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How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Injured

Last Updated on: 4th January 2024, 08:06 pm

Hamsters and dwarf hamsters can experience drops, knocks, falls, and other accidents that cause injuries.

A hamster may experience long-term or life-threatening injuries if it falls from a high platform. Unfortunately, physical trauma can occur, even if you take precautions.

Although some species of hamsters can live together, they’re prone to territorial fights. So, if you keep several hamsters in a single cage, conflict may lead to bites, flesh wounds, and broken bones.

How Do Hamsters Get Injured?

Implementing safeguards reduces the chances of injuries, but there’s no guaranteed way to prevent them. Accidents happen, and you can’t observe hamsters 24/7, especially as they’re most active at night.

This increases the likelihood of injuries due to the following:

Drops and Falls

Hamsters are curious animals that explore their environment, enjoying jumping and climbing. So, they’ll leap from their owners’ hands when they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, hamsters rarely consider where they’ll land, a problem exacerbated by poor eyesight. Aside from recklessness, a hamster may not see what’s in front of it.

Leaping from your hands, a table, or its cage without being able to gauge the distance to the ground can be a costly misjudgment.

Injuries sustained from accidental falls or drops can be mild or severe, depending on the height of the fall and the landing surface.

If the hamster falls, it may walk away harmlessly due to a favorable landing. Also, the fall could be negligible if there’s a soft surface, like a carpet or bedding, to break the fall.

However, if the hamster falls several feet, it may sustain serious injuries, including concussion and fractured bones. This risk increases if a hamster falls onto a hard surface like concrete, stone, or tile.

injured hamster care


Keeping two or more hamsters in a shared cage may lead to aggression and fighting.

Conflict might appear mild since both creatures are so small. However, hamsters have sharp teeth and a willingness to fight to the death.

Hamsters, like Syrians, can be more aggressive toward others.

According to Hormonal Behavior, winning fights increases testosterone and androgens in Syrian hamsters. So, fighting isn’t just due to territory and self-defense.

However, species like the Roborovski hamster get along well with others, only resorting to aggression against cage mates when kept in overcrowded conditions with few resources.

If you want to keep more than one hamster, consider male-female or female-female pairs. Otherwise, keep the hamsters in separate cages or use a divider to avoid fighting between hamsters.

Enclosure And Toys

Bored hamsters may chew on their cage bars to wear down their teeth and entertain themselves.

Unfortunately, an overeager hamster may bite too hard and chip its teeth. This can lead to pain and chewing problems until the teeth grow back.

Also, hamsters can get their feet caught in their exercise wheels. Those with gaps or bars could result in a hamster catching or bruising its feet as it runs on the wheel at high speeds.

Attacks by Pets

As small creatures, hamsters are susceptible to attacks by larger animals. Consequently, leaving the hamster’s cage unsecured will make them vulnerable to other pets.

A cat may injure a hamster as it bats at the creature, and a dog could knock over the cage. That’s not to mention the stress a hamster will endure when it’s stalked near-constantly.

Signs Your Hamster Is Injured

According to Companion Animal, hamsters instinctively hide their pain to protect themselves from predators. Consequently, it can be hard to identify when a hamster is injured.

The signs that a hamster has an injury are:

These symptoms may manifest several days or weeks later.

How To Care for An Injured Hamster

The sooner you treat an injured hamster, the more likely it is to recover. While a trip to the vet may be necessary, there are ways you can evaluate and treat a hamster’s injury at home:

Assess The Severity of The Injury

Assess any injuries, such as bleeding or broken bones. You may observe bruising and swelling around a hamster’s leg after a fall, so it’ll limp when you set it down again. 

You can put the hamster back in its cage if it has minor injuries. Provide it with ample food and water, and keep the area warm.

If the hamster is dragging its legs, bleeding from the head, or experiencing convulsions, it has severe injuries and must be assessed by a veterinarian.

Schedule A Vet Appointment

A vet will examine the hamster visually and may get X-rays to determine the extent of its injuries.

Often, broken bones or concussions are treatable. The vet may cast a broken bone, clean and dress wounds, provide antibiotics for infections, or prescribe medication to assist recovery.

In the worst case, euthanasia may be necessary, which is most common if a hamster has internal bleeding, badly broken bones, or severe head damage.

The vet will inform you about the hamster’s health and well-being during the examination and will only recommend putting a hamster down to prevent extreme suffering.

Limit Handling Frequency

If a hamster has experienced deep bruising, jostling it around can lead to additional pain.

So, a hamster will want to retreat away and recover in solitude. Forcing it to interact with you may fray the hamster’s patience, leading to bites.

Sometimes, you have no choice but to pick up, carry, or handle a hamster. You may need to check it for injuries, take it to the vet, or administer treatment.

If you need to transport a hamster, use a padded cardboard box that can be shut to keep the hamster’s environment dark, quiet, and safe during transit.

How To Prevent Hamster Injuries

Most injuries can be treated successfully at home or the vet’s office. Injuries cause pain and suffering, preventing a hamster from enjoying its life.

For this reason, it’s better to implement safeguards to minimize the possibility of injuries:

do hamsters heal themselves?

Careful Handling

When picking up, holding, or moving a hamster, place one hand beneath it and another holding it around the shoulders. This will enable you to tighten your grip if the hamster squirms.

Only hold your hamster when sitting on the floor, as this will prevent injuries if the hamster manages to escape your grasp and fall. Put a plush blanket, carpet, or pillow underneath to soften any falls.

Supervise Kids

It’s okay to allow your kids to play and interact with hamsters. However, only permit this with your constant supervision or the supervision of another adult.

Keep Pets Away

Hamsters don’t get along well with predatory animals like cats and dogs. So, avoid interactions between your hamster and other pets, especially larger animals.

Remove Dangers

Sharp objects, like metal toys or cracked plastic, can pierce through a hamster’s skin, causing flesh wounds and damaging internal organs. Ensure nothing has signs of extreme wear and tear.

Ensure that a hamster’s wheel is smooth and sealed so that it can’t get its feet caught. Avoid hamster balls entirely, as they’re stressful and dangerous.