The hamster bit me!
First of all, do not confuse bite (blood bite) and pinch. Most time, the hamster clamp. In a few rare cases, it even bites. Really aggressive animals are really rare, in many situations it is a problem of context, not of behavior. Which means that a hamster that “bites” (or clamps) once will not especially start again.
The most common reasons for “bites”:
- You surprised or frightened him, it didn’t see you coming, or you woke him up with a start;
- You over tightened it, you hurt it;
- It was scared and you cornered him in a corner;
- Your fingers had a smell that made him “bite” (food, scented soap, cat, etc.)
- You were holding it and a noise or an external fact frightened it;
- The animal is territorial;
- You misinterpreted his body language.
When handling your hamster, always wash your hands with clean water to avoid odors on your hands. Approach him gently, talk to him and show him that you are here. Give him a way out, never shake hands and handle it in a park or in a chair.
Learn to “read” your pet, recognize the signs of behavior (when he wants to go out, when he wants be quiet…). The “behavior” part of this book will give you some hints, but it is especially important to the mutual taming between you and your pet that is going to play. A simple example: most people believe that a hamster that puts itself on its back wants caresses, whereas this is the defensive position: it will bite.
Cree and body language
A serene, rested and happy hamster will have a calm attitude, ears neither too upright nor bent towards in the back. When he stretches and yawns, it means he feels confident. The same is true when it does a very long time its toilet.
Hamsters are much less silent than many people think. They have excellent hearing, and they communicate with each other by high-frequency sounds not perceptible by the human ear. The oral communication between these animals is almost as important as that exerted by smell. The hamsters are able to pick up even the weakest sound sources in their surroundings. They then turn around their heads and extend their ears in all directions to better locate the sounds.
When the hamster is angry or it is in an attack position, it stands on its hind legs; he sometimes inflates the jowls and slams his teeth. It can also emit a sound that looks like a growl in most time, he keeps his mouth open. This sound is also emitted when you annoy the animal, even if it is not in an attack position.
When the hamster is afraid, it makes a series of cries, from a light to aggressive foliage (in the hope of scaring off the opponent). The ears are folded back, and when touched, it can roll on the back and stretch the legs upwards to protect you (This is not an invitation to pet him on the belly, hamsters hate it!). Some domesticated hamsters sometimes use screams (it’s quite rare) to communicate their impatience or irritation to their master (we saw hamsters asking come out screaming).
Sometimes the hamster screams when it hurts or is really surprised. However, in pain, the hamster is a rather silent animal. Don’t wait for him to scream to go to a veterinarian if there is a problem.
The hamster on a walk will show you many behaviors. Regularly, it stops, with his ears up and his leg lifted, like a hunting dog. He then heard a noise he doesn’t know or smelled an unknown smell, and tries to find out what it is. When it crawls or walks close to the ground, is that it doesn’t feel comfortable, and it’s afraid of predators. It tries to listen and feel his environment. It is an observation position, without aggressiveness.
Sometimes the hamster licks your hand, which is not a sign of affection. Either you wear the smell of a female or another hamster, or by licking that smell, It identifies it. Either it has a salt deficiency and the is filled by licking the salt off your skin.
In its cage, the animal must not be apathetic; it will usually do some wheeling, running a little from left to right, climb to the bars, or even walk upside down on top of the cage! Nothing alarming. If your hamster climbs up to the top, drops and starts again and again, it is missing of exercise!
The wild hamster’s jowls are used to take seeds it finds on the way to his burrow. These collected seeds will be useful to him for periods of freezing when it will hibernate. The domestic hamster has kept this instinct to reserve and have a good time. Some even use their cottage as a seed reserve while they are sleeping in another nest. In nature, this would correspond to the different tunnels and caches in the burrow. We must not try to go against this nature that is the way it is reassures you to have seeds within reach. However, make sure that no perishable foods are added.
The hibernation of Hamster
The hamster uses hibernation as last resource against cold. In the wild, hamsters hibernate at the coldest periods.
This requires some preparation: stockpiling reserves of seeds and materials for the nest, such as moss, clog the entrances of its burrow, gradually slow down the metabolism of its body to finally live in slow motion, eat less and sleep more. It is therefore not advisable to leave a domestic hamster go into hibernation. This would greatly weaken his system and would prove to be dangerous for him.
The hamster goes into hibernation when the temperature is between 10 and 5 °C. This varies greatly from one animal to animal. Anyone who has spent his whole life in a room at 25 °C can hibernate at 13 °C. If you find your hamster hibernating, do not change his room too brutally. A strong temperature increase would have an even worse effect. It is best to put it in a temperate room (just one or two degrees warmer than where it was) and let it wake up. Do not handle it, do not take him out of his house, and do not try to heat him up too quickly.