Around 884 out of 1000 households in the US have hamsters as pets. These fully energized furballs are peaceful with humans and are lower-risk pets than other traditional pets. Even though there is a recent surge in acquiring hamsters as pets, most people still worry about keeping these cute rodents as pets.
The main issue most people have with keeping hamsters as pets is that their bite is quite awful. The tiny teeth of hamsters are strong enough to make puncture wounds in the flesh. Most people who own hamsters also complain about this issue.
In this post, we will discuss the benefits of keeping a hamster as a pet, learn about the repercussions of a hamster bite, and how to train them, so they don’t do it.
Benefits Of Keeping Hamsters As Pets
There are many advantages of keeping hamsters as a pet; some are listed below.
The hamsters are quick learners and do not require an extensive amount of time in training sessions to teach them how to be obedient. They do not need to learn where to litter as well, unlike dogs and cats who are trained to do these things.
Spending some quality time with hamsters to bond can make them more social.
They Are Affordable
The second benefit is that hamsters are very affordable in terms of buying hamster food pellets and cages for the pet. You will only need a normal-sized home for a hamster with some features that mimic the natural environment in which wild hamsters live.
Furthermore, hamsters can eat anything containing a lot of fiber and live their entire course of life. The one-time investments will include extra bedding and a cage with a wheel.
Hamsters love running on wheels. At the same time, the monthly expenditure will only be on food, treats, and of course, the sessions with the vet.
Although hamsters are resilient and hardly get sick unless you have given them a lot of protein and sugar, making digestion difficult for them, they do not need many vet sessions after yearly vaccines.
Unlike cats, who demand their owner’s attention, and dogs, who would do any funny tactic to play with their owners, hamsters are always in their bubble. They can live happily in isolation without any attention for a day or two. Hence, hamsters are very low-maintenance animals that require a less emotional connection.
It’s Fun To Watch Them Act Cute And Stupid
The fuzzy balls are packed with positive energy, and the dumb idea of running on a wheel is quite entertaining for some people.
Hamsters are great companions for mentally distressed people who want a time out from reality. They enjoy the funny little ways in which hamsters perform their daily activities.
Great Companions For People Who Have Trouble Sleeping At Night
Hamsters are the best nighttime companion for people who pull off all-nighters or have trouble sleeping at night. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so they are active at night to keep their owners company and play with them.
Can Live In Small Spaces
You do not need a big kennel or an expensive unique aquarium to keep a hamster. The little rodents can live in tiny spaces, which include desk drawers, shoe boxes, or small cages that can fit into any apartment or a small house.
The Cleaning Up For Hamsters Is Easy
People who are quite fussy about cleaning up after their pets or always have issues with cat vomits on the neat floors or dog feces in their gardens can take hamsters as pets.
Even in cages, the hamsters choose one particular corner as their toilet and keep other areas of the cell clean, so owners only need to clean up that part of the cage.
With so many benefits, why do people still feel hesitant about owning hamsters as pets? The reason is that they are afraid of the hamster bite.
Why Do Hamsters Bite?
There are many reasons why hamsters would bite a human, even if it’s their owner petting them.
The Hamsters Cannot See Clearly.
One of the primary reasons for a hamster bite is that hamsters cannot see very well. They have a strong sense of smell; if they smell something on their owner’s hands that would feel like food, hamsters can pin their teeth to their owner’s fingers.
This usually happens when the hamsters are very hungry because, in usual circumstances, hamsters prefer plant-based food items even though they are omnivores.
Your Hamster May Be Physically Hurt
Another important reason which accounts for most of these bite incidents is that a hamster may be hurt somewhere, and while you take it in your hands, you accidentally touch that area.
This would cause pain and panic for a hamster who feels vulnerable because it is hurt and might feel threatened for life if you place a hand on the spot. It would result in an immense reaction in the form of a bite.
Your Hamster Is Irritated
Another logical reason behind a hamster bite is that these little creatures get scared quickly, and their only defense is their teeth. This usually happens when they are new to the surroundings and have not created a trust bond with their owner.
Have A Resilient Nature
Some hamsters are difficult to tame and train as they have spent quite some time in the wild and have become more resilient with time.
This issue is familiar to the adult hamsters people adopt from the streets. Instead, if a baby hamster is taken as a pet, it takes much less time to train the hamster and familiarize it with its surroundings.
Effects Of A Hamster Bite
Hamster bites are common, so what happens if a hamster bites you? Many things could happen, yet there are chances nothing will happen. It depends if the hamster is vaccinated or if it is not suffering from a disease. Here are some common effects of a hamster bite and some worst-case scenarios.
Although hamsters are low-risk pets, a bite will not have any adverse effect if they do not have the following conditions.
However, the following diseases can be transmitted to humans if their hamsters have them and the owners don’t clean up the wound with antibacterial and antiseptic solutions.
If you don’t wash up the bite wound in an instant and apply antibacterial on it, there are chances that you can contract ringworms from a hamster.
This directly affects the skin of a human, developing a ring-like rash anywhere on the body; that specific area gets itchy and scaly. At the same time, hair loss is also triggered through it.
Contact the nearest dermatologist if a rash develops after the bite.
Most hamsters in the US are at risk of this disease. Once a person gets bit by a hamster with rabies, there are almost zero chances of survival. The virus multiplicates in no time and immediately affects brain functionality and the spinal cord.
The disease occurs due to salmonellosis bacteria which can be found in some hamsters. The effects include cramps, diarrhea, and stomach infection that could lead to fever. However, the disease is curable with antibiotics.
Another bacterial disease that you can contract from a hamster is Tularemia. This is quite a dangerous disease as it creates skin ulcers, mouth sores, and inflammation. It also triggers pneumonia. If you have prolonged contact with a hamster with Tularemia, you can also get this transmitted through the air.
This is a virus-borne disease discovered in rodents and can transmit to humans. The effects are high fever, nausea, stiffness in the body, and headaches. It can also be transmitted if bare hands are in contact with the feces of a diseased hamster.
The virus is treatable with antibiotics and a few days in the hospital.
How To Stop Hamsters From Biting You
There are many ways to stop your hamsters from biting you. You can start by using unique tricks and small pets on the head to create a bond and familiarize yourself with the hamster. Then, offer your clean hands to the hamster so it can leap in itself rather than trying to grab it forcefully.
Offer your hamster treats so it knows that you are a friend, not a foe. Then, start trying to take out the hamster from its cage and play with it.
In this way, the hamster will never bite you, and if it does, then always clean the wound and monitor it for symptoms for a week at least. If you feel perfectly fine, your hamster does not carry the diseases mentioned above.
Hamsters are safe pets if they are vaccinated and have received training that makes them feel protected in new surroundings. We hope this information helps people overcome their fears and adopt hamsters as pets.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more