Many, if not most, hamsters have a few mites living in their fur. In small numbers, mites don't cause hamsters problems. However, a serious infestation causes itching, scratching and possible infection of the self-inflicted scratches. Because mites are so small, watch for symptoms to determine whether your hamster has too many. Your pet's discomfort need only be temporary, as effective mite treatments for small rodents are widely available.
Observe your hamster's behaviour. Incessant scratching, rubbing against the cage sides or bald patches are signs of irritated skin, which is more likely to be caused by mites than fleas.
Pick up your hamster.
Look at the hamster's ears, eyes, nose, feet and tail for signs of redness or inflammation, which could indicate irritation.
Examine the fur closely. Some mites are just visible as tiny, animated black specks. A magnifying glass may help.
Stroke the hamster with a piece of slightly dampened white tissue or paper towel. Examine the tissue. Mites may show up as black flecks against the white.
Take your hamster to the vet for confirmation of a mite infestation, identification of the species of mite and a suitable treatment.
Always treat the cage as well as the hamster when treating mites.
Only use mite remedies for small rodents. Products that are perfectly safe for larger animals, such as cats, can be dangerous to hamsters. Follow the directions or your vet's instructions exactly.