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Gerbils & Hamsters/White Bumps on Hamster's Ear


Hi Shelia,

My hamster has developed a strange pin-head sized white bump on the bottom of his ear's edge. He's been acting normal, but he did suffer from mites around six months ago. We finally got rid of them around September, this year. We got my hamster in November 2011, so he's about a year old. He does have a neighbor hamster who's kept in the same room, but they don't share cages.

Should I be worried about that bump, and what is it?

Hi Ben

thanks for your question.

What type of hamster is this?  is he Syrian?

I don't think I'd be worried about him if he is behaving normally.  It is hard to know what this bump is.  it could be a straightforward spot in which case it will go on its own.

If there is any sign of scratching, and assuming he is Syrian, then it might be worth giving him a course of anti parasite treatment. I usually use Beaphr small animal anti parasite treatment (make sure it is safe for treatment if you go for another make, and it is vital it contains the drug Ivermectin).

If any other spots appear, then this should indicate what is wrong. There is a quite serious disease that hamsters get called polyomavirus. This is very contagious and spreads quickly from one hamster to the other. If a breeding farm gets this they usually destroy all hamsters as it can be passed on.  However, if it is a single hamster, then it isn't quite so serious.  I've had one with this - the only problem is that it weakens their immune system and they often need surgery to remove the lumps - they appear quite quickly and usually around the head area - they tend to develop into wart-like growths and can grow quite large.  At this point i wouldn't worry at all, but I would suggest making sure that the other hamster's cage isn't touching, and when you have been handling this one, wash your hands before handling the other.

If this is a more serious situation, then there should be other signs - not only physical, but also in his behaviour. All the while he is acting normally - eating/drinking/playing as usual, then I would not worry.  if however more of these 'lumps' turn up, then it would be worth getting it checked out.

I hope this helps you.


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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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