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Gerbils & Hamsters/Black bear hamster loosing fur


QUESTION: Hi Shelia.  Several months ago, I noticed that Ebony was starting to lose some of her fur on her back.  She has a wire cage with just a few plastis ramps, a plastic tunnel, and a plastic dome at the top of the tunnel where she likes to sleep.  This cage is not a habitral.  I noticed when Ebony was going through the tunnel, she was completely filling it, so I disconnected the top and bottom portions of the tunnel, which helped her fur to grow back.
The fur on her back and sides have begun to fall out, ts to the point where there's a large bald patch n her back and a smaller one on her side.  I believe that the entrance to her dome is too narrow.  Should I try burning the top portion of her dome with a hot glue gun (while she's in her ball) or should I be concerned at all?  If you need pictures, let me know how to send them.
Thanks so much for all the wonderful advice you have given me this past year.

ANSWER: Hi Jinene

Thanks for your question.

If Ebony is like some of the black bears I've had then I guess she might be a large lady and a lot of the hamster tubes and houses seem to be for the smaller Syrians. Hamsters can squeeze into tiny spaces but if she is constantly doing this then in time it is inevitable that she will rub a bald spot.

If it is possible it might be worth trying to make the opening bigger but do make sure there are no sharp edges - one of my hamsters cut themselves on a tube once -  there was the tiniest sharp edge on the inside edge but it still managed to hurt him.

If the fur loss is down to rubbing on this opening then it should grow back with no problem. If the skin looks sore you could apply some aloe Vera or tea tree cream (you can buy this in pet shops).

I hope you get on ok.


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QUESTION: I noticed that Ebony's skin (where the fur is missing) is discoloured.  There's a round area that's notiably darker than its surrounding skin.  It look like a bruise, but it doesn't seem to bother her when I touch it.  Do black ear hamster's have different skin pigmentations like a donation?  My dad wants to try melting the opening of her loft next week.  I took the ramp that she uses to get into her loft away, but she still managed to climb up the sides of her cage and get into it anyway.  Also, I noticed that Ebony doesn't leave her loft nearly as often as she used to, even at night.  Should I try taping a piece of cardboard on the inside of her loft using packing tape to prevent her from getting into her loft? (Ebony doesn't chew cardboard)

Hi Jinene

Sorry - I didn't see your question.

A lot of hamsters have skin pigmentation, also they have scent glands on their hips and these can appear as a darker colour. These scent glands can also appear as a bald patch with a black spot in the middle.

I think it is a case of experimenting with her cage to get it right - anything is worth trying.

I hope you are having some success.


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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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