We love our hamsters and we want the best for them! This means that we can often worry about their cage size and if they are truly happy in the enclosure that we give them. This is especially seen as a problem if we ever see our hamsters biting their cage bars! Hamsters can do this commonly and it can raise questions as to why hamsters bite their cage bars? Is it just out of boredom? Do they want attention? There are many possibilities!
This blog will answer your questions on this topic. We’ll be looking at why exactly hamsters love to bite their cage bars so much and what you can do to stop it. We know that this is a topic that effects many people so make sure to leave a comment telling us what your problem is! We will be able to reply and give personal advice to you based on your situation.
Reasons for biting the bars
There’s plenty of reasons why your hamster could be biting their bars. We will try to list all of them below and give some details as to why they are doing this.
The primary reason why your hamster may be biting their bars is just out of boredom. They may have nothing to do in their cage and nothing that interests them. This means that they will bite their bars to get some form of stimulation or simply to try to escape. This can be a huge problem as it shows that you may not have enough stuff in their cage to interest your hamster. Try to add more toys and treats. If you don’t have a wheel then definitely add one into the cage! This may make your hamster happier and stimulated, meaning that they won’t want to bite on the bars anymore
One of the other reasons why your hamster could be biting on the bars of the cage is that the cage is too small for them. This can be incredibly common. Pet stores will advertise cages that are far too small for your hamster which means that you can often be pushed into getting a cage that is too small. This leads your hamster to want to escape as there isn’t enough space for them, they can feel uncomfortable and stressed and want to escape. It also means that there are not enough toys and treats in the cage as there’s simply not enough room for the amount of stimulation that they need!
You can solve this problem by getting a cage that is the correct size for your hamster. The National Hamster Council in the UK recommends a minimum of 1000cm2 for Syrians and 800cm2 for Dwarfs. Similar organisations across the world recommend similar cage sizes. You can make cages out of big plastic tubs if you want to! It can be really easy to make a hamster cage that is this size and one that fits your budget!
To get attention
So you might have the right cage with plenty of interaction inside it, but your hamster still bites on the cages! What possible problem could your hamster have in that situation? The reason why my hamster, Richard, bites the bars is for attention! He will often sit in the exact same spot at the exact same time every day and bite the bars until he gets my attention! This may have something to do with the fact that he is due to be fed at that time! Hamsters can be smart and may know how to get your attention for food or simply for cuddling and petting!
So don’t be overly concerned if you have a big cage with lots of stuff for your hamster to do! Your hamster may simply want your attention and I am sure that you would be willing to give them this attention! Make sure that you take them out every day and constantly replenish their food and water.
Dangers of bar biting
There are quite a few dangers related to bar biting. These mainly relate to the problems that cause a hamster to bite their bars in the first place. Let’s look at some dangers!
Damage to teeth
It may seem fine for your hamster to bite the bars, after all they need to grind down their teeth! However, this form of biting can damage your hamster’s health! It can result in their teeth becoming misaligned which leads to problems with teeth later on in their life. It can also result in their teeth being chipped and possibly even broken. This is not the right way to grind down teeth! Give them plenty of chew toys and hard treats instead, they shouldn’t have to resort to biting the bars!
One of the main problems that comes with your hamster biting the bar is the fact that they can be under considerable stress. This is because they may be in a cage that is too small or they may not have the correct toys and food that they desire. This can lead to them biting the bars, as we have already stated before. Stressed hamsters can be jumpy, lethargic and these issues can lead to health problems such as wet-tail. It can also lead to existing illnesses, such as respiratory tract disease, getting worse. This is because a stressed hamster has a weaker immune system which means that they cannot fight off illnesses as well as if they were happier.
Can hamsters escape by biting the bars?
Most probably not. Most hamster cages have metal bars which are impossible for hamsters to bite through if they are created right. However old cages that are pre-owned may have weaker bars and therefore you should check to make sure that the metal is sturdy and cannot be chomped through. Broken metal bars could hurt your hamster through ingestion and by cutting them.
Plastic hamster cages don’t generally have bars and we don’t recommend plastic bars as your hamster will absolutely be able to bite through them!
Alternatives for wearing down teeth
So, we now know that hamsters shouldn’t bite their bars. It can chip, misalign and hurt their teeth! So what alternatives are there? Let’s take a look!
The obvious option for helping your hamster wear down their teeth are toys. Wooden toys and plastic toys can be fantastic for your hamster as it can give them a fun time whilst allowing their teeth to be naturally worn down. Make sure that these are toys specially meant for small animals to ensure that there’s no toxic substances contained within the toys
Heat-treated wood can be a good option for your hamster and it is usually available from most pet stores. It can cool down your hamster’s cage whilst proving a cute natural look to your pet’s habitat. Don’t use natural wood as it can bring in bacteria and possibly even outside animals such as spiders and bugs.
Certain pet treats, such as corn, can be great for helping your pet wear down their teeth. It can be a delicious snack and provide plenty of health benefits for your hamster at the same time! Try to get hard treats that your hamster can gnaw on instead of softer treats
Conclusion – Why do hamsters bite on their cage bars?
We’ve looked at the primary reasons why hamsters bite on their cage bars. They do it out of boredom, due to their cage size or due to just wanting attention! Some of the dangers of bar biting include damaging teeth and causing stress in your pet. Hamsters shouldn’t be able to escape, so long as the metal bars are new and strong. There’s plenty of alternatives for hamsters to help them wear down their teeth like treats, wood and toys!
Does your hamster bite on the bars? Can we help you out? Let us know below!