The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches don’t come out of nowhere. They are usually attracted to something in or outside our homes.
I recently got a few hamsters, and it made me wonder if my new pets would attract mice? I had no idea and enlisted the help of my friend, who had kept hamsters as pets for years.
We would be forgiven for thinking that the smell of hamsters might attract mice, but hamsters don’t attract mice. Mice and rats stay away from rodents of different species. Mice are attracted to the hamster’s food, bedding, feces, unmaintained living space, and other external factors.
Hamsters and mice are both rodents but from two different species. These rodents keep to their species when it comes to territory, food, and mating.
But I always wondered if the foul smell that sometimes comes from a hamster cage won’t attract mice. So I wanted I would share what I found.
Do Hamsters Attract Mice?
Hamsters do not attract mice. Mice and other rodents try to avoid rodents that are of a different species.
Each rodent has a distinct smell and gives off distinct pheromones. It helps the rodent distinguish between the different species. Mice won’t go near hamsters or other rodents if you can help it.
Even if the hamsters don’t attract mice, hamsters also don’t deter mice. The mice can still be found in homes with a hamster. It’s just not the hamsters that are attracting the mice.
You may wonder why you still have problems with mice near your hamster cages. We will discuss the reasons in the section below.
Can Hamsters Attract Mice?
The hamsters themselves don’t attract mice. Mice are opportunistic creatures that scavenge on whatever they find.
They typically come out at night, and the main two things that drive them are mating and food. So it’s not the hamsters that attract mice but one of the following:
Mice are attracted to any food source, so one made especially for their rodent cousins, the hamster, is right up their ally.
If you don’t store your hamster’s food in an airtight container, the mice will smell it and nibble and chew through the bag or cardboard box to get to the food inside it. The other issue is the leftover food in your hamsters’ cage.
Hamsters tend to leave some of their food over, and if it’s not removed after a while, the smell is an open invitation to other rodents to come and have a feast. Some hamster owners give extra food when they will be gone for a few hours or if they aren’t quite sure of the amount of food their hamster needs.
It’s vital to give the right amount of food and remove all the leftover food a few hours after feeding your hamster so it won’t attract mice and other rodents.
When it comes to building the perfect nest or burrow, hamsters and mice have one thing in common; they want a warm, cozy, and dark place to take refuge in or have babies. The smell of the bedding might attract mice if it’s not cleaned regularly.
It might be a bigger problem in wintertime when mice need warm bedding to build a nest to survive the cold. They like to tear paper bedding to sherds, bite and tear fleece bedding and towels.
If you don’t regularly clean your hamster’s cage, the smell of the feces, urine, uneaten food, and bedding is all the right ingredients to lure mice into your hamsters’ cage.
You need to check under the bedding and in the nest for food, and hamsters tend to hoard their food. The food will go bad after a while, and the smell will lure mice.
You should clean your hamster enclosure once every week, but maintenance cleaning, such as picking up the poop and the leftover and hidden food, would go a long way to ensure mice don’t give your hamsters a visit.
As unappealing as it might sound, mice are attracted to the smell of hamster droppings. Mice are Coprophacic, meaning they eat poop to get the last little bit of nutrients out of the undigested food.
We all know that hamsters are not the cleanest critters when it comes to their cages, but they tend to spread their droppings all over their cage.
Domesticated hamsters get as many fruits, veggies, and hamster pellets as they want, but their bodies will only digest the nutrition they need to be healthy; the rest will be flushed out in the droppings and urine of the hamster. These nutrients are what attract mice.
So a thorough cleaning of the entire enclose, including the bedding, tunnels, domes, and hamster wheel, is key to keeping the smell from enticing mice into your hamster cage.
Can Mice Harm Hamsters?
It’s vital to do whatever it takes to keep mice away from your hamsters. There have been cases where mice attacked hamsters and severely injured a hamster.
Mice don’t usually attack, they would much rather sneak some food or bedding out of the hamster cage, but sometimes a fight can happen.
These are rare cases, but the biggest problem lies with the mice spreading diseases. As we know, mice defecate and urinate as they go.
They don’t need to bite your hamster to spread diseases, so if your hamster comes into contact with the urine or feces of the mice, they may contract it.
The diseases that can be carried by mice and passed on to your hamster include:
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV)
- Mice also carry lice, mites, and fleas that can make your hamster sick or cause death if not treated.
Some of these diseases can be dangerous to the hamsters and their owners, and you must take care if you suspect you might have a mice problem because if you don’t take care of it as soon as possible, you might have an infestation on your hands.
How to Get Rid of Mice Near Your Hamsters
Getting rid of mice can be intimidating and challenging, but you can get rid of mice with perseverance and patience. You must remember that you need methods to get rid of the mice without harming your hamsters and other pets.
Here are some ways you can get rid of rats without harming other pets.
Eliminate Their Food Source
One of the first steps to getting rid of mice near your hamsters is eliminating their food source. Most of us just put the hamster pellets and treats in a cupboard, thinking it’s okay. It can be unless you have a mice problem.
Even if you only have a few mice, they can lead to an infestation. To eliminate their food source, you can:
- Invest in an airtight container that will help mask the smell of the hamster’s food and treats.
- Keep an eye on the feeding times of your hamster, once you have established a pattern, you can feed your hamster when they want to eat, and you will know when to take away any leftover food after they are done.
- When you take old bedding out, ensure to put it in bins where the mice can’t get to it, as they will smell the hamster droppings and old food you might have missed.
- It helps to do a spot check on the hamster cage even after you have finished cleaning it, there might be new droppings, or your hamster might have snuck food to hide, and there could be leftovers.
Keep the Cage Clean
It might seem like this part is a given, but it is vital to get rid of mice. You must thoroughly clean any droppings or bedding regularly to keep mice from smelling anything they might like to eat or use to build nests.
You can also use a natural mice repellent like chili flakes in water and spray it on the bedding you want to discard.
They will leave it alone when their noses get irritated by the sharp chili. Once they have no bedding or food, they might leave your hamsters and your home.
Other Methods to Get Rid of Mice Near Hamsters
When you need to get rid of mice near your hamsters, and the measures mentioned above just weren’t enough to get rid of the mice and keep them away, you need to consider mice other methods of dealing with the mice that won’t harm your hamsters.
When you use rodent repellents, you need to be careful of where you put the repellent, as hamsters are also rodents, and you don’t want to irritate them when using this.
Most rodents have a very sensitive sense of smell, and they use this sense to determine where food is. So if you put peppermint oil mixed with water in a spray bottle and spray it near the rubbish bins where you throw the old bedding and leftover food, it will disrupt their keen sense of smell and irritate their nose.
You need to keep doing this once or twice a day until they are gone. Then you can do it when the bin starts to smell to keep them away.
You should also spray this near any cupboards that contain food. Don’t spray this near your hamster cage as it might irritate their noses.
Chili is also a smell mice can’t stand, and it masks the smell of food and droppings. You can soak the chili flakes in water, add the mixture to a spray bottle, and then liberally spray the same spots as with the peppermint oil. You can also use this to keep the mice away.
This one can be tricky as the rodent repellent will affect your hamsters and the mice. You can buy these repellents at most stores or online. When you decide to use one of these repellent sprays, you should move your hamsters to another room that has no signs of mice.
You can spray the usual hangouts, and because they can’t smell past the repellent, they won’t smell the new hamster placement.
Using Humane Traps
Humane traps consist of putting bait like old bedding and food in the trap, and as soon as the mice are inside the trap, the doors close, and you can safely release the mice a few blocks away from your home in an open field.
Tips to Keep Mice Away From Your Hamsters
Here are a few tips that will stop the mice from coming back once you have gotten rid of them:
- Change your hamster cage to a glass aquarium; it’s easier to clean and won’t soak up gross smells. It will also be more difficult for mice to get into.
- Never leave your trash bags to sit overnight; it’s an open invitation to any pest looking for a meal.
- Don’t put your hamsters in dark places like the basement; remember, mice like warm dark places to hide, so they won’t like well-lit places.
- Upgrade your hamster cage by putting see-through plexiglass on the bottom and the sides so it’s easier to clean and harder for the mice to get traction and climb in. You can also add fine mesh to the outside so the mice can’t gain entry.
- If nothing has worked, you might want to call an exterminator to help you get rid of the mice problem and some techniques to keep them away. They do have humane traps and other ways to get rid of mice that won’t hurt your hamster or other pets.
Mice and hamsters are both rodents, but they don’t mix. Rodents tend to stay in their own species. So the smell of your hamster will be enough to put mice off, but that doesn’t mean it will stay away if there are things that attract the mice to your hamster enclosure.
Keeping mice away from your hamsters is vital as they carry fatal diseases to hamsters and humans. You can keep mice at bay by eliminating the things they are attracted to and using a few repellents where they might gain access to your home.