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Gerbils & Hamsters/my hamster wont open his eye


Hi Sheila,
I got home from school today and my hamster Nibbles eye wouldn't open. This has never happened before and I'm very worried about him.He is squeaking and not acting himself. I cant bring him to the vet. And as you can tell by his name he does sometimes bite.Please please help I'm soooo worried.I hope you can help soon.Thank you,Aoife.

Hi Aoife

thanks for your question.

firstly, how old is he?  When you say that he is not acting himself - what do you mean by this?

Sticky eyes is common in hamsters.  It is important that they open their eyes daily, so if he can't then you need to do it for him.  Gently wipe his eye area with a clean damp cloth and see if this helps.  sometimes the eys get a bit crusty and you might need to apply a cloth a couple of times.  As he is prone to biting, you might want to wear a glove doing this - but if his eyes are shut because of this then he shouldn't be in any pain and therefore shouldn't be any more aggressive than usual.

Hamsters have glands that produce a reddish fluid that keeps their eyes lubricated.  Sometimes their eyes just get stuck shut, but if they have a compromised immune system then they tend to produce more of this fluid, so constantly sticky eyes can sometimes mean that there is a medical problem brewing.

Is he eating/drinking as normal?  Is he coming out to play?  How old is he? What makes you think that he is not his usual self?  if you want to get back to me with some more details perhaps I can offer some more advice.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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