Why Is My Hamster Monkey Barring? [Reasons & Solutions]

Hamsters are extremely cute and entertaining pets. They do funny and adorable things that we can’t get enough of all the time! One such thing is cage climbing, also called monkey barring. You might think that monkey barring is just another entertaining thing your hamster is doing. However, monkey barring can also be indicative of something wrong.

Many reasons could cause Monkey Barring. One major reason is that your hamster might find something about its environment displeasing.

Perhaps the hamster’s enclosure is too small, and the little critter has a high energy level. The hamster might also be bored, which can lead to stress. Your hamster might also be monkey-barring just to have some fun.

Monkey barring is when hamsters climb on the wired sides of their cages and move from side to side. The term ‘monkey barring’ is derived from children’s playground equipment.

Syrian hamsters are the most likely to do monkey barring as their size allows them to. Dwarf hamsters can also indulge in this activity but don’t have the strength and body mass to lift themselves completely along the sides of the cage.

Can Monkey Barring Be Dangerous?

Monkey barring isn’t exactly dangerous for hamsters. Hamsters enjoy the experience of climbing as it comes to them instinctually. But hamsters can easily fall while monkey barring and get injured. This is why monkey barring can be risky for hamsters.

As hamsters are so tiny and have fragile bones, the impact of falling can easily cause a fracture. That’s why hamster owners stop their hamsters from monkey barring.

Even if the hamster cage is padded with bedding, it’s still better to discourage your hamster from monkey barring. A crash landing can still cause harm to the little critter, despite the bedding.

Read: Why Is My Hamster Wobbling and Falling Over?

Reasons for Monkey Barring

There can be numerous reasons why Is my hamster monkey barring. Let’s consider these in detail below.

Not Enough Space

One of the most common reasons hamsters are monkey-barring is a shortage of space.

Instinctually hamsters love running. When in the wild, they can run up to five miles looking for food or just for fun! As these little creatures are nocturnal, they usually run around at night. This also protects them from getting preyed upon.

When kept in little cages, hamsters cannot run as much as they like. That’s why your hamster might feel enclosed in its cage. Hence it might be monkey-barring.

When keeping a hamster, do consider the specific cage requirements for a hamster to feel comfortable. For example, Syrian hamsters require at least a 24x12x12-inch space to avoid feeling enclosed.

Hamsters might also suffer from cabin fever when shut in a small cage all the time. They might be monkey-barring in an attempt to escape from the cage. Hamsters are natural explorers and don’t like feeling trapped. By monkey barring them might be trying to find a way out of the cage, albeit from the ceiling.

If multiple hamsters are housed together in the same cage, monkey barring might be an attempt to escape the cage. The hamster might try to escape if it does not get along with its cage mates or if the living space is too small.

In this case, also look out for other stress-indicating signals. These signs may include bar biting or the hamster getting uncharacteristically aggressive.

If you feel your hamster is getting stressed due to a shortage of space, shift it to a larger enclosure.

Your Hamster Feels Bored

Another reason your hamster might be monkey-barring is that it feels bored inside its cage. This can also be a major cause of stress in hamsters. As hamsters are nocturnal creatures, they are most active at night.

This is when you are asleep and can’t take your hamster out to roam around. During the day, you might give the hamster an hour or so of running time. But after this, the hamster mostly stays in its cage, which can be boring and restrictive.

Hamsters can also feel bored if they don’t have toys they can play with. A fun obstacle course in the cage or the running wheel may keep the hamster entertained. But without these toys, the hamster will not have anything to do.

It will not intellectually be stimulated and hence will become lethargic. Monkey barring will be an attempt to escape boredom. Hence your hamster may be monkey barring for something fun and creative.

You can purchase hamster toys from your nearest pet store, anywhere in the United States.

Your Hamster is Stressed

Hamsters may climb on their cage bars and hang from them when stressed. These little critters can get stressed due to many reasons. One major stress cause is discomfort in their cage or altered environment.

Illness and inactivity can also cause stress. Monkey barring is indicative of this stress and shows your hamster is unhappy.

Different hamster species suffer from varying levels of aggression and anger. The hamster’s gender is also an influencing factor. Female hamsters usually feel stressed and aggressive earlier than male hamsters.

Hamsters can also experience cage rage when cooped up in a small cage all day. They can also go through cage rage if their bedding is uncomfortable and they don’t have any toys to keep them occupied.

When experiencing cage rage, hamsters may act strangely. They may jump and run oddly around the cage.

Your Hamster Wants Attention

If you are wondering why my hamster is monkey-barring, it could be that it simply wants attention.

It could be possible that your hamster is trying to amuse you by monkey-barring. Hamsters are clever creatures and can observe your behavior. They might jump and hang around to please you or grab your attention. Hamsters like their owners to be attentive toward them and give them appreciation.

Your hamster may also be monkey-barring if it wants you to play with it. Monkey-barring can also be a form of body language to express happiness.

Your Hamster Wants to Have Fun

Hamsters are tiny creatures but very energetic and curious. Some hamsters may have more of a unique and quirky personality than others. They might just be hanging around the cage and climbing the cage bars for fun.

Hamsters also love to explore and are thrill seekers. These little critters love climbing. They also like jumping and flipping from heights. This can also cause your hamster to indulge in monkey-barring.

If this is the case, your hamster is enjoying itself with its monkey-barring activities. But monkey-barring can also be risky. If your hamster recklessly climbs too high up, it can easily fall and get hurt.

If your hamster is a thrill seeker and loves climbing, add extra bedding in its cage. This will provide a cushion if the hamster accidentally falls. It’s also a good idea to add different levels in your hamster’s cage to reduce the distance of the fall. They can greatly prevent the little critter from getting injured.

Adding levels will also decrease the hamster’s urge to monkey-bar as it will have different climbing levels. If your hamster monkey bars for fun, do keep an eye it doesn’t get injured.

Read: How Do You Give a Hamster a Bath?

How to Stop Your Hamster from Monkey Barring?

The above-listed factors explain why Is my hamster monkey barring.

You can take the following steps to stop your hamster from monkey-barring:

Set a Routine

Similar to cage biting, hamster owners should not ignore monkey-barring. If you notice the little critter monkey-barring, take it out of its cage. Hamsters love freely running out of their cages. Every time your hamster monkey bar and you take it out of the cage, it will create a routine. This will keep your little pet’s mind at rest.

Keep Other Items to Climb

Another great method to keep your hamster from monkey-barring is to keep climbing toys in the cage. This will keep the hamster from monkey-barring at night when it is most energetic. This is also when you are sleeping and cannot stop the act.

Keeping items such as climbing frames in the cage will keep the little critter occupied. The hamster will climb these toys instead of the cage’s wires and be safer.

Placing a running wheel in the cage is also a great idea. The wheel will burn off your hamster’s excess energy and keep it stimulated. You can also place a mini obstacle course in the cage made of tubes and tunnels. The hamster will love exploring this and will forget all about monkey-barring.

Another great method to keep your hamster occupied is to dot its bedding with food. This will encourage digging, and your hamster will stay busy trying to find the food. Plenty of bedding in the cage will also sate the hamster’s nesting instincts.

Concluding Thoughts

Suppose you notice your hamster monkey-barring; it’s best not to avoid it. Observe the hamster’s behavior and try to decipher the reason. If your hamster feels bored, give it something exciting to do.

Place toys in the hamster cage to keep it stimulated. You can place the running wheel, a mini obstacle course, and levels to climb upon.

If you feel your hamster is monkey-barring due to a shortage of space, place it in a larger cage. Also, take the little critter out of the cage for at least two to three hours to run freely. Placing toys in the cage will also keep it busy.

As a hamster owner, ensure you spend enough time with your little pocket pet. Hamsters are loving creatures that are observant of their owners. They will likely develop a close bond with their owner and crave their attention.

So, spend a few minutes of the day staying close to your hamster and bonding with it. This will make the little creature infinitely happy.

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