Why Does Your Hamster Bite His Cage?
29 September, 2017
hamster chew on cage

If you’ve ever had a hamster, you’ve probably familiar with your little critter chewing on his cage.  This probably happens at night when you’re trying to sleep.  And the noshing keeps you up! There are a few reasons why your hamster will bite his cage and it’s not to annoy you.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, and they’re good about entertaining themselves. But they still want a little love sometimes. If your hamster is chewing on the cage bars, it’s usually because he wants your attention (like our cats that howl at night).

Hamsters should get individualized attention every day, even if it just means taking him out of the cage for a little cuddling or time in the exercise ball while he’s awake. Staying inside his enclosure all the time can lead to something like cabin fever. And, then, your hamster won’t hesitate to let you know he needs some attention by noshing.

Hamsters love to chew!

Hamsters simply love to chew. It might not seem like a particularly intellectually stimulating way of entertaining oneself, but to the hamster, it just feels good. This is due largely in part to their biology, particularly the teeth.   It provides with a gnawing but comforting feeling.

Teeth growth

Unlike your teeth, which remain the same basic size and shape your whole life, a hamster’s teeth constantly grow. Hamsters grind them down constantly by regular chewing. Chewing on a hard object, like his cage bars, keeps his choppers in good condition if no more suitable source for gnawing is available.  By chewing on things, whether cage bars or anything else in his vicinity, a hamster is essentially honing his teeth to maximum benefit.

Provide the right items for chewing

Prevent or minimize your hamster’s cage-chewing inclinations by making sure that he always has access to plenty of toys or things that are safe for him to chew on.  You could offer soft wooden chews, untreated wood, apples (in small pieces), small spoons made out of stainless steel or doggie biscuits.  They have many chew toys on the market and chew sticks made just for hamsters.

Cage options

Because hamsters sometimes can’t resist chewing on their cage bars, you should keep a hamster in a cage with metal bars. Make sure that the bars are nontoxic so he doesn’t do any damage to himself when he wraps his gums around them. Wood and plastic cages can be attractive, but are also susceptible to being chewed through, leading to avoidable escapes.  A glass enclosure such as an aquarium is a good alternative so long as it gets enough fresh air. A secure wire top is sufficient.

Your hamster will usually grow out of this phase, but it’s always better to be prepared and give your hamster alternatives for chewing.

Other related articles that you just might enjoy:

Can Hamsters be trained?

Keeping your Hamster Entertained

Hamster Care – the Basics


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