Last Updated on: 24th September 2023, 09:21 pm
Due to their large colonies and painful bites, ants can put hamsters at risk of harm.
Ants can pass on pathogenic and toxigenic microorganisms to hamsters. Having lots of ants inside a cage is a stressful experience for hamsters, potentially leading to illness.
Once ants infest a hamster’s cage, they’re difficult to remove without a deep cage clean. You can use diatomaceous earth to kill them naturally without harming your hamster.
Do Hamsters Attract Ants?
Pet hamsters and ants rarely come into contact with each other, but contaminated bedding or food could introduce ants to a hamster’s cage.
While ants aren’t attracted to hamsters, they’re interested in vegetables and fruits. According to the Journal of Insect Science, ant species like sweet foods.
Hamsters commonly eat grains and dried insects, giving ants in the enclosure lots to eat. Ants also need water to survive, which they can find inside a hamster’s cage.
A hamster’s eating habits are the main cause of ant infestations. Hamsters don’t eat all their food in one go – they put it in their cheek pouches and store it in their burrows for later.
If you don’t spot-clean your hamster’s enclosure, fresh food will spoil and encourage ants to feast on it. If you keep the enclosure clean, ants are far less likely to enter the hamster’s cage.
Can Ants Hurt My Hamster?
Even though ants are only small, their bites can hurt a hamster. However, the damage their bites cause depends on the ant species and their number.
According to AIMS Microbiology, ants harbor and transfer pathogenic or toxigenic microorganisms.
An ant infestation is more likely to result in harm. Your hamster will become stressed from the intrusion, particularly if it can’t escape the ants.
Stress precipitates sickness-causing bacteria, increasing the chances of health conditions.
Do Ants Bite Hamsters?
Ants have strong mandibles that they use alongside their mouths to pinch the skin.
While their bites aren’t dangerous, they can become itchy and painful, with some bites becoming sore and swollen. Since hamsters are small creatures, they’ll be affected by an ant bite.
Not all ants bite, and many will stay out of the hamster’s way so they don’t get hurt or eaten.
However, harvester ants and fire ants have painful bites. They sting and can cause an allergic reaction that makes hamsters unwell. Other biting ant species include:
- Sugar ants.
- Acrobat ants.
- Raspberry ants.
- Wood ants.
However, biting isn’t the only way ants protect themselves.
Some species sting by injecting acids under the skin, like red ants and bulldog ants. Others spray or bite formic acid onto the skin, leading to severe irritation and allergic reactions.
Can Hamsters Eat Ants?
Hamsters eat ants because they’re a good source of protein, calcium, fat, and iron. Consuming 1-2 ants shouldn’t cause your hamster any harm and may provide it with some extra nutrients.
However, larger ant species may bite or spray formic acid at the hamster as they’re being eaten as a last-ditch attempt to save themselves from pending death.
Also, their exoskeletons are tough to bite through. However, hamsters have sharp, strong teeth that will eventually break through them.
How To Get Rid of Ants in My Hamster Cage
Here’s how to remove ants from a hamster’s cage:
Change the Bedding
Even though hamsters grow stressed by bedding changes, they’re unavoidable when ants are in the cage. Because ants are so small, they’re difficult to see once they get into the bedding.
As a result, you should remove all the bedding in the cage before cleaning it with disinfectant and replacing it with a fresh substrate.
Wash all accessories, including the running wheel, and remove any hoarded food you find.
Remove Fresh Food
When feeding a hamster fresh fruits and vegetables, give it time to eat before removal. If you leave it there too long, the hamster will pouch it and move it to its burrows, making it hard to remove.
Removing excess food removes the ants’ food source, making them less likely to stay. Similarly, gone off fruits and vegetables are more likely to attract ants in the first place.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring powder derived from diatoms. These are microscopic, fossilized aquatic organisms and algae shells.
It scratches the tough exoskeleton and absorbs fats, oils, and water, dehydrating the ant.
Diatomaceous earth is pet-friendly and won’t harm a hamster. Before cleaning out the cage, remove the hamster and sprinkle the powder in and around the cage to kill unwanted ants.
Leave it for a few hours, replace the bedding, and vacuum the powder from the floor.
How To Keep Ants Away From Hamster Cage
Keep ants away from a hamster’s cage with the following steps:
Keep the Cage Clean
You don’t need to do a full cage clean too often, but spot-cleaning it at least every other day can prevent ants from being attracted to the hamster’s living space.
Seal Entry Points
To prevent ants from going near the hamster’s cage, investigate where they’re coming from and seal any possible entry points.
Ants can enter the home through the front and back doors, windows, or basement. Keeping them away from your home minimizes the risk of ants getting close to the enclosure.
Natural Pest Repellents
You can deter ants from a hamster’s environment with essential oils and natural pest repellents. Ants dislike the smell and will stay away. Effective ant-repellents include:
- Peppermint oil.
- Black pepper.
However, don’t place them too close to the cage in case they cause respiratory irritation.
Move the Cage
Put the cage away from windows or doors that lead outside, as this is where ants are likeliest to enter.
Ants prefer a warm, humid climate, so ensure the hamster’s environment is within a suitable temperature range (between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit) but isn’t too humid.
Not only are ants hard to remove, but they’ll make a hamster’s bedding their own and eat food inside the enclosure. Also, they’ll hurt the hamster if they feel threatened enough to bite.