Why Is My Hamster Chewing The Cage Bars?

Hamsters are generally quiet pets. You nonetheless might sometimes contend with the squeaking sounds made by the hamster wheel at night as your pet runs on it.

This can be quite irritating and disturb your sleep. Unfortunately, the squeaking is not the only thing that might get on your nerves as a hamster owner.

The animal might also chew on the bars of its cages from time to time.  Though you might be tempted to dismiss the behavior as normal, chewing on its cage bars might also indicate that there is something wrong with your hamster.

Below are reasons on why your hamster might be chewing on the cage bars and how you can stop this behavior.

Reasons Why Your Hamster Is Chewing the Cage Bars

Whether the chewing of cage bars is an old or new habit for your hamster, the following are some reasons for this behavior:

– Want to Escape

When introduced into a new cage, most hamsters will naturally want to escape. They will thus focus on chewing through the bars to make enough space through which they can squeeze.

Most hamsters settle down after a few days, and they stop attempting to escape as they get used to their cage.

– Teeth Grinding

Rodents like mice, squirrels, hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs have an inborn need to chew on things. This is because their teeth will not stop growing.

By chewing on different items, the rodents file their teeth and keep them from overgrowing. This can mean chewing on the cage bars when there is nothing else for the hamster to chew.

– Hunger

Hamsters might be small and hardy animals, but they still need enough food and water to keep them comfortable. When hungry, they might resort to chewing on the bars of their cages.

To the animal, this can also mean creating enough space to get out and forage for food. Hamsters, unlike humans, will not need three meals per day.

However, they need to constantly snack and have enough in their food stockpile for them to remain comfortable.

– Boredom

In the wild, hamsters spend a lot of time playing and looking for food. When put in a cage without much to do, it is understandable for them to get quickly bored.

Chewing on the cage bars for the animal gives it something to do to pass time. Some hamsters will also chew on their bars to get a person’s attention so that they can play when bored.

In this case, the animal will usually chew the bars when there is someone nearby.

– Small Cage

Remember that though tiny, hamsters have a lot of space to themselves in the wild. If you get a small cage for them, this makes them feel grumpy and cramped.

Despite your best care efforts, the hamster might start chewing on the cage bars to increase its available space.

– Stress

Some people will bite their nails when stressed. Likewise, hamsters can chew on their cage bars because of stress. Being prey to a lot of creatures in the wild, hamsters are naturally nervy creatures and always on the lookout for danger.

They can get easily stressed if other animals invade their space or are exposed to loud noises and sudden movements. Other than chewing on cage bars, the stress in a hamster is evidenced by hair loss, squeaking, incessant escape attempts, and hypersalivation.

How to Stop Hamsters from Chewing The Bars?

Chewing on cage bars is not something you should ignore in your hamster. The habit can result in serious dental issues, including broken and misaligned teeth.

The chewing can also lead to facial injuries, baldness on the nose, and toxic side effects from the ingestion of the paint used on the bars.

The following are some ways of stopping your hamster’s habit of chewing on bars.

– Introduce Toys

To prevent boredom and give your master something to focus their energy on other than the cage bars, introduce toys into the cage. Hamster wheels, balls, ladders, ramps, and climbing blocks are among the toy alternatives for your pet’s cage.

You can also get a dish of fine sand or dust bath for your hamsters to roll in or burrow so that its coat remains in optimal condition. Thankfully, there are now many brands for these toys, and you are sure to get those that fit your price range.

Even so, please focus on the quality of the toys rather than their prices or brand names. This protects your hamster from accidents related to the use of substandard toys.

– Give Your Hamster Things to Chew

You can bring in a wooden piece or tree branch from the outdoors for your hamster to chew on so that the teeth are adequately filed, and your animal’s inherent need to chew is met.

This might, however, introduce microorganisms that affect your pet’s health or infect its cage. The safest choice is to introduce toys on which the hamsters can safely chew.

There are plenty of these in pet stores. If you notice that your hamster keeps chewing the cage’s bars even after giving it chew toys, you can opt for a glass tank.

In this tank, there is nothing for the hamster to chew other than toys. For pets that love chewing on metal bars, you can provide stainless steel teaspoons for them to chew instead.

– Take tour Hamster Out of Its Cage Frequently

Like all animals, hamsters will get bored with the same caged environment daily. To avert this, take the pet out of its cage for a short time daily. In most cases, taking the hamster out of its cage for 15-30 minutes will suffice.

However, if you have been doing this with little change to the cage biting habit, increase the time the hamsters spend outside the cage.

You can alternatively take your pet out of its cage more times throughout the day. The change of surroundings will not just alleviate your pet’s boredom but give you the chance to bond with it.

– Get a Bigger Cage

You can stop your hamster from biting on bar cages by getting the minimum cage size for its size. The smallest cage for a hamster should measure 80 x 50 x 50 cm. If you have more floor space, consider getting a bigger cage.

This will accommodate the hamster’s need to burrow, play, and run around like it would in the wild. If you already have a cage, there are small detachable cage alternatives on the market that you can add to expand the available floor space for your hamster.

– Eliminate Stress

You will first need to pick the cause of stress in your hamster to act appropriately and negate the cage-biting habit. If, for instance, the cage is placed in a high-traffic or noisy area, consider moving it to negate the sudden noises and movements that would stress your hamster.

You can get separate cages if you are keeping multiple hamsters since in-fighting can also induce stress in some hamsters.

Most hamsters are stressed within the first few days of staying in a new cage. During this time, talk to your pet in a calming and soothing voice to calm it as it slowly gets accustomed to its new surroundings.

– Spray Bitter Apple Spray or Oil on the Bars

Leaving oil on your hamster cage’s bars will alter their taste and texture and make them less attractive for your hamster.

You nonetheless should only use edible oils with low cholesterol like coconut or olive oils to guarantee the safety and health of your hamster.

Alternatively, get bitter apple spray from pet stores and spray it on the bars to discourage the hamster from biting them.

Be careful that the spray does not touch the hamster’s beddings, utensils, and toys since it might cause your pet to stop using these essentials.

Can A Hamster Chew Through Metal Bars?

No, hamsters do not have teeth that are strong enough to chew through metal bars. Even so, some hamsters will still keep chewing on metal bars even if the bars do not bend.

Most of these metal bars have a thin plastic coating to protect them from environmental elements that cause its rusting.

With continued chewing, hamsters will ingest this toxic plastic that might cause a range of conditions.

If you settle for the metal bar cage, opt for a galvanized steel option that remains rust-free even with no plastic coating.

Wrapping Up

Most people pick hamsters for pets believing that their small size makes them the easiest animals to keep. This might be true to some extent, but taking care of a hamster requires ensuring a few things are in order.

One of these is that your pet is as comfortable as it would be in the wild and boasts the highest health levels in your home.

Understanding why a hamster might chew on its cage bars and taking steps to get rid of this behavior is among the first steps to guaranteeing your pet’s well-being.

The above information will hopefully help you better cope with cage biting in your hamster. This will make you one of the happiest hamster owners.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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