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Old 08-15-2019, 10:52 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
ashleyloveshamsters's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 3
Exclamation Is my hamster bitting or nibbling, and why is she doing this?

Hello, excited to be apart of this forum! I am hoping someone could help with a bitting/nibbling issue I have with my new hamster. I have had her for a week and she is just 4 and 1/2 weeks old. A friend of mine informed me of baby hamsters that were available for adoption from an accidental pregnancy that happened in the store. So I decided to go for it. I ended up adopting a female (I think) campbell hamster. She was exactly 3 and 1/2 weeks old when I adopted her. Iíve had her for a week now and I'm running into issues I did not experience with my previous hamster. EVERY TIME I put my hand in her cage she bites... or nibbles. I know Iíve only had her for a week but I really dont want to encourage this behavior so I need help! Im not sure if its a bite or nibble bc it doest break skin, but if I let her she will clamp on (still doesnít break skin). I wash my hands before handling her but I think she still might think its food?? Im not sure. However I am pretty sure its not out of fear. She doesn't even flinch when I put my hand in her cage or pet her. If she has a treat she wont bite, but the second she is done eating she bites. I know that my friend started handling her pretty early, so she is use to being picked up and pet. Itís only recently she started biting. Happened for the first time yesterday and again today. What can I do ? Please help?
Something that I think should be noted is that every time I interact with her I have a treat in my hand. Could this be causing the behavior? With my last hamster, giving lots of treats was a way I earned his trust, but with Bella could this be reinforcing the bitting behavior?
Could it also just be she is so young? I know nibbling is a sign of affection. Did I take her from her litter too soon? Maybe just like dogs have bite inhibition they learn as a puppy, do hamsters learn something similar when they are young? Maybe she is trying to nibble but nibbling too hard bc she never learned?
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:03 AM   #2
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 11
Default Re: Is my hamster bitting or nibbling, and why is she doing this?

I would say that your hamster is nibbling, not biting, as when my first hamster bit me, he drew blood (everything's fine with him now!). This could be because your hamster is stressed, they seem quite young so could be confused between your hand and a treat. I would recommend checking out ErinsAnimals or Victoria Rachael's videos on hamster biting, this might help.

Sorry if this doesn't help, i'm no expert
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:41 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 425
Default Re: Is my hamster bitting or nibbling, and why is she doing this?

You say she is used to being petted. Does she allow you to stroke or pet her? If she does, she will get used to your scent and learn what is edible and what isn't. My hamster nibbled quite a lot when I first brought her home (at 15 weeks) but now she only does it if she is startled. Your hamster is very young, and probably just needs a bit more time to get used to you.
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