Why Do Hamsters Have Bumps On Their Feet?

By Dawn | Filed under:  General

Disclosure

Hamster Geek is supported by its readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you.

Hamster’s feet, aren’t they adorable? Watching those cute little tootsies as your pet goes about their daily business is one of the joys of being a hamster owner. But have you ever noticed how their feet have little bumps on them? At first, you may have thought this wasn’t normal, but in reality, it is just part of their physiology.

Hamsters have pustule-like lumps or bumps on their feet due to the way their feet touch the ground in the wild. These bumps limit the amount of foot that actually has to touch the floor in extreme temperatures. 

That’s great to know, and it certainly puts your mind at ease knowing that these bumps are normal. However, there could be times when a lump or bump means something else. Let’s take a look into this. 

Should Hamsters Have Bumps On Their Feet?

If you have never owned a hamster, or haven’t since you were a child (many of us haven’t), you may be keen to explore your pet’s body and familiarize yourself with what is normal for your hammy. This is great and one of the best ways to be able to pick up on when things go wrong.

A lot of hamster owners worry that the little bumps on their hamster’s feet are something to be concerned about. Fortunately, these bumps are there to serve a purpose; in the wild, at least. 

The bumps are seen on all species of hamsters but each one has slightly different bumps. Syrian hamsters tend to have bumps that appear like individual pustules, or blisters. Conversely, the dwarf varieties tend to have bumps that appear as though they are fused together. 

Provided that the bumps are a consistent color with the rest of the foot, typically pink in most hamsters, and do not show signs of being sore or swollen, then you can feel confident that they are pretty normal. 

But we will look at foot problems in a little more detail later on in this article.

The little bumps that you see on the bottom of the feet are designed to prevent the hamster from having to put too much of their skin onto the ground when in the wild. 

Hamsters are often found in places where temperatures can be extreme. For example, in Syria, where it is typically very hot in the summer, reaching highs of 45ºc and way below freezing in the winter. 

Imagine having to put your entire foot on the ground in those temperatures? This is nature’s way of providing the hamster with a way of being a little lighter on their feet. 

However, this is not the only reason that these bumps help the hamster get about comfortably. There is also some suggestion that the lumps are a way of aiding the hamster as they climb; giving them a greater grip.

They will also serve them as they move about on the flat ground, giving them the kind of traction that we have to pay a lot of money for in a solid pair of walking boots. 

When you learn that these tiny animals can run up to eight miles in a single day, it seems no wonder that they would need supportive feet!

Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot may sound like the name of a fairytale character but for hamsters, it is something a lot less pleasant. As a hamster owner, it is also something that you must be aware of.

This is a condition that affects a lot of rodents but is particularly prominent in hamsters. To begin with, you may notice that your pet had red or swollen feet. 

The bumps that you would typically see are normally affected. In some cases, you may see small cuts or scrapes as the first sign of the condition.

Once these appear, a bacterial infection will quickly follow and this is what causes the inflammation. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable and even painful for a hamster but it can be life-threatening if it is not treated quickly.

In the early stages, it is entirely possible to treat the condition at home, bathing the foot in Epsom salts. 

However, if it worsens or you do not notice until the disease has taken over the foot, it is essential that you consult your vet. Your hamster may need a course of antibiotics to solve the issue. 

How To Avoid Bumblefoot

Having read about bumblefoot, it is little surprise that hamster owners want to avoid their pets suffering from this potentially fatal condition. 

Much like anything, there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of your pet getting bumblefoot, but there are things that you can do to help avoid it.

One of the leading causes of the condition is being overweight so it is vital that you ensure your pet gets regular exercise and eats a healthy diet. 

If the hamster is carrying too much weight, this can put unnecessary pressure on the feet, causing them to become swollen and red.

Furthermore, hamsters who do not live in a clean environment may be more susceptible to bumblefoot. For this reason, you should always be sure to keep your pet’s enclosure clean and remove any soiled bedding immediately. 

Finally, wire wheels or floors can cause the hamster to catch itself, causing scrapes and cuts. These can then develop into bumblefoot if they are not kept clean. 

Related Questions

What causes lumps in hamsters?

There could be several causes for lumps in hamsters and unless the lump is a typical part of the hamster’s physiology, you should have this checked out.  The lump could be anything as worrying as a tumor or something as simple as an allergic reaction on the skin. The only way to be sure is to consult your vet.

Do hamsters have paws or hands?

Hamsters have two paws, each of which has five toes. On their feet, there are three toes and each of these has the bumps that protect their feet from extreme heat in the wild.  On the ends of each of the toes, there are also long nails which are used as a way of helping the hamster to grip.

Sources