hamster spots Black spots on the skin of the hamster: causes + treatment

Black spots on the skin of the hamster: causes + treatment

One or more black spots on the skin of your hamster will certainly cause horror at first.

Even if often harmless reasons are behind it, also life-threatening causes show up responsible for it.

How to behave correctly and what the causes of these black spots are, we tell you in this article.

Why does the hamster have black spots on the back?

Scent glands, increasing pigmentation with age, skin cancer, tumors and parasites can be responsible for this. In any case, a precise clarification of the cause is necessary to enable appropriate treatment.
Causes of black spots on the hamster’s back

Black or dark spots on your hamster’s back or skin can have several causes.

The location and number of spots affected are already important clues.

We’ve compiled five of the most common causes of black spots so you can quickly address them if needed.

Scent glands

Middle hamsters have scent glands on their backs. These are located on the sides of the flanks, on the right and left sides of the body. They are used to mark territory and signal readiness to mate.

Females use the black, tallowy secretion, among other things, to lay a trail all the way to their nest. Nevertheless, the glands are more active in males and therefore larger.

If there are sexually mature hamsters in the area or if the hamster home is cleaned very frequently, the animals mark frequently and intensively.

This can cause the fur over the glands to rub off and the skin to become visible. Because of the dark secretion, the areas also appear dark to black.

However, as long as they are not clogged or inflamed, this is not a cause for concern.

However, if they are swollen or raised, red and very warm, you should see a veterinarian. He can empty the glands and give an antibiotic for the inflammation if necessary.


If you can see your hamster’s skin when grooming or due to bald spots, you may be surprised. This is because it is rarely light pink throughout.

Dark and black patches can alternate with each other regardless of coat color. In addition, the pigmentation of the skin can change in the course of life. Usually it becomes darker in places.

Also responsible can be an infestation with fungi and the resulting treatment. Fungal infections of the skin lead to hair loss. The therapy is medicinal and can be accompanied by a stronger and darker pigmentation of the skin and coat.

This is not a cause for concern as long as no other symptoms appear.

Bald patches in the coat or spreading loss of fur, however, you should get to the bottom of early.
Skin cancer and diseases

If there are skin changes, which are not only related to the change of color, possibly degenerated cells and thus skin cancer or other organic diseases are responsible. As a rule, however, this is accompanied by other symptoms.

These can be the following signs:

Loss of appetite
Hair loss
several different colors
scaly skin
crusting or scabbing

In addition, the discolorations are often frayed at the edges.

Among other things, liver dysfunction is a possible organic cause.

However, an exact assessment is only possible through the veterinarian and appropriate examinations.


Unfortunately, tumors are not uncommon in rodents.

Especially older hamsters can develop these growths, but they are not always malignant.

Excessive cell growth can be accompanied by discoloration of the skin, not just a lump under the skin. Whitish patches are possible as well as black areas.

As soon as you notice raised areas of skin, lumps or thickening on your hamster, a veterinary exam is required.

At best, these are not tumors, but accumulations of sebum or fat. Even if a tumor is present, if diagnosed early, it can be removed before it continues to grow or the cells spread throughout the body via the bloodstream and lymph.


In case of an infestation with mites or fleas, the skin does not change color afterwards. On the one hand, however, already existing black spots may become more noticeable. On the other hand, mites and accumulations of flea feces can be mistaken for black spots.

Typical signs of infestation are:

increased itching and frequent scratching
sticky or shaggy coat
bald patches
frequent rubbing on rough surfaces

Due to itching, your hamster may occasionally scratch out fur or even have bloody welts on his skin. This is usually the case in the neck and back area, behind the ears and on the flanks.

If the parasites nevertheless settle in these areas again, the black spots are noticeable.

You can easily clear up this confusion yourself by brushing out the fur with a very fine comb.

A flea comb is ideal.

Put the black crumbs on a white sheet of paper, fold it and then rub over it with a fingernail or the back of a knife with high pressure. If there are mites, slightly damp spots will remain.

With flea droppings, bloody thin streaks appear on the paper. This is because the droppings consist of your hamster’s digested blood.

To combat the parasites, it is usually sufficient to use an appropriate spot-on preparation and to clean the cage thoroughly.

Treatment and prevention

If you notice black spots on your hamster’s back, you should see a veterinarian to be safe. This is especially true if there are other symptoms or you are unsure what it is.

If there are two spots on the side of the flanks, there is a good chance that it is the scent glands. However, you should not try to express them yourself.

See a veterinarian for emptying.

However, by offering fresh water and water-rich foods daily, you can reduce the risk of clogging.

In the case of cancer and other diseases as well as tumors, unfortunately you can neither prevent the black spots nor the cause. However, the risk can be reduced by species-appropriate husbandry and balanced feeding.

Remains the prevention of parasites.

These can become a problem even if the hamster is kept indoors only. They are introduced, for example, through hay, straw, twigs collected in the garden and other natural materials. Mice, hedgehogs and other animals can carry the parasites on them and wipe them off.

Therefore, check bedding and all materials that enter the hamster home.

Also, thoroughly inspect your hamster at least once a week for skin changes and abnormalities. This will help to detect and treat both parasites and other problems early on. This will increase the chance of successful treatment, reduce the expense and prevent your pet from becoming weaker.

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