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How Do I Check My Hamster For Mites?

Hamster mites are very small, and therefore hard to spot. However, what you will see are the effects the pesky parasites have on your pet’s skin. The hamster will be feeling very itchy, and will therefore do a lot of scratching. Its skin will look red, flaky, and irritated. The poor little animal, in addition to scratching furiously with his hind feet, will nibble at himself and rub his body on objects around the cage.

Ear mites will result in a dark-colored earwax, and the hamster's skin will become a bit 'crusty'.

Hamster mites are hard to see, but they cause distress to your poor pet

These physical symptoms are a pretty clear sign that something is amiss, but the only way to be sure that your hamster has mites is to ask a vet.

Preventing Hamster Mite Infestation

Prevention is always the best cure. Keeping enclosures clean is the obvious starting point, and washing any new toys or furniture that you intend introducing (just in very hot water, not with detergent). After any outbreak, discard all the bedding in the cage and give the enclosure a good scrub-down with hot water, and perhaps with a formulated anti-mite preparation.

To minimize the risk of hamster mite infestation, another precaution is to freeze the hamster's bedding material before putting it in the cage. Put it in a sealed bag and freeze for forty-eight hours, and that will kill any pests present, along with their eggs. Thoroughly defrost the bedding before putting it in the hamster’s enclosure, and make sure it’s not wet - hamsters like to nibble their bedding, and any moulds that have grown on the wet stuff will be ingested, and could lead to health problems.

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