Do Hamsters Need Bedding In Their Cage?

The worst thing you can do to a hamster is bring it home and put it in a cage without bedding. It’s almost as if they are back in captivity again. These nocturnal animals aren’t easy to co-exist with, but that makes it worthwhile.

So, do hamsters need bedding in their cage? And how can you go about it? Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your furry friend safe and healthy.

Why Is Bedding Necessary?

For one, it helps keep the cage clean and comfortable for your hamster. However, don’t mistake bedding for any soft material you can toss inside the cage.

Not everything is suitable for your furry buddy. Ensuring adequate and proper nesting material to keep their environment safe is imperative.

In short, your hamster needs bedding for many different reasons. The primary reason is that there must be some form of mimicking their natural, wild conditions inside that cage.

Hamsters love burrowing, digging, and creating tunnels. Facilitating their natural instincts will help them thrive for a long time.

These activities also help them release all the pent-up energy. From physical health to temperature regulation, bedding plays a crucial role in every aspect of your hamster’s life.

What Material Should You Avoid?

Many people advise against using pine shavings, cedar shavings, or ground corncobs for their bedding. While these materials are readily available in every market, it’s essential to be aware of their downsides.

For instance, they tend to mold easily and can cause toxic reactions if consumed. They become dusty and, over time, very uncomfortable for your hamster to walk on. 

Some materials can look cozy and comfortable, but they’re ironically the opposite. Bedding floss, for example, is super deadly for your furry baby.

The floss can choke them, and the impaction can even kill them if you don’t take them to a vet immediately. Some common signs of impaction-related discomfort include constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating.

How Much Bedding Do They Need?

Ideally, you should aim for 11 liters of bedding in your hamster’s cage. The goal is to provide them ample space to dig, create tunnels, and burrow. Four inches of filling should be good enough to achieve it.

If you’re concerned about too much bedding suffocating them, don’t worry. Hamsters have a natural need to burrow.

Even if they’re completely covered, the bedding won’t kill or suffocate them. As long as it’s changed frequently and cleaned, it won’t be harmful to your furry baby.

If your bedding exceeds the 4-inch mark, there’s no need to worry. Hamsters love creating tunnels inside the material and will never mind burying themselves beneath it.

What if Your Hamster Eats Their Bedding

Most people with bedding-related concerns often have very relevant reasoning behind them. Hamsters are curious. They are naturally drawn to anything that looks like food.

Bedding is no exception to the rule. So, what happens if they eat their bedding? It’s important to note that your hamster won’t just wake up one day and decide to bite on its bedding.

It is often a result of a profoundly pent-up problem called boredom. Everyone knows that boredom is more harmful to a hamster than a toxic substance. They need frequent movement and adequate stimulation to stay healthy.

This means that you must make some changes inside their cage. Replace their old toys with new ones or replace their bedding so they can dig and burrow again.

However, even if your hamster eats the bedding, there won’t be any harmful consequences unless the bedding has an unsafe substrate for your pet.

Is Soil Safe for Bedding

Soil is generally safe for bedding and helps maintain your enclosure. However, you only want to rely on organic potting soil. Anything other than that can expose your hamster to toxic chemicals.

How Can You Make Their Bedding Safer?

Bedding is something your hamster will constantly be in contact with. Hence, you want to make sure that it’s safe.

Safety in this regard entails that there should be a water-soluble substrate inside the cage. Some materials for their bedding include aspen, soft granule blends, toilet paper, and paper pellets. Let’s look into each of these options in detail.

Toilet Paper

While it is an economical and easily available option, it isn’t too convenient to rely on. For one, it isn’t a great absorbent and will need to be replaced often to ensure proper odor control.


On the other hand, Aspen is a relatively better performer. It doesn’t have the harmful chemicals that cedar and pine wood do. It is comparatively safe and cheap too.

As a rule of thumb, always purchase it from a pet store instead of a lumberyard or a carpenter. Pet stores treat it for mites and insects to ensure that your hamster is safe.

Granule Blends

Made using recycled materials, granule blends are often preferred for their softness. Using them as the top layer with proper bedding underneath is better. Not only is it safe, but it’s also compostable.

Paper-Based Bedding

This type of bedding is much more common than the other options. It is comfortable and also has the strongest absorbent features. Even though it’s a little hard on the pocket, it offers different colored options. The aesthetically pleasing element you were looking for is right here in this material.

Should You Buy Their Bedding or Make it?

People who are familiar with their hamster’s needs often prefer making their bedding on their own. However, proper, store-bought bedding is much more organized and also inexpensive.

While you may be doing everything right, investing your precious time and effort into the activity may not be worth it. In fact, if you haven’t done it before, creating a hamster’s bedding may turn out to be a disaster.

From using the wrong material to ignoring the measurements, you could end up doing many things wrong. As a result, your hamster will have a poor bedding setup and poor health.

What Does Good Bedding Mean?

Good bedding isn’t only something your hamster needs for burrowing or creating tunnels. It serves several other purposes too. Some of them are:


Hamsters urinate just like other pets do. This means that their bedding should have the suitable material and quality to absorb the excess moisture. Good absorbent features also help avoid potential health risks for your hamster.


Comfort always comes first. It isn’t unknown that a hamster is more prone to stress than any other animal out there. If they end up making nests or walking on rough surfaces, it will do the opposite of making them feel at home. Hence, smoother and softer materials are always recommended.


Hamsters are sensitive to smells. They use this sense to detect danger from miles away. Hence, if there is an undesirable stench in their cages, it won’t go unnoticed.

Good bedding should have absorbent as well as odor-diminishing qualities. The material must control the urine scent till the next time you clean their cage.


No one wants to go broke because of a pet. While we all like to adopt them, the caring part doesn’t end there. Hence, it’s vital that whatever product you invest in is reasonably priced and also of good quality.


In all honesty, you can’t always stop a hamster from filling its cheeks. Sometimes you won’t even know what they’re stocking up on. More often than not, you will find their cheeks filled with bedding material.

You want to stay away from any material that contains toxins. Even if your hamster ends up ingesting something, a safe material won’t harm its digestive tract.

Why Do Most People Choose White Bedding?

There is a range of colors available when it comes to choosing a hamster’s bedding. You might want their space to look bright and vibrant. However, it shouldn’t come at the cost of their safety.

This is why most people recommend choosing white. Not only will you be able to observe the dirt spots, but you will also be able to clean them easily. Unscented, white bedding is the way to go.

Final Words

Do hamsters need bedding in their cage? There’s no doubt they do. However, bedding isn’t the only requirement for a happy and healthy hamster. Good bedding is what makes all the difference in the world.

Your furry friend loves staying active, and their bedding shouldn’t come in the way. Whether burrowing, creating tunnels or digging, their cage should have sufficient resources to support their activities.

Pay extra attention to the material you choose for their cage and bedding. While thick bedding won’t kill or suffocate them, quality-less bedding certainly would.

All in all, a hamster’s bedding needs are the most critical aspect of their lives. If left unattended, it may even cause them to get sick and eventually die.

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