Accidents can happen when you have a pet as small and fast-moving as a hamster. Sometimes, hamsters get dropped, fall off elevated surfaces, and are accidentally stepped on by well-intentioned owners.
These mishaps can cause hamsters injuries, but staying calm is important. The accident has already happened, so all you can do is check the hamster for injuries and unusual behaviors.
A hamster is bound to be shaken by such a traumatic experience, but the amount of harm done could be psychological, physical, or a combination of the two. The damage severity also varies considerably.
What To Do If You Accidentally Stepped on A Hamster
Accidents like stepping on hamsters can cause life-changing injuries or be fatal. Hamsters’ bodies are small and fragile, so they can’t withstand the same trauma as humans and other large animals.
A hamster’s skeleton comprises many small and fragile bones that can break easily, so its vital organs aren’t protected well by its skeletal system.
Therefore, being stepped on by a man or woman can be fatal for hamsters. Even if a hamster has survived being trodden on, it’ll sustain cuts, bruises, broken bones, and other injuries.
Check for Injuries
Examine the hamster to see if there are any obvious injuries. How much body weight you put on the hamster when you step on it will likely determine how bad the injuries will be.
If you barely stepped on it before realizing what was happening, the hamster might have only experienced minor injuries and be in shock. If not, some damage will likely have been caused.
If you notice that the hamster is bleeding from its nose or mouth, it’s more likely to have internal injuries. A vet can usually recover a hamster’s lost mobility if it has broken a leg or paw.
Checkup by A Vet
Even if you think the hamster is okay, it could have internal injuries you can’t see.
Be prepared for the worst because if the hamster has been seriously injured, the vet may discuss euthanizing it to keep it from suffering any longer.
However, even if the hamster is critically injured, the vet may still be able to save its life.
Physiology & Behavior stated that male hamsters with facial paralysis recovered partial facial nerve function after being given testosterone propionate (TP) exposure shortly after the injury occurred.
If you need to take the hamster to the vet, put it in a cardboard box with extra-soft bedding.
Rest And Relaxation
Return the hamster to its cage and let it rest for a while. The less you handle it, the better, especially if it’s injured and afraid. The hamster will likely be stressed and shocked, so it’ll fear you.
How To Tell If A Hamster Is Injured
If a hamster is injured, it’ll need veterinary assistance and ongoing at-home care until it recovers.
Here are some common signs of injury in hamsters:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Limping and struggling to walk
- Painful cries or squeaks
- Showing aggression like biting
- Sleeping more than usual
Does My Hamster Know I Stepped on It by Accident?
Hamsters are intuitive creatures. According to the Royal Society of Open Science, hamsters can determine the difference between positives and negatives in their environments.
Based on these findings, a hamster may know you stepped on it, especially if you’re the only person in proximity. Hamsters can also remember life-critical events.
However, because you’ve been taking care of and positively interacting with the hamster up until the point when you stepped on it, it may realize that you didn’t mean to hurt it, but nobody knows for sure.
That doesn’t mean the hamster won’t be wary of you for a while. After all, you did hurt it. But once it begins to heal and feel better, the bond with your hamster can often be restored.
The above study also indicates that hamsters experience mood variations.
How To Tell If A Hamster Is Upset with You
Having just been injured, it’s no surprise that the hamster’s mood will have deteriorated. So, here are some things you can check to ascertain if the hamster is displeased with you:
Tries To Bite You
If a hamster isn’t a regular biter but attempts to aggressively bite your hand or fingers the next time you reach into its cage, it’s safe to say it’s unhappy or afraid of you.
This reaction is most likely shortly after the accident, but it usually subsides in the house and days ahead.
More Active Than Usual
The hamster runs around more, runs faster on its wheel, or digs more frequently. Like when we have a negative experience with someone, the hamster wants to burn off its anger and frustration.
Less Active Than Usual
Instead of being hyperactive, some hamsters hide in their burrows and become uncharacteristically inactive.
Attempts To Escape
When hamsters are mad at you, they may attempt to escape their cage. If you notice the hamster is searching for a way out of its cage, it’s likely fearful and dissatisfied with its level of safety.
Pacing Back And Forth
The hamster might pace back and forth in its cage if it’s unhappy or stressed about what transpired.
Do Hamsters Forgive You When You Step on Them?
Being stepped on by an animal many times its size will be terrifying. After you step on a hamster, it’ll likely seek to avoid you when you attempt to pick it up or pet it.
For a while afterward, as a minimum, assuming the hamster survives, it’ll be scared of you. You can’t bother it too much, aside from feeding the hamster and spot-cleaning its cage.
After you’ve stepped on a hamster, its trust in you is temporarily broken, so it no longer feels safe around you. You’ll have to give the hamster time to recover and the chance to build back any lost trust.
Unfortunately, not all hamsters feel safe and confident again, turning into ghost hamsters. This involves the hamster only emerging when it’s dark, and nobody is in its room.