Can Hamsters Get Mites?

Your hamster gets a bald spot, scratches himself all the time, and his skin looks red and irritated.

When you look closely at his irritated skin, it looks like there are tiny black dots moving around.

Your hamster has mites, which is bad news.

Worse yet, depending on what kind of mite he has, you and your other pets might soon start to itch and scratch as he does.

What are hamster mites?

All mammalian species can get parasites.

Many parasites only affect one type of animal, but some can spread to other animals and even humans.

Mites, like the rat mite Notoedres muris, can live on hamsters. However, Demodex is the most common type of mite.

Mites from the genus Demodex can’t be seen with the naked eye.

You will instead see signs of Demodex mange, which we will talk about in more detail later.

Demodex mites live and eat in your hamster’s hair follicles and oil glands. Most of the time, they don’t cause any problems unless your hamster is stressed out.

Your hamster’s immune system can be weakened by stress, making it less able to fight off parasites. This is when you will start to see signs of illness.

Demodex and Notoedres muris are the most common mites, but hamsters can sometimes get other kinds of mites, like ear mites and nose mites.

What do hamster mites look like?

Most mites can’t be seen with the naked eye. You need a microscope to see them.

The Demodex mite is a tiny parasite that looks like a cigar and has eight legs when you look at it up close.

Demodex mites may be normal in small numbers, but too many of them can cause problems.

Notoedres muris is another parasite with eight legs, but this one is rounder.

Your vet will be able to tell what’s wrong with your hamster based on how the mites look and what your hamster is showing signs of.

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If you can see something crawling on your hamster, it is probably not mites.

It could be fleas or ticks, which can’t be treated the same way as mites.

Fleas and ticks can spread to both people and other pets, so if you think you might have an infection, you should call your vet.

Hamster mites symptoms

Changes in the way your hamster looks and acts are the first signs that he might have mites.

Hamster mites often cause hair loss, and you may also notice that your hamster is very itchy.

The itchiness and irritation from the parasites can cause your hamster to bite and scratch, which can lead to red skin and even secondary skin infections.

You may also see dry, flaky skin, scratched and bleeding ears, pus, and crusty buildup.

These symptoms could also be caused by something serious like a lack of nutrients, an imbalance in hormones, or even cancer.

Some hair loss is just caused by too much rubbing.

Hamsters that like to dig or squeeze through tunnels might lose hair from coming into contact with other things, but it’s always best to check with your vet to make sure it’s not a sign of something more serious.

How do hamsters get mites?

Mites on hamsters can be spread by being close to other hamsters.

Mites could have come home with your hamster from the pet store, shelter, or breeder.

Some common mites, like Demodex, don’t usually make your hamster sick unless it already has something wrong with it.

Demodex mites live on the bodies of many hamsters, but they don’t show any signs of being infected until something weakens their immune systems.

This makes it more likely that Demodex and other mites will get into hamsters that are stressed, old, or sick.

Your hamsters are less likely to get mites if you keep their cages clean and reduce stressors like too much handling, the wrong bedding, and too many hamsters in a small space.

Hamster mite diagnosis

Your vet will need to help you get rid of the mites on your hamster.

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First, you should set up an appointment with your vet to have your hamster checked out.

Mites could be a sign that your hamster’s immune system isn’t as strong as it should be. Since the stress of a mite infestation can also make your hamster’s immune system weaker, your vet is your best bet for a full recovery.

Before talking about treatment options, your vet will try to figure out what’s wrong with your hamster.

If your hamster is showing signs that make your vet think it has mites, they may take skin scrapings to look at under a microscope to see if they can find any parasites that are causing problems.

If your vet thinks that your hamster’s mites are caused by something else, they may also talk about other tests that could help them figure out what’s wrong and how to treat your hamster.

Mites can come back on hamsters even after they have been treated.

This isn’t always a sign that the treatment didn’t work. Instead, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Hamsters that relapse after treatment are more likely to have an underlying condition compromising their immune system, so be prepared to talk with your veterinarian about further diagnostics and next steps.

Hamster mite treatment

Mites on your hamster need to be treated by your vet.

Make an appointment with your vet to check on your hamster.

Mites could be a sign that your hamster’s immune system is weak, and since the stress of a mite infestation can also weaken your hamster’s immune system, your veterinarian is your hamster’s best hope for making a full recovery.

Your vet will look for a cause for your hamster’s symptoms before talking about treatment options.

If your hamster’s symptoms make your vet think it has mites, they might take skin scrapings to look at under a microscope to see if they can find any parasites that are causing problems.

If your vet thinks that your hamster’s mites are caused by an underlying problem, they may also talk to you about other tests that could help them figure out what’s wrong with your hamster and how to treat it.

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Even after treatment, hamsters sometimes get mites again.

This isn’t necessarily because the treatment didn’t work; it’s a sign of a more serious problem.

If your hamster gets sick again after treatment, it’s more likely that an underlying condition is affecting its immune system.

Be ready to talk to your vet about further testing and what to do next.

Can hamster mites spread to humans?

Some parasites that live on animals can also live on people and other animals. This is called “zoonotic.”

Most hamster mites can only live on hamsters and other rodents, so they can’t spread to people.

But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so talk to your vet about any possible risks from zoonotic diseases.

Your hamster could have a zoonotic disease like sarcoptic mange, which is very rare. Sarcoptic mange is a very uncomfortable skin condition that can be passed from hamsters to people and other pets.

Handle infected hamsters carefully to avoid getting hamster mites on yourself or other people in your home, and see a doctor if you start to feel sick.


Mites on a hamster’s skin can make it itchy and uncomfortable.

Your hamster can get mites from other hamsters at pet stores, breeders, shelters, or anywhere else they meet other hamsters.

Mites are best diagnosed and treated with the help of your vet, who can give you accurate information and safe dosages and make sure there isn’t something more serious going on.

You can keep your hamster from getting mites by making sure it doesn’t get stressed out and by giving it a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Talk to your vet to learn more about common diseases and parasites that affect hamsters.