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Old 02-17-2019, 03:19 PM   #1
Lonaa1x
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Question Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

I got my little hammie Cotton in January last year with im assuming her sister Nibbles... I had to separate them as they were fighting (a little irrelevant but abit of the back story)

Ever since she settled into her cage a custom built one the same as VanillaHamHam on youtube (i think maybe 3ft x 1 and a half) she would come to the glass and scratch on it whenever she wanted attention or treats or fresh food and water.

She has always done this thing where she nibbles on my fingers and nails but never bite. We played this little game where she would bite (i say bite but wasnt hard or painful) just enough to dangle from my finger and i would place her somewhere else in the cage and then rustle in another part where she would come running to find me to play again. She was never rough and only a few times got a little to excited and would bite harder but again normally excited or if she had fell from my finger (dont worry only a few cm and she was never hurt) so she would grab on harder... When she wanted to stop she would just stop chasing the finger and do something else.

However lately she asks to play and she bites really hard and doesn't let go until i blow on her to make her stop and even then i have to try and gently push her with my other hand. She has drawn blood a few times but nothing to bad, but for a whole year she was okay playing the same way we always did and this would happen a few times a week as she would always latch on instantly so i knew thats what she wanted. I haven't changed anything and i never go in smelling like my other hamster or other pets...

Is there a reason shes doing this now? as she still lets me pick her up and she still asks to play but shes gotton very bad at biting.
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Old 02-17-2019, 03:27 PM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

I wouldn't blow on her - that is likely to make things worse. It's not nice for the hamster and they'd see it as a bit of an aggressive action.

Usually hamsters bite because they're afraid or they're in pain. Have you made any changes to her cage recently or cleaned her out recently? That can stress them especially if the nest or hoard are removed. They can also bite sometimes if they've just woken up and weren't expecting to be picked up (ie half asleep and a defensive reaction if they feel something is invading and possibly a predator).
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:48 PM   #3
Lonaa1x
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I wouldn't blow on her - that is likely to make things worse. It's not nice for the hamster and they'd see it as a bit of an aggressive action.

Usually hamsters bite because they're afraid or they're in pain. Have you made any changes to her cage recently or cleaned her out recently? That can stress them especially if the nest or hoard are removed. They can also bite sometimes if they've just woken up and weren't expecting to be picked up (ie half asleep and a defensive reaction if they feel something is invading and possibly a predator).
I dont blow hard but i read somewhere that can be a way to distract them to get them off and it normally works a gentle breeze i call it haha. She normally stops asif to say huh what was that because i blow near her bottom.
Haven't changed anything in her cage or done anything different. She asked to play and i always make sure even when she asks she knows im going to pop my hand in her cage and she gets very excited trying to jump on it before its even to the floor.
She still does all this but shes biting now instead. Could it just be she getting older and doesn't fully understand its not the same?
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

This does seem to be something that's peculiar to Russians & isn't related to pain or fear.
I wouldn't blow on her either tbh, just gently remove her from your finger, not always easy I know but I don't think blowing helps & it is unpleasant for them.
Sometimes it's just a phase they go through & if you can try to avoid giving her the opportunity to grab a finger at least for a while.
I've never figured out exactly why they do it really, there may not even be one specific reason. Some of them will gently take hold of your finger without biting & pull on it as if they want to drag your finger off to their nest or something which is quite amusing but some seem to do something similar but bite hard instead which just hurts!
When you interact with her out of the cage give her lots of opportunity to climb on you but avoid contact with fingers if you can, she may just get over it & stop again. In the cage you can try burying your fingers in the substrate so she can walk onto your hand without getting to bite fingers first.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:13 AM   #5
Lonaa1x
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

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Originally Posted by cypher View Post
This does seem to be something that's peculiar to Russians & isn't related to pain or fear.
I wouldn't blow on her either tbh, just gently remove her from your finger, not always easy I know but I don't think blowing helps & it is unpleasant for them.
Sometimes it's just a phase they go through & if you can try to avoid giving her the opportunity to grab a finger at least for a while.
I've never figured out exactly why they do it really, there may not even be one specific reason. Some of them will gently take hold of your finger without biting & pull on it as if they want to drag your finger off to their nest or something which is quite amusing but some seem to do something similar but bite hard instead which just hurts!
When you interact with her out of the cage give her lots of opportunity to climb on you but avoid contact with fingers if you can, she may just get over it & stop again. In the cage you can try burying your fingers in the substrate so she can walk onto your hand without getting to bite fingers first.
Im not to sure why she does it either was just wondering if it was age. If i bury my fingers in the substrate she digs to find them to nibble them as that was another part of our game. She will only come out by biting nicely on my finger to be picked up so she can have a little wonder around and good nibble on the tip of my nose. Its like she just get overly excited like a dog does and then gets to rough.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

Why she's suddenly biting harder is hard to say, I've not seen any change like this with any of mine as they've got older but I think the game where she nibbles your fingers has probably just encouraged her to some extent so I would do what you can to just gently discourage her from nibbling or biting at all & find other ways to interact with her if you can.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster sudden biting (please read first not the same as others ive seen)

I've had a few who have liked to 'wrestle' with my fingers, never biting just either pulling at my fingers to try and take them to their nests or like Artie who always enjoyed a good wrestle. He reminded me of a dog playing. He would grip my finger with his teeth but never actually bite. Veikko enjoys a wrestle too but after a while he can get a little over enthusiastic so I just gently take my hand away and tell him he's getting too over excited and playtime is finished

If she's always biting really hard now and it's not that it's starting of gently and then building up to biting hard then as cypher suggests it would probably be best to interact with her in another way, in a playpen maybe. It sounds like she thinks it's ok to bite that hard because the hand keep reappearing
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