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Is loud chewing one of your pet peeves? Then you might want to rethink about getting a hamster.
Hamsters are quite the chewers, and can sometimes chew on cages too! Chewing is part of their natural behavior and can happen for a number of reasons, though excessive chewing can be concerning and it is important that you identify and correct the reason behind it.
Hamsters classify as rodents, derived from the Latin word ‘rodere’ which literally means ‘to gnaw’. Saying that hamsters gnaw often is an underrating, but they frequently chew on various items as a way to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
Although, if you ever notice that your hamster has a habit of biting the bars or even chewing the bars of its cage, it might be a sign of an underlying problem you need to address.
So grab some chew toys folks!
Why Does Your Hamster Chew On Cage Bars?
1. Overgrown Teeth
Caring for your hamster’s teeth can be very tricky. Since the enamel on their incisors (front teeth) continually grow throughout their life, wearing down their teeth from time to time is extremely important, as overgrown teeth can cut their gums and tongue while they try to close their mouth.
Your hamster is probably in a lot of discomfort due to this and is chewing on the bars as a last resort!
2. You’re Missing Out On Play Time
Another reason you might find your hamster chewing on its cage bar is boredom. Exercise and entertainment stimulate the mind and even though they’re mostly happy in their own company, sometimes your hamster can be begging for your attention.
3. They’ve Outgrown Their Cage
You might be tempted to buy those cute hamster cages in the pet store, but most of them aren’t spacious enough for full-grown hamsters.
Hamsters need to have room to run around and play to keep themselves entertained, and small cages can not only make them feel suffocated but can also get too filthy to live in.
Your hamster might be chewing the bars in a desperate attempt to get out!
If your hammy is not only chewing on cage bars but is also seemingly agitated and jumpy then it’s likely that it’s under a lot of anxiety and stress.
Here might be the reason why:
- They’re awfully scared. Hamsters startle easily especially due to loud noises, so if you have a dog or live on a busy road it might be distressing your hamster.
- Filthy cage. Hamsters can die from living in an unclean cage because it causes them so much stress.
- They’re bullied by their roommate.
- New environment. Make sure you’re not too touchy with your hamster when they just moved in as they need time and space to adjust.
Lastly, your hamster might be biting the bars just out of habit.
If you’ve explored every other possibility and none of them apply to your hamster then maybe it just likes chewing on the bars. It’s definitely not the ideal hobby, but hey we all have our flaws.
Why chewing on cage bars is dangerous:
- It can cause bar rub. This happens when hamsters that chew bars also rub their noses on them, causing bald spots and various injuries in that area. Wounds can get infected and result in scarring, jeopardizing the health of your hamster.
- It can break their teeth. Broken incisors may not always grow back or can even grow back crooked. Broken incisors can cause lacerations of the palate resulting in oral-nasal fistulas. If your hamster is sneezing or has nasal discharge, consult a vet immediately.
How To Stop My Hamster From Chewing Bar Cages
1. Pick Your Cage Wisely
- Metal cages are a big fat NO. They’re the riskiest cages to buy. If your hamster ever chooses to bite on metal bars there’s a high probability they’ll walk away with a few injuries.
- Avoid buying a plastic cage. If you’re ever wondering “can my hamster chew through a cage?”, the answer is heck yes! Especially if it’s a plastic cage. Hamster’s teeth are extremely strong and with time they can actually break through plastic cages!
- Glass cages for the win! Switching to glass cages or reclaimed aquariums is a fool proof way to stop your hamster from chewing on the bars!
- Buy a large cage. Large cages don’t get dirty faster and allow your hamster space to play in. Your hamster is likely to feel less grumpy and irritable in a large cage. The preferred size to buy is a 24×12 inch cage for a Syrian Hamster but it’s better to play it safe and by a cage this size even if you have a Dwarf.
2. Give Them Something Else To Chew On
It’s great to invest in chew toys for your hamster to chew on. Wooden chews or even a piece of wood works great to prevent overgrown teeth. You can even DIY your chew toys using cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet papers if you’re not ready to invest in commercial ones. You can even give your hamster a dog biscuit to chew on.
3. Keep Them Entertained
A little exercise and entertainment goes a long way.
- Get a hamster wheel. This will not only provide enrichment but also provide a healthy alternative to use their energy on.
- Play with them. It is important as a pet owner that you at least play with your hamster once every 24 hours. If they seem agitated and jumpy and you can hear their teeth chattering, it’s best not to pet them, instead you can use toys for that necessary interaction. You can also give them a little supervised free time by taking them out of the cage for a bit to play. In the end, you know what’s good for your hamster according to their preferences.
4. Clean Their Cage
It is imperative that you clean their cage once a week or at least every ten days. Remember to change their bedding, remove feces and remove hoarded food. This will make them less anxious and stressed.
To Sum It Up
Your hamster should definitely not be chewing on their cage’s bar as it can lead to severe injuries. Whether your hamster has outgrown teeth or a very small cage it is important to find the root of the problem, and if it seems like just a habit, always provide them with distractions and alternatives.
It is crucial that they stop chewing on bars to lead a healthy and happy life.