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Gerbils & Hamsters/syrien hamster (exuse the spelling) sniff biteing


My hamster bit me and held on gently, it didn't hurt. My mum told me he was smelling me to see what I am. Is this right?

Hi Emily

Thanks for your question. Your mum is correct. Hamsters have very bad eyesight and therefore rely on other senses. If they aren't sure about something they tend to scape their teeth against it to 'taste it'. Be careful if your hamster does this to you as once they have 'tasted' if they like it they will then bite!


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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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