Hamster Mites: Demodex, Sarcoptic Mange & Acariasis Skin


Get Treatments Mentioned in This Article
These Treat Demodex, Sarcoptic and Acariasis

Demodex Mites

Mites are tiny parasites (.3 to .4 mm in length) that live their lives in and around the hair follicles of mammals, including hamsters. A scaly body of the mite allows it to attach itself securely into the skin of its host hamster. demodex mites will attach themselves to the skin of any healthy hamster given the opportunity. A prolonged infestation can lead to certain hamster illnesses such as skin disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

The few visible signs can include redness around the ears, eyes, and nose as well as observing the hamster constantly trying to rub itself against the wire bars or objects in its cage. There may be little to no other signs of an infestation of your hamsters but an outbreak of mites can lead to certain skin conditions such as, acariasis skin disorder or Mange. Mange is caused by both demodex and sarcoptic mites. To see if your hamster’s skin condition is caused by mites, you can comb the hair and inspect the comb using a magnifying glass. You can also brush the infested hamster while holding it over a piece of white paper and use a magnifying glass to inspect the paper. If there are no mites visible, the skin condition could be a hamster fungal infection.

Causes of This

If your hamsters get exposed to people or other pets that are infested with demodex mites, they could become infested themselves.

Mites can also be introduced into a hamster’s cage by adding bedding that contains these parasites. That’s why it is a good idea to inspect bedding before you add it and to avoid using bedding not packaged properly or that you obtain from outdoors.

Older male hamsters and baby hamsters are most at risk of getting mites, or hamsters that are highly stressed or malnourished.

Related Hamster Skin Conditions


After diagnosing your hamster with a mite infestation, you should immediately isolate the infected hamster(s) from any healthy hamsters. Next, clean the hamsters’ cage thoroughly. Replace all the bedding and wash all the surfaces in the cage. Ideally replace anything in the cage that might be a home for mites. After the cage is cleaned, spray it with an anti mites spray. These sprays should be available at your local pet store.

Next you can take the infected pets to the vet to get treatment or try to treat them yourself by purchasing an anti-mite spray. Medications that treat mites include Ivermectin drops and Amitraz. Amitraz is a bath based medication which is a less ideal solution than Ivermectin since hamsters are not used to getting bathed and will likely become stressed quickly. A hamster sand bath is about as close as they get to an actual bath.

Golden, Or Syrian Hamster

Using a Spray

Make sure to read the instructions on the back of the medication package first but essentially an anti-mite spray needs to be applied once a week until all signs of mites are eliminated. When spraying the hamster, it is important to shield the eyes of the hamster and make sure the spray reaches the skin. Simply spraying the outer coat will not effectively treat your ailing hamster.

Note: Most hamster mites can not live on humans with the exception of the sarcoptic variety. Regardless, take precautions by washing your hands and consider using medical gloves when handling any infected pet with mites.

Hamster Sarcoptic Mange

Mange is a skin condition that is caused by parasitic mites; Sarcoptic mange, also called canine scabies is a very contagious skin disease cause by the Sarcoptic scabeii mite. These mites will burrow ad embed themselves into the skin of your pet hamsters, any of your other pets and even you if you are not careful (scabies in humans). Diagnosing this hamster illness is difficult if you are looking to find the mites on the skin of an infected hamster. You will need to take a scrapping and look for these tiny parasites under a microscope.

Signs and Symptoms

This burrowing type of mite will get into the skin of a hamster causing it to become very itchy (pruritic). It then becomes crusty or scabby and infected rather quickly. Visible signs of hair loss mainly on the face but also the body will begin to appear. Another related skin condition by another type of mite that displays milder symptoms is the Acarasis skin disorder caused by the Demodex mite. Demodex mites are not contagious however.


How do you care for a hamster with sarcoptic mange if it’s so contagious? First you must isolate the infected sick hamsters from any or you other healthy pets and family members. Then use Ivermectin drops orally every 7 to 10 days. Ivermectin comes in the form of injections too but this method should only be used by professionals. While you are treating your sick hamster you should thoroughly clean the cage and replace all the bedding since these mites can live for a few days in the bedding.

Hamster Acariasis Skin Disorder

It’s a skin disorder that occurs as a result of mites. You can brush the coat of the sick hamsters over a piece of white paper and use a magnifying glass to look for these tiny parasites. A veterinarian can also help you diagnose the accurate hamster illnesses it might have.

Signs and Symptoms

The coat of your hamster can appear unkempt, patchy, or falling out. The skin around the head and neck can become particularly dry, scaly, and or spotty.


Causes of It

It is caused by demodex mites which are hard to see with the naked eye. They get into the skin and hair roots and sometimes cause an allergic reaction. This reaction leads to the loss of hair in patches. Often allergic reactions occur in hamsters with weakened immune systems, old or pregnant hamsters.

Treatment Methods

There are a few treatments that can treat this skin disorder, the first is Ivermectin drops which is a treatment for sarcoptic Mange. Another option involves a weekly bathing in a treatment called, Amritraz. However, hamsters get stressed out when they are bathed. Good hamster care would suggest that it shouldn’t be used as a first option.

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

| Home | How to Take Care of a Hamster | Hamster Illness Guide | Hamster Mites: Demodex, Sarcoptic Mange & Acariasis Skin

21 thoughts on “Hamster Mites: Demodex, Sarcoptic Mange & Acariasis Skin”

  1. I have a 2+ yr old Syrian hamster who has recently become more lethargic…we thought maybe due to age and colder winter months as he still eats well and what not though he is no longer exercising much and seems to have an increase in difficulty maneuvering through his cages (I have reordered things to make them more level and easier to manage for him so he doesn’t hurt himself). We noticed last night that his left eye was squinted and took him out of his cage and used a pet wipe to clean him…the eye seemed to be a tad crusty like something was stuck in the fur but no puss. We then noticed that on either side where the scent glands are his fur is missing and his skin is flaky…one dark spot is visible on the left side where the scent gland is. This happened rather quickly as he was not like this just days ago. I do not have a vet in my immediate area that sees small animals and will have to drive quite a ways to see one, which I have contacted but they also would not be able to see us for at least a week as only one doctor there sees the small animals and she is out for at least another week. From what I’ve researched it seems this is probably mites due to decreased immune system because of age??? I’m hoping nothing more severe or contagious? His appetite is still good though I do see he wakes up more often throughout the day to drink water and sleeps a lot longer and is a lot less active…but he is older. I have tried to find Beaphar Anti-Parasite Spot-On Hamster/Gerbil Ivermectin topical solution for him but cannot find it anywhere in the United States as I was planning on using it as well as supporting him with an oral vitamin supplement. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. Hi have a hamsters who has lost fur under his belly and has small yellow lumps. I feel awful because it looks like it might have been there a little while but he’s so bitey I can’t handle him that often. I always pop in and see him say hello, but if I put my hand in the cage he tries to bite me. Has done from the start. I’m so worried that it’s been happening for a while and due to my own fear I haven’t spotted it. Any ideas what it could be? I can’t get a picture unfortunately. I’m going to take him to the vets but it’s difficult to find one that does hamsters near me 🙁

  3. My Syrian Long Haired has dry flaking skin around his genitals. From what I’ve read it could be a variety of things. I’m incredibly worried since he is my companion and therapy pet. He doesn’t seem to be having any issues elsewhere. He acts normal but it has been hot lately and I’ve noticed he is a bit more lethargic. He’s not even a year yet. Only roughly about I want to say maybe eight or nine months. He was three months when I got him in December. I’ve been doing everything to keep him cool. But this flakiness around his genitals I am incredibly worried about. I only just noticed it and haven’t the faintest idea as to what could be wrong. Please help.

  4. My syrian hamster has large red lumps on him. One on his head, his side and two on his back. He also is losing fur on his back? I have no idea what it is.

  5. I have had my dwarf hamster for about a year now… It has had bad allergies and lost all its hair in the beginning but bit was allergic to thgthge sod so we went totally paper and its hair grew back and has been very active and healthy. Yesterday I noticed its rear end looks bruised??? It is still active, no discharge, going to the bathroom but its butt looks bruised?? Could a bruise just be a bruise or should I be worried?? The bruise covers its back side up to the shaft of the tail but not the tail itself?? Any ideas??

  6. My hamster has balding spots on her belly and it also wet. She scratches herself alot any also had red eyes she can’t open well.she rubs her eyes alot and her head is also wet. Please pleaes help

  7. Ive had my second hamster for about 2 weeks now, hes delvloped a small bald patch under his cheek by his mouth and it has a couple small scabs on it, theres also a small scsab on his forehead, i brushed his fur and found no mites, what could it be??? im very worried, please respond asap

  8. Please help, my hamster is a “panda bear” she’s almost 2. Within a couple days she can’t stay awake, she can’t walk well, falls over/asleep. She has a wetness look on her head but there’s some scab sections on her skin, little bit of her fur is missing on these areas. I put in all her symptoms on google and always routes me here but I can’t seem to narrow it down.

  9. The skin on my hamster’s underside is dry and red. And she has fur loss on her belly her sides. How should i treat it? Thank you

  10. I have a long haired hampster. She is rubbing on the bars of her cage and is constantly itching. She has done this since we got her at a pet store. I brush her out constantly. Could this be the demodex mites? I clean the cage and change bedding thoroughly every week. And she has no redness around the eyes, ears, or nose.

    • She might have any number of issues. When you brush her, do you see any tiny white specs? These can be mites. It’s hard to tell but it sounds like some sort of allergy or skin condition. What kind of bedding are you using? Avoid cedar for sure.

      • How is your hamster doing? you might need to use a magnifying glass to see parasites. If the issue is not getting better, you might want to consult a vet to see what they think.

  11. My hamster developed hair loss, my vet prescribed xeno 10 drops every two weeks, I accidentally overdosed last Monday not knowing how serious this actually is, as no one tells you. My hamster some hours later could not move his back legs, he went into seizures and died. This medication comes in tubes of 15 drops per tube, I suggest to anyone to squeeze out the excessive drops before treating then you cannot overdose, I have also found out too late for my hamster that they have only 9 drops. It is deadly stuff if accidentally overdosed which is easy to do without proper instructions, it is not just a case of do not overdose, your pet will actually die and there is no antidote. I only wish I had this information before I had treated my hamster whom I loved so much.

    • So sorry to read this and I’m sorry no one replied to you to offer condolences and thank you for the warning as any one could make this mistake. I overdosed my shetland pony with triple wormer recently but luckily it is not so potent as this stuff. Even though it’s a few years back, I expect you still thonk of your hamster but hopefully just happy memories now. Xxx


Leave a Comment