, 2018:
My hamster got his arm stuck between the bars on the cage and it was bleeding it has stoped now but u can see his hair on his arm came of a bit and there is a cut and he can not move it and he keeps licking it.what do u think i should do?
Brian on November 29, 2018:
I have two female hamsters, they always play chase, one will tackle the other and bite it, I thought it was cute and playful, but it just got worse. A week later there was a serious fight at 1:00 AM, and one was squeaking. The one that was squeaking was on its period, so I thought the other one was helping clean that one, but that wasn’t what was really happening. They started chasing each other, and one pinned the other, and bit it’s foot. I immediately removed the mean hamster, and tried to clean up the bullied hamster. And now, mid afternoon on that same day, the bullied hamster is not moving much, eating, or anything at all. I don’t know what to do, I’m scared she seems like she’s hurt REALLY BAD!!! So please someone tell me what to do, I love my little furry friend!
christine on November 23, 2018:
what do I do i have twin hamsters got in a fight and one of them is bleeding I tried to stop the bleeding but it will not stop what do I do help please I don't know what I'm going to do if I lose her she is my best friend so help and tell me what to do
Bella on October 24, 2018:
So my girl Syrian hamster got out of her ikea detour cage that I split and got to the other side and attacked my boy Syrian hamster and my boy hamster falling my girl got him hert! He has an open wound a little slit and a little blood on the top it’s not like his whole face thought it’s only one side and it extends like a big scar I know how bad this could be I cleaned his face with cold water and a little bit of soap and used baby wipes I then use silver sulfadiazine, again I’m not an expert so I’m worried that he might get infected or he could get worse what do I do what sights do I look out for please I need your answer as fast as you can I would hate for his scar to get worse
Lily ried on October 07, 2018:
Hello my hamster got crushed by my little sister while she was doing sit ups he just squeaked and peed but will he be okay as he seems fine he is running walking and eatting well and he is doing fine or should I take him to the vet ?
Chase on October 01, 2018:
I was letting my Robo hamster run on my bed last night and he fell off and hit his head he was stunned and bleed from the nose a little I put him back in his cage and he cleaned his nose of blood I checked on him through out the night and he was fine running around in his wheel like normal. In the morning I feed him a few suns flower seed hearts and he ate them fine and still seem to be ok I just want to know if there anything I should do to my sure
ell on September 13, 2018:
my two robo dwarf hamsters got in a fight and one ended up injured and bleeding...he doesn't show any signs of serious injury but i separated the two anyways. please help i don't know what to do now!!
Anna on July 05, 2018:
You say you loved your hamster, you are not an animal lover in fact do you?
Why did you not take her to vets straight? How the f..k even think of step on her to make her die? You supposed to run to the vet ASAP and not think of how to kill her.
You some people just disgustingly unable to take care of a pet, I wish all of the freeky owners get what they deserve in the end. Finished.
Veryworried on June 21, 2018:
Hi! My husband was cleaning my hampsters cage. My 3 year old dropped a rock on my hampsters in the container she was in while cleaning. We thought she was dead but was still breathing. It fell on her upper body near her head. She is still alive but can barely move. She won't get up but can barely move her front or back legs. What should we do???
WON!WON! on May 25, 2018:
Please help,my dog reached up and snatched my russian dwarf hamster out of the ball while i was cleaning the cage... And for the longest time she didnt move, She's been shoving her head into the bedding and breathing rapidly. HELP. I dont know what to do
Joshua on April 29, 2018:
So I was moving my hamster from her cage to go play with her downstairs right and for some crazy ass reason she decides it's an amazing time to practice skydiving and of course she lands and her neck is bent backwards so I'm panicking like a motherfucker so I just click it back into place and then she acts like nothing happened like wtf btw this was about 5ft high onto a wooden floor head first (p.s she died last year from old age she was 4 yrs old this happened when she was 2)
Vanesa on April 09, 2018:
My hamster hurts her small toe and it’s bleeding, how can I help her cure?
Darsini on April 05, 2018:
Around a week a go one of my hamster was bitten by it's mother(she was pregnant; I have already moved it to another place) and it's tail was bleeding. I tried to take her so that I can check on it injury but it during come to me as it still isn't used to me yet. Yesterday I noticed that my young hamster's tail looked weird and one of its paw was red and swollen . It was also limping. So I had it transferred to a storage box as I was worried that it might be affected and the other hamsters might oso contract it. I am really worried about it . What should I do ?
Alyssa the bitch on March 30, 2018:
help! on February 25, 2018:
My hamster has blood around his eye and there is a cut should I take him to the vet or not.
- thank you
Jin on February 12, 2018:
My hamster just gave birth few days ago and has been taking care of her litters well. But last night, while I was out, my other hamster which is pregnant from another cage escaped and got inside my mother hamster's cage. They got into an ugly fight. I separated them right away when I found out. The mother hamster is badly injured. Her left arm has a big bite wound and her left eye is kinda busted (though I cant really tell because it's covered with blood). As of now she's still nursing her babies. There is no vet in our area so I dont know what to do.
1. Can I touch the mother hamster to treat her wounds? If yes, what kind of antiseptic should I use that is safe for nursing hammie?
2. Do you think my hamster will survive?
3. Worst case scenario and she dies, what should I do with the babies?
4. Why did the other pregnant hamster attack the mommy hamster?
Isabelle’s on January 06, 2018:
How about if a hamster is going to try and get through your bed and you try to push it away and it gets injured and the hamster is to weak to move or get up and fall down
Isabella on January 05, 2018:
My hamster fell and got injured in her nose. She was bleeding but I stopped the bleeding. Now she’s making weird noices while breathing. What should I do? :(
brenda on December 02, 2017:
so my hamster died today. i left a little of the top of the cage open last night and this morning my mom found him on the floor a few feet away from the cage. Note that the cage was on a shelf. The hamster was laying dead but was still breathing. he was taking big breathes until he stopped breathing. he didn't move and his eyes were HUUGEE!!. i think that he escaped him cage, hit his head on the glass table below the shelf, and he hit is head when he hit the floor, and he kept walking but he couldn't so he fell. I let him suffer but my friends said i should step on him but i didn't want to or i would feel more depressed. I BELIEVE that happened bc how the hell can a hamster in its cage like on a shelf appear to be on the floor the day after?? I loved her so much but me and my dad will do a funeral tomorrow and dig her up in the soil :(
Rose on November 28, 2017:
Please, please, please help! We have a dwarf hamster and she has deep gashes on both sides of her neck. We have a cat and all sign show that the cat got to her. She's in the corner of her cage shivering. We are a bit ecomonimically challenged. What can we do? Please help, I really don't want our hamster to die. We just got her two months ago and she's the sweetest thing. Please, please, please help me.
Scarlett on November 09, 2017:
Hello! I have 2 dwarfs hamsters and this afternoon I found one of them screaming cause the other was attacking it, the bottom of the hamster was all bleeding and looked really sore, he’s also got blood on some of his back to.. I read on a website that when hamsters are happy their ears are up, he used to be really friendly and always had his ears up now he’s quite to himself, I’ve split the 2 hamsters up in different cages cause I didn’t want to risk him getting hurt anymore, what should I do about this?
Nayeli on October 06, 2017:
I have a gerbil and today my dog got a hold on him. he limping now and the dog got a hold on his tail. What should I do?? Help!!
Hartsa on October 01, 2017:
Please help! My hamster im not sure what type it is, has a swollen rib, it seems to be squashed but its still alive but is refusing to eat and is running away whenever i touch it (its usually not like this) the front part is all squashed im scared it might die please what should i do?
Sandra on September 13, 2017:
Hi there we have a rat and a hamster and we put the cages a bit too close and the rat got a hold of our hamsters leg. It is swollen and shes limping now. We have no vets in the area thats willing to treat hamsters, please advise. Thanx
Ash on August 28, 2017:
My dog took my hamster from my hands while I was holding him and ran off I grabbed the hamster her seems to be fine no bleeding but should I take him to the vets just to be sure
Please! Before it's too late!!! on July 28, 2017:
Please! Help! What should i do?? I have a pet guinea pig (teddy bear type) and he always love to play outside of his cage (i mean my whole house) and one night, when he is outside of his cage, i suddenly found him bleeding and i think some little pesty rat bite him, i dont know what to do! Mom used a wet wipes so he will stop bleeding, i really love my Squeak-squeak (his name) i dont want him to die! Please!
help!!! on July 10, 2017:
my hamster ZeZe's eye is swollen and there is a circle around her eye pls help
Morgan chambers on June 29, 2017:
My hamster got it's paw stuck in the wire it is purple and was bleeding what do I do
Armonie Dunner on June 22, 2017:
My hamster is so fat and it can't get up it can't eat and it can't drink water because it is to fat and it is so weak so I am so scared it is going to die
Christen on June 14, 2017:
I woke up this morning and my hamsters one foot is missing what should I do?
Lydia Laughland on June 06, 2017:
I have three roborovski hamsters, and one of them, Spot, is very aggressive. He has already injured one of them, Nutsy, by biting his legs and now it is bleeding he attacks the other one as well but not as much. I tried separating them but it was driving the aggressive one crazy. Is there another way of training/educating them to be together without fighting?
Alyssa on May 29, 2017:
My hamster has a 3 story cage and his wheel is on the 2nd floor and he fell off and then he fell down to the 1st floor and he is linping now and I just got him 2 days ago PLEASE HELP MY HAMSTER
Hailie on May 16, 2017:
My Hamster had his wheel fall on him and he's only 3 weeks old!!! I think he broke his arm and leg on one side and may have internal isuess I'm really scared that he might pass away and I don't want to bring him to the vet because my vet would most likely put him down. He's not in any pain so I'm really wondering what I should do. He moves his head around like he has brain damage but like I said he's not in any pain. What should I do?
Cassandra on May 08, 2017:
PLEASE HELP!!!My baby hamster lives with 2 other hamsters and for some reason I think he gets bullied by them? One day almost all his fur was gone? I don't know what is going on!! And now my baby hamster is just limping but breathing and he looks like he has a broken back and his legs don't look like they function properly?he doesn't move but he breaths. He might be dying?What do I do?
Vanessa Greene on April 29, 2017:
My mother hamster had baby it's been 2 weeks today I went to check on the baby's and I found one of the baby with scratched up eye,bleeding head and bleeding nose what should I do
sierra on April 25, 2017:
Im really scared because I was going to give my hamster a treat and i think the bag scratched his butt. It looks red but im not sure if its a vein. Help Im worried!
Ella on April 12, 2017:
My Syrian hamster named Storm I took out of her cage and sat down on my bed she was carawling too fast and she jumped off of my hand and hit the wall. I picked her up because she wasn't moving and I sat with her in regret of holding her at night. She wasn't moving until I checked her limbs to see if they were broken. Nothing looked injured so I put her in her cage and kept an eye on her. The next morning I loooked at her face and she had the biggest bruise on her nose. I don't know if I should bring her to the vet or not. Any help?
Esther on March 23, 2017:
I was with my dwarf hamster after 20 minutes or so i forget shes with me sleeping by my teddy bear, then i THINK i accidently hurt her bc i put my hand on her with probably too much pressure for a little thing like her. I will never forgive myself if she broke bones. i'm scared
Kyla on January 23, 2017:
My friend dropped her hampster and he blacked out then blood or red colored mucous came out of his nose has an abcess on his stomach and she thinks he cracked a rib !!!!!! Please help !!!!We cant let epe DIE!!!!!!!!!
Ellie Dilbert on January 10, 2017:
I need help fast my hamster is bleeding after having a fight what should I di
Israella on January 05, 2017:
My hamsters bum is bleeding PLEASE HELP ME
Dylan on December 23, 2016:
my hamster fell from hogh distance because my cat pushed the cage off
Jazmine on November 11, 2016:
I believe my robo hamsters were fighting and one has injured the butt of the other what should I do
Annette on September 10, 2016:
Help! My iPad fell on my Chinese dwarf hamster and it hurts its arm and maybe it's leg
It started shaking a lot but after I pet it a little it calmed down and seems to be walking fine, but whenever it stands or sits or cleans itself its arm seems in pain.
eMeRaLeD ThE HaMsTeR on August 17, 2016:
My Russian dwarf hamster won't walk and will crawl with its head tilted almost like a person trying to hear through a door and its little face looks like it's in pain (it has been dropped a few times) but it was fine this afternoon and there are no vets near our area what do I do???
Dani on May 26, 2016:
My hamsters arm is bleeding, I believe that his brother had bitten him or they got into a fight last night, he's not limping but I'm worried.
Kirby West on May 19, 2016:
My hamster was trying to climb on me and I accidentally moved and fell about 3 feet onto a hard surface, He did survive the fall but didn't move for a split second, he looked like he was in pain and limped for a minute but started to walk again perfectly fine, I gave him fresh water and is about to see if he will eat anything to see if he has a broken rip or something.
ElizabethHuston on May 11, 2016:
2 of my female winter hamsters got into a fight and I do not have the money to go to a vet currently. One of my hamsters was injured and it's lower body is covered in dry blood, what should I do? Also I did separate the 2 hamsters.
vanessa on May 05, 2016:
I need some advice as I was cutting the knots off my hamster as he has long hair and my nephew knocked my hand and the scissors cut my hamster skin and I don't know what to do as I don't have any money to take it to the vets and I don't know what I need to heal it myself and im really worried as the cut opens and closes
on March 24, 2016:
Jade on March 23, 2016:
Hi I really need some help, my hamster fell of my friends bed and when she fell she fell on her back and was laying there with her hands up and she screeched and just layed there till I picked her up, she's fine now running around and eating as useual thou she's gone back to bed now I checked her over and her ribs seem fine as she's running around and her feet, her teeth are okay thou I'm scared just in case there's something round with her, please help c
Izz on December 16, 2015:
My hamsters got into fight and one of them is bleeding(female). I don't know how to heal it . help me with this problem please .
darren on July 26, 2015:
tonight will i opened my cage to get the food bowl out and fill it up i cought one of my hamsters babies in the cage i think i have snaped its spine it cant move its bottom half and can only crawl what should i do iam so up set :(
marc on April 13, 2015:
can you help me.the feet of my hamster was caught in the door of its cage when hes was crawling in the bars of its cage.I see that it was injured and it cannot move his feet.pls help me!
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 24, 2014:
I would keep it as quite and calm as possible and take it to a small animal vet if at all possible.
henry palencia on November 24, 2014:
I need help my hamster was dropped as my little brother was holding it and it appears to have its right hand broken and its right leg either sprained or broken
Elli on October 26, 2013:
My hamsters bone is sticking out but its not the rib
Eiddwen from Wales on January 04, 2013:
Another great hub on these wonderful little pets. Again I vote up,across and share all around.
Neat hamsters do not require special care. They clean their own wool and wash themselves. But you need to clean the cage every week or as it gets dirty. The bottom of the cage is washed out with soapy water once a month.
You cannot bathe a dzungarika in water. For this purpose, the hamster uses a sand bath. It is up to the pet to decide when its coat needs cleaning. Most often, a sand bath is needed if the fur is matted and has lost its luster. The kid gets pleasure from bathing, flounders in the sand and at the same time the fur is cleaned.
Such an uncomplicated care for a Dzunganrik hamster at home guarantees him a joyful, cloudless life.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF DWARF HAMSTERS
If you’re planning to keep a dwarf hamster as a pet, you might have the question of how to take care of dwarf hamsters? As you know, hamsters require lots of sleep, but they want to be busy exploring, foraging, and digging when they are awake.
If you find your hamster chewing the cage’s bar and even trying to escape, this is a clear indication that they are bored, or their environment is either not big enough for them to run and play.
Ensure you provide your hamster with toys and activities to keep them fit, healthy, and happy. You do not have to buy everything. Your hamster will greatly appreciate homemade items and even tissue roll tubes.
Dwarf hamster cage size
Despite dwarf hamster’s small size, they need ample space to run and play, and the actual floor space is an essential factor for their wellbeing. Many cages sold for hamsters are way too small, giving enough room for movement and enjoyment. The suitable cage size for a dwarf hamster is 80x50x50 cm (32x20x20 in). Of course, the bigger the cage, the more active and happier they become. Here’s our guide on how to choose the right hamster cage.
Food and toys
Dwarf hamsters are active creatures. They need various items and other toys to give them chances to exercise, explore, and play. While they do love time outside of the cage to run around in a hamster-safe environment, there are a lot of things you can put inside the cage to provide their needed exercise.
These toys can be hamster wheels and saucers, chew toys, climbing and hiding dens, tunnels, deep bedding for burrowing, sand for cleaning their coat and bathroom business, and even stones or rocks to trim their nails.
A bowl of food and a bottle of fresh water should always be available to your pet dwarf hamster. You can consult your veterinarian if there are any sudden changes in their behaviour or any fur loss going on.
Nowadays, you can find hamster food formulated explicitly for dwarf hamsters. This commercial food has all the vitamins and minerals your hamster needs. You can also feed them with little amounts of nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, eggs, and chops of veggies from time to time. However, make sure to keep a tab because too much fat and sugar is dangerous for them. Best avoid toxic foods like almond, avocados and chocolate.
Educate yourself and research as much as possible
Remember, most pets, especially small animals like hamsters will live shorter lives than you. Taking home a hamster means you’re getting a new family member. Though your hamster may only be around for a few years of your life, this new family member is going to spend the rest of its life with you.
By adopting a pet, be sure to educate yourself and research as much as possible to give your new family member the life it deserves. Sometimes that means sacrificing your own time, adapting yourself to fill in your pet’s needs, or making a considerable effort to provide the right environment. Remember to check hamster forums or visit us, we provide common answers on how to take care of dwarf hamsters, and we always update them.
Other dwarf hamster care tips
Everything is new to hamsters when you first bring them home. Give them a couple of days to get comfortable in their new habitat. You can do this by leaving them alone for a few days to settle down and explore their cage independently.
Like any new friendship, it takes time to get to know someone and be comfortable with them. That being said, wait a little longer before you pick your hamster up. After a couple of days, you can start taming your hamster to gain their trust.
Are hamsters good pets? Why do hamsters carry food in their pouches? Should hamsters be kept as only pets? What do hamsters need to be healthy and happy? What’s involved in looking after a hamster? What do hamsters eat? Are hamsters friendly? Will my hamster bite me? We answer some popular hamster queries.
They may be small, but they’re very interesting. Here’s what’s covered in our handy hamster Q&A:
- Is it true that hamsters prefer to live on their own?
- How intelligent are hamsters?
- Why do hamsters sleep during the day?
- Are hamsters vegetarian?
- Why do hamsters carry hamster food in their pouches?
- Do a hamsters’ teeth really never stop growing?
- Will my hamster nip me?
- When were hamsters first kept as pets?
- Are hamsters good pets for children?
- What treats are safe for my hamster?
- How can I get my hamster to take treats from me?
- What toys will my hamster like to play with?
- How can I tell if my hamster is happy?
- How long do hamsters live?
Is it true that hamsters prefer to live on their own?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s only the larger Syrian hamster who prefers a solitary life – dwarf hamsters like company and prefer to be kept in same sex pairs or groups. In the wild, Syrian hamster adults generally inhabit lone burrows. Other species naturally live together in groups.
There are 24 different species of hamster and those most commonly kept as pets are the Syrian, the Dwarf Campbell Russian, the Roborovski, the Chinese Dwarf and the Dwarf Winter White Russian – each with a distinctive look and personality to match.
Syrian Also known as teddy bear or golden hamsters, Syrian hamsters must live on their own as they are territorial and will start to fight with each other once they’ve reached maturity, which is between eight and 12 weeks. Syrian hamsters form close bonds with their human and, if raised and handled correctly, will be your small furry friend for life – as demonstrated by Syrian hamster Treacle, who was recently given a Blue Peter award. Billy-Jo Howe, from Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, wrote to the show to say how much of a difference her hamster, Treacle, has brought to her life during the most recent lockdown. The 20-year-old, who lives with autism, told the BBC: “Since having Treacle a lot of my carers and other people have noticed how much happiness and joy she has brought to me and she keeps me calm. She never fails to put a smile on my face. She is so friendly, she understands my autism, she is placid, she is a perfect hamster."
Dwarf Campbell Russian Although nocturnal, Dwarf Campbell Russians are often awake for short periods during the day, unlike other hamster species. When it comes to handling them, time and patience is required to let them build up their trust and confidence as they may be inclined to nip if they feel nervous or threatened. These hamsters are social and can be kept in same sex pairs or small groups as long as they are from the same litter or are introduced at a young age.
Roborovski The smallest of the hamster species, Robos measure just two inches when fully grown, although they have longer legs than most dwarf hamster species. They have sweet little faces with endearing white patches where their eyebrows are. These hamsters are teeny, tiny bundles of energy and are generally best kept as a pet to watch, rather than to handle. Robos are highly active, social creatures, and should be kept in same sex pairs or small groups. Their housing needs to be big enough for them to race around with each other and create burrows.
Chinese Dwarf With their large dark eyes and short prehensile tail, Chinese Dwarf hamsters have the charming ability to grip, using their feet, body and tail to wrap themselves around their handler’s fingers, rather like a harvest mouse. Although more timid than other hamster species, outside their cage they can display sudden, short bursts of activity. If startled by a strange noise, they will dart with lightning speed into the nearest hiding place, so a watchful eye is needed. They can be kept in single sex pairs.
Dwarf Winter White Russian Sporting beautiful sapphire, pearl and sapphire-pearl coats, these hamsters are very small and compact, reaching just 3-4 inches when fully grown. Sweet and friendly, Winter Whites have less inclination to bite when nervous than the Dwarf Campbell Russians. However, their small size and quicksilver ways means they can be a challenge for young children to handle safely. In the wild, Winter Whites live in family groups. As pets, they can share their home with same sex littermates in pairs or small groups.
Happy hamster tips
- Some dwarf hamsters enjoy interacting with people who handle them carefully, although others prefer exploring their enclosures, making use of any toys or objects you give them. You can have hours of fun building them interesting new set-ups to explore.
- Never, ever mix different hamster species and only keep same-sex pairs or small groups to avoid fights and/or the patter of tiny hamster feet.
How intelligent are hamsters?
Hamsters are endlessly curious and intelligent. With a little time and patience, they can be taught their name, pick up routines easily, litter train themselves and can be trained to come when food is presented or to perform simple tricks.
These small, nocturnal rodents have poor vision, so your hamster will not get to know you by sight, but by scent. Animals.mom.com advises: “The process of socialisation is meant to introduce your scent and voice to the animal. During the first two days, you will simply hold your hand in the hamster's cage. On the first day he may not even come near you. Eventually, once he senses there isn't a threat, he'll come to investigate and sniff your hand. Don't make any sudden movements. Continue this until the hamster crawls into your hand. Do this until he seems comfortable, then slowly move your hand to pet him gently. After a few more days, your hamster will be comfortable with you handling him and will come to know you and your scent.”
Why do hamsters sleep during the day?
Hamsters, both wild and domesticated, are nocturnal. In the wild, they come out mainly at night or during twilight to avoid predators. Although pet store hamsters don’t have predators to worry about, they follow the same chronobiological patterns, meaning they’ll be asleep a lot during the day.
Are hamsters vegetarian?
In their natural habitat, wild hamsters eat grasses, seeds and grain. And, although they are often thought of as herbivores, they are actually omnivores and need protein in their diet to keep them healthy. The best feeding time for a hamster is in the evening when they start to wake up. As a nocturnal animal, this is breakfast time.
Nutrition-packed nuggets specially designed for hamsters are the best choice – steer away from ‘muesli-type’ mixtures as hamsters may pick out the bits that are high in sugar, which can cause painful problems with their teeth, and discard other parts leading to an imbalanced diet.
Burgess Excel Hamster, Gerbil and Mouse contains only the best quality ingredients to provide your pets with a balanced food that replicates their natural diet to help them stay happy and healthy and prevent selective feeding. At Burgess, our hamster food is created with the highest quality of ingredients, to ensure the dietary safety of your pets, and outstanding texture and taste. Our nuggets incorporate wholegrain cereals, vitamins and minerals for slow release energy and help support overall health, while our Timothy hay has a high fibre content to aid digestive health and stimulate chewing – for dental health.
- Rather than just putting food in a gnaw-proof ceramic bowl, scattering it around is a great idea as it encourages natural foraging behaviours and your hamster will love rummaging around to find tasty titbits.
- Add extra fun by hiding hay, hamster pellets or fresh greens inside paper bags or cardboard tubes. Not only is searching out food an enjoyable task, but your hamster will also love shredding the packaging you hide it in, which all serves to enrich their life.
Why do hamsters carry food in their pouches?
Native to the arid landscapes of Syria and Turkey, hamsters evolved their cheek pouches so they could take full advantage of food wherever it happens to turn up. When you’re a very small animal it’s not always practical to eat what you’ve found right there and then – particularly if you’re at risk of becoming a hot lunch yourself. So, it makes perfect sense to stuff what you’ve foraged into your cheeks to take back to your burrow to eat it in safety. This is a natural behaviour that our pet hamsters continue to do with the food we supply them with. And, as hamster cheek pouches don't contain saliva glands, everything is kept fresh and dry during transit.
Do hamsters’ teeth really never stop growing?
Like all rodents, hamsters’ teeth grow continuously. Because of this, hamsters need to munch on things to keep their teeth healthy and stop them getting overgrown, including:
- Tasty, high-quality Excel Timothy hay
- Untreated softwood such as hawthorn, hazelnut, pear, poplar or apple wood – give these a good clean and bake them on a low heat for an hour before you offer them to your hamster
- Wholesome Excel Gnaw Sticks, which are made from willow, apple and hazel wood
- Chewing, gnawing and shredding stuff is a natural hamster behaviour, so provide a variety of things for them to get their teeth into such as cardboard, coconut shells, hay cubes, pumice stone and seagrass
Will my hamster nip me?
Because wild hamsters live mostly underground, only venturing out at night, they don’t need great eyesight. At birth, hamsters are completely blind and, in adulthood, can only see a few inches past their nose. This means that they’re easily startled by sudden movements and, If they are disturbed from sleep, may nip.
Check out these top handling tips from Petopedia:
- A hamster will never bite unless there is a reason Many people are nervous when handling hamsters due to the fear of being bitten. Yes, being nibbled can hurt, but with gentle handling to begin with and time hamsters can become fabulous little furries who will sit in your hand, enjoy a stroke and thrive in your company.
- Wash your hands Syrian hamsters have very poor eyesight and rely mostly on the sense of smell and touch. If your hands smell like food… you can bet he or she is going to want to have a little nibble and taste what smells so yummy!
- Let them wake up first Being most active usually during the night, these little ones will likely not be up and awake when you want to handle (after school/work/during the day). As such it’s very important to wake them up by gently talking to them and perhaps shuffling some of the substrates before you try to pick them up. If they aren’t given a couple of minutes to wake up first, you might have a very grumpy hamster and that’s not the best start to a handling session with them.
- Be gentle Hamsters are sensitive to touch and grabbing or poking can startle them and make them nervous to handle. Always scoop them with both hands gently when picking them up and stroke them very gently (avoiding the nose and whiskers). If your hamster is a little too jumpy to pick up safely, we recommend using a plastic cup to get you started. By scooping them into a cup you can move them safely from A to B without worrying about them jumping out of your hands until both you and your hamster are more confident with handling.
- Little and often Aim to handle your hamster for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time to begin with. Short and gentle sessions will teach your hamster that handing is nor a long or scary process and he will be back in the safety of this enclosure in no time. This can go a long way to building his confidence.
- No fingers in faces As hamsters don’t have the best eyesight to differentiate things up close, when you approach them with a hand or a finger toward their nose it can be very scary. This can make them nervous, cause them to nip or run away.
When were hamsters first kept as pets?
In 1930, zoologist Israel Aharoni led an expedition to look for Syrian hamsters in Aleppo – returning with a family of them. The offspring were then sent to different universities and institutions, including London Zoo, and from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s started to become popular pets in the UK.
Are hamsters good pets for children?
Even though hamsters are often a child’s first pet, their needs are quite complex, and they can easily be injured as a result of careless handling. Looking after a hamster is too much responsibility for a child and an adult should always be responsible for ensuring hamsters are properly handled and cared for. Their nocturnal habits can be disappointing for children as they’re ready to explore and play when it’s bedtime.
What treats are safe for my hamster?
As a treat, you can provide a tiny portion of hamster-safe, fresh veg a couple of times a week. Animal charity PDSA advises that the following fruits, vegetables and herbs are suitable for hamsters. Make sure you give them a good wash first and be aware that too much green food can cause diarrhoea.
- Veg: Carrot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chicory, spinach, sweet peppers, cucumber, cress, courgette
- Fresh herbs: Basil, sage, parsley, coriander
- Fruits: Apple, pear, peach, melon. NEVER feed citrus fruits, rhubarb or grapes to your hamster
How can I get my hamster to take treats from me?
Hamsters are prey animals, which means loud noises, sharp movements and touch can make them a little jumpy to start with. Unsurprisingly, it will take a little time before they are happy to be handled or feel confident enough to accept treats from you. Here’s how to help them along:
Am I in danger? As prey animals, hamsters think anything approaching is a potential predator – even you. Don’t loom over them (as a predator in the wild might), but crouch down to meet them at their level.
What’s happening? Keep your approach slow and steady – small pets can be easily startled and will simply run for cover. Speak to them in a soft, happy voice as you gradually get closer.
That looks like it could be tasty! Offer some food, so they learn to associate your approach with something good happening. If your hamster won’t come close enough to take food from your hand, lightly toss the food to them whenever they come in your direction. Wait until they come a little closer each time before offering food again, while continuing to talk to them in a soothing voice.
I think I’ll risk it. If your pet does take the food, sit beside them and continue chatting to them. Then, offer them another treat. If your pet looks comfortable and doesn’t back off, you could try giving them a gentle stroke. Do this every day and your pet will begin to approach you, creating some magical animal moments.
On my own terms Timid hamsters may take a while to gain confidence, but every pet is an individual and it’s essential that they choose to interact with you on their own terms – and it’s that which makes it so rewarding. When your small pet decides that he or she trusts you enough to want to engage in some hand-feeding time with you it’s a great result!
What toys will my hamster like to play with?
When they’re awake, hamsters like to keep busy and enjoy exploring, foraging, running and climbing. A solid, wide wheel (don’t use one with spokes) will help with their natural instinct to run (a useful ability in the wild so they can make a swift escape from predators) but they’ll also want plenty of spaces and sensations to explore.
For happy hamsters provide them with cardboard tubes to run through and chew and, as they love to climb, a selection of wooden ledges. Hamsters also enjoy a roll around in a sand bath as part of their grooming routine, so set up a shallow tray filled with some chinchilla dust.
When it comes to toys and accessories and fun things to gnaw on, make sure your hamster has plenty, such as a Gnawing Tunnel or two – perfect as a hide-away, something to scramble through and over, to snooze in or just chew to pieces.
Add a Hanging Log made from a sturdy piece of hazel to scamper across, and a Bolted Balance Bridge to navigate. Some Mini Stars scattered around will provide some chewing fun, which are great for their teeth as well as adding enrichment. Or how about a super stylish Hamster House, with two storeys, ladder and climbing wall? The perfect abode to nibble away on some tasty nuggets that have been carefully stashed away.
How can I tell if my hamster is happy?
Watch your hamster closely and check out their body language. A yawning hamster is pleasantly sleepy and comfortable. Relaxed grooming, stretching, burrowing in the bedding, collecting food, and lively acrobatics in the cage are all signs that life is good for your hamster pal. Leaping into the air signals high spirits and reveals he or she is in a very good mood indeed.
How long do hamsters live?
Typically, hamsters live for up to two years, although some may live for longer.
As with any pets, there are a lot of things you can do to maximise their lifespan and ensure they live a healthy, happy life. Keeping them in clean and safe conditions, providing high quality food and fresh water, things to gnaw on and making sure they are not put in stressful situations will all help your hamster feel safe and secure. However, if you notice a hamster is acting out of sorts, it’s always worth getting them checked out by your vet.
Is your hamster a Burgess hamster? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.
If you found this interesting, you may also like:
CREATE AN IDEAL HOME FOR YOUR HAMSTER Find out how to provide these small, smart rodents with the des res they deserve.
TRUE OR FALSE? HOW WELL WILL YOU SCORE IN OUR FUN HAMSTER QUIZ? Small and interesting, hamsters are one of the world’s most popular pets. But how much do you know about them and their fascinating hamster ways?
HURRAH FOR RODENTS! BUT WHICH SMALL PET IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Small pets can make wonderful companions, but before you take the plunge into the fascinating world of small furries, it’s essential to think about how the relationship is going to work? Find out as much as you can and you’ll be well on the way to creating the perfect small pet partnership.
BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL PETS Enriching the lives of our small animals will help them lead their best pet lives. We’ve lots of ideas for things you can introduce to keep things interesting for small furries.
WILD AT HEART Many generations ago, the ancestors of our small pets lived in the wild. Understanding how their wild relations live can help us meet our small pets’ needs so they have the right environment, company and nutrition to thrive.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE A HAPPY PET Wheek-wheeking, bruxing, dooking, chirping, binkying, popcorning – there are all sorts of ways our pets tell us they’re feeling good, once you know what to look for.
Caring For Your Hamster
Hamsters make great pets but, as with any companion animal, do your research so you understand their needs and requirements for a full, happy life.
Are Hamsters Good Pets for Kids?
Contrary to popular belief, hamsters might not be the best pets for kids, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA ) . Hamsters can bite if startled or handled roughly. In addition, they are small and delicate so they need to be handled gently. Even older kids should be supervised when holding a hamster.
Also, hamsters are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and have their fun at night. Placing a hamster in a child’s bedroom may interfere with the child’s rest: The hamster’s nightly activities might wake the child and make sleep difficult.
What Kind of Cage Does My Hamster Need?
AAHA recommends that hamsters be kept in an aquarium rather than a wire cage. “Aquariums are better than cages because cages might have bars that their feet can get caught in and break,” according to the association. “A well-ventilated aquarium with a top that seals so your hamster can’t push up on it and escape is best. Line the aquarium/cage with shredded paper (newspaper or paper towels) or recycled paper bedding (no shavings of any kind), with a mound in a corner – hamsters love to burrow.”
Keep your hamster’s living quarters at room temperature. Avoid areas that are either excessively cold or warm. Clean your hamster’s living quarters regularly.
Do Hamsters Need Exercise and Toys?
Yes: Hamsters need lots of exercise. Provide your hamster with a wheel on which to run. Hamsters also like to hide and crawl through tubes. Put tunnels in your hamster’s cage to keep him entertained as well as to provide exercise.
Also, hamsters’ teeth are always growing. Provide chew toys or a block of untreated, unpainted wood to gnaw on to keep his teeth healthy.
What Do Hamsters Eat?
Your hamster should be provided with a commercial pellet diet. These diets are complete and will provide all your hamster’s nutritional needs. Seed and nut diets will not. You can supplement your hamster’s diet with fresh vegetables. Feed your hamster in the evening, when they are most active.
Hamsters can store a large amount of food in their cheeks. To the novice guardian, a hamster with full cheek pouches may look strange and even cause worry, but this is perfectly normal for all hamsters.
Water is also important for your hamster’s health. Be sure your hamster has clean fresh water at all times.
Can Hamsters Live Together?
Hamsters can be aggressive toward one another. If you elect to house more than one hamster in the same living area, AAHA recommends choosing hamsters of the same sex and purchasing them at the same time. Avoid introducing a new hamster to other hamsters who have already become accustomed to their home. Doing so will result in fighting and possibly in injuries.
Lots of shelters and rescue groups have adoptable hamsters. Be sure to check Petfinder’s adoptable hamster listings to see if there are any for adoption in your area.
Toys for Hamsters
Hamsters need to be active and have enrichment so they don't get bored and overweight. They also need chew toys to keep their teeth neat and trim. There are a variety of hamster toys that are designed to be chewed so your hamster's teeth can be properly cared for and an exercise wheel will allow a hamster to run as much as they want. Special balls can also be purchased to allow a hamster to run around safely outside its cage and cute houses and other climbable options exist to provide your hamster with ample exercise.