Friday, March 9, 2012

Why does my Hamster Chew the Bars of its Cage?

Is your hamster keeping you awake all night while chewing on the bars of its cage?  One of the most common complaints people have about their pet hamster is that the animal is chewing on its cage bars all night long.

Chewing on the cage's bars is a common hamster behavior, it is not a particularly good one, or any indication of happiness in the pet. A hamster who chews on the bars of its cage is bored. It is not necessarily trying to chew its way out, but it is passing time by engaging in a bad, somewhat compulsive, habit.

Hamsters are rodents and rodents need to chew, but even with ample chew toys many start chewing on the bars of their cage.  This is a vice, a bad habit, it is not done to wear down their teeth, or for any purpose other than to keep busy.

Chewing on the bars is really an indication of boredom and mental frustration. It is difficult for some pet owners to think that a hamster would be mentally frustrated, but this is very common.  A wild hamster would have much more space than a cage provides, they would spend their night looking for food, gathering some here, some there, making trips back and forth from sources of food to their den. In most cages the hamster does not need to go further than a few inches to find its food and water.

Some hamster owners do exercise their hamster by putting it in a ball, or by giving it a wheel to run on in the cage. Both are better than nothing, but neither are as interesting as the habitat for a hamster.  Both are exercise but they are not every interesting. 

Anyone who is considering getting a hamster, or who has one and wants to make their pet's life better, needs to invest in a huge cage system, one that offers tunnels and variety, and can be changed around regularly.

While small cages with bars are sold for hamsters they are really not suitable for containing these pets. This is much the same as when we look at old style zoos where the animals use to be kept in small, boring cages, compared with some modern zoos, where the animals are given more room and more variety within their enclosure.

You should also provide tunnels for your pet hamster by giving it empty toilet paper, or paper towel rolls, or by letting it out in a large room to explore.

Other Reading

Tips on Selecting a Pet Hamster for a Child

1 comment:

  1. I never know why I never be able to keep hamster as pets. I have birds, chickens, and fish. But I really am a bad keeper of hamster. I have ever tried to keep hamster for three times in my life, and it was all ended not good. They were all died without I know why. I did provide them a pretty huge cage, the wheel, and feed them well. I was curious while my niece can keep this animal in a very good way. She even breed her hamsters and then sell some to her school friends.

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