Do you have any idea why your pet hamster keeps on biting its cage? Do you get awaken at night time because you hear the metal bars echoing the sound to your bedroom? Is there a reason to worry?
The answer is yes. It is not normal for hamsters to keep on biting their cage. Actually, it is a sign of stress. Did you know that these small guys are not aggressive by nature? So when they bite their cage, something’s wrong with them.
Hamsters by nature, love to chew things. But apart from instinctual chewing, there could be some underlying reasons for this behavior.
In this article, we will answer the question of why your pet hamster is obsessed about biting its cage and what are the steps that you can do to stop this behavior.
Reasons for Cage Biting:
- Hamsters front teeth keep on growing throughout their lifetime. They chew on just about anything including its cage to stop those front teeth from growing too long. In the desert, wild hamsters bite pieces of tree trunks and rocks to stop the teeth from getting very long.
- Hamsters chew their cage to get your attention. Staying inside their cage for a long time can lead to ‘cabin fever’ or boredom. So, they wake you up so they can have some playtime sessions with you.
- Hamsters bite their cages because they lack certain kinds of vitamins and minerals. They find ways on how to beef-up on these nutrients, but unfortunately, they think they can find these nutrients from cage biting.
- They want to escape. Perhaps the hamster’s cage is too small to the point that it suppresses their movements. Where do hamsters come from? In the wild where they have the entire desert to run around and search for food. The cage is the antithesis of where they originally come from.
If the cage is not big enough, it is their instinct to get out by biting the cage.
7 Ways for Preventing a Hamster From Biting its Cage:
- By giving your hamster wood to chew on, it will stop it from biting its cage. As we mentioned a while ago, your pet’s teeth keep on growing. If these are allowed to get longer, it can lead to pain and discomfort which could result in loss of appetite.
When choosing wood to chew on, we recommend not to use the freshly cut wood from your backyard. These may have some harmful organisms that can make your pet sick. The untreated, paint-free, and devoid of oil type of wood is the safest choice.
Stay away from pine or cedarwood as these are toxic to your little fellow. Safe are those woods from apple and pear trees.
- Play with your hamster. Since they have the tendency to get bored, you just have to make an effort to give your pet the attention that it needs to release the pent-up energy. For example, just before going to bed, you can play with it to make your pet feel special.
Perhaps you can allow it to be free from the cage and just let it get goofy with you. Let it sit on your lap, run and climb around you and basically to have some bonding time with you.
- Feed your hamster with a good quality of food and treats. What do hamsters eat? Great examples are fresh vegetables like carrots and romaine lettuce. Do not forget those nutrition-packed fruits like apple, banana, and berries.
- Do not disturb your hamster while it is asleep during the daytime. Remember that they are nocturnal creatures so waking them up at daytime may cause anxiety, stress, and undesirable behavior like cage biting.
- Getting a larger cage may be the way to stop it from biting its cage. As a general rule, the size of its cage must not be smaller than 24 inches by 12 inches and a height of 12 inches.
Ever thought of changing its cage? You may want to shift to a large glass aquarium. In fact, it is safer because it is devoid of iron, zinc, copper, and aluminum which are present in a metal cage. Add to that, metal bars are painted and too much ingestion of paint is toxic.
- Make its cage interesting and full of fun. No one wants to live in a boring environment, thus, you can place a lot of toys like wheels, balls, tunnels, and chew toys inside their cage. Apart from wood chews, there are cheaper alternatives like cardboard tubes from toilet papers.
The idea is to provide a playful and stimulating environment so it will not turn to its cage for excitement. Plus, if your pet is happy, there is no reason for it to try to escape from its cage, right?
- Your hamster is a neat freak so keep its cage clean all the time. Otherwise, a dirty cage will cause undue anxiety and stress that leads to cage biting. You only need to spend an hour or even less at least once a week to keep your pet happy.
No one can blame if you get stressed seeing your hamster bite its cage. Though they are by nature chewers, allowing them to bite their cage may pose a problem especially to their health.
Could it be that your pet is asking for some time from you? Is the cage too restricting? Does it have enough toys to stimulate its mind? These are just some questions that you need to look into so you can stop or at least reduce your pet hamster’s obsession with chewing its cage.
Yes, hamsters chew all the time but metal bars are far from excellent chew toys. Not only will it damage their teeth but metal bars have in them some toxic elements. So, for your peace of mind, spend time with it, give it lots of attention and chew toys in a cage that is big enough for it to move and be merry around.