Hamsters make excellent pets for all ages, and on the surface, it might seem like they’re relatively easy pets to maintain. However, they can have issues like all pets, and unfortunately, biting their cage is no exception to this rule.
Your hamster may be biting the cage due to boredom, stress, nervousness, or depression. Hamsters sometimes do this simply just to get more attention. Ensuring their homes are as healthy and comfortable as possible is the best way to ensure they don’t feel any of these things.
In the rest of this article, I’ll delve into the details of why hamsters acquire “cage rage,” what problems it could be caused by, and how you can make your hamster’s life better by preventing these problems from escalating. Keep reading.
A hamster may bite its cage out of habit and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it may be a sign of concern. Hamsters may bite their cages due to stress, depression, boredom, or nervousness. They may have also learned the behavior from other hamsters.
Environmental factors can significantly impact a hamster’s physical and mental well-being. These tiny creatures are much more sensitive than you might assume, so living in an uncomfortable environment is bound to cause some issues.
If the Hamster cage is too small, it’s likely that they feel trapped and will bite the bars of the cage in an attempt to get out. In the wild, hamsters roam free and are used to wide, open spaces, so their indoor environment needs to reflect that.
Bear in mind that a hamster needs at least a 10-gallon (45.46 L) cage to live a healthy and happy life. Keeping a hamster in a tiny cage does it no good and amounts to animal cruelty.
Additionally, hamsters can get very stressed if there isn’t enough stimulation available in the cage, such as appropriate toys, a big enough hamster wheel, and ample nesting material, then hamsters can get very stressed.
Throughout their waking hours, hamsters need stimulation and exercise, and without all that, they may become frustrated.
If a hamster is bored, chewing the bars on its cage is one of the most prominent symptoms.
Don’t let your hamster feel trapped in its own home. Give your hamster ample opportunity to spend time with you and bond with it during its waking hours. You could even cordon off a section of a room so that your hamster can run freely for a couple of hours in the day.
If your hamster doesn’t have enough stimulation and nesting materials, it won’t be able to act on its basic instincts.
If your hamster is nervous, there’s likely an outside factor that’s causing this problem. It could be another pet in the home that’s causing your hamster distress, such as a cat, or even something as simple as being too close to a window where birds might frighten it.
Nervousness and similar behavior such as hyperactivity, cage chewing, aggression, or inactivity, can also be caused by a cage that is not clean. Hamsters need to live in a clean environment for their mental and physical well-being.
If you’ve recently introduced your hamster to another hamster who bites the cage, then this behavior can easily be transferred between them.
Learned behavior is typical in hamsters and can lead to unwanted practices such as cage biting and other compulsive behaviors.
Remember that some hamsters can’t live happily with others—it’s essential to know your specific hamster’s needs before you introduce them to others.
You should follow some guidelines for keeping more than one hamster together.
It’s possible (although unlikely) that your hamster has noticed that cage biting rewards it with attention. If your hamster is biting the cage whenever you’re in the room but ceases this behavior when you leave, probably, you aren’t giving your hamster enough attention.
Making time to bond with your hamster is paramount to its mental health and well-being, so if your hamster is biting its cage for attention, this is the best way to stop it.
It’s in the fundamental nature of a hamster to chew and gnaw on things around them, so occasional cage-biting might not cause significant problems. However, although it may not seem like a hazardous activity on the surface, over time, cage-biting isn’t healthy for your hamster.
Cage-biting could cause problems like nasty sores on your hamster’s mouth and nose. It may even result in your hamster’s teeth breaking if done persistently. Severe tooth trauma can also lead to potentially fatal infections.
Make sure always to check your hamster’s face and gums for signs of trauma should they persistently bite the bars of their cage.
There may also be problems associated with toxins since many metal cages have painted bars that can be fatal if ingested.
Additionally, if your hamster is biting their cage because of external stress factors, this could be an ongoing problem, and it’s up to you to fix it.
Allowing your pet to go for long periods under acute stress is unfair and cruel, so make sure you’re attentive to your hamster’s needs.
There are many ways to prevent your hamster from biting the cage, and being mindful of your hamster’s needs is essential to keeping it happy and healthy.
Creating different simulations, buying a bigger cage, and keeping your hamster away from noisy children are some of the things you can do to prevent your hamster from biting the cage.
Stimulation is crucial for hamsters, so having appropriate toys and things to chew on will help them enormously.
For example, you can use PVC rolls to create hiding tunnels for your hamster, placing it at the back of the cage as a safe space for it to play.
Hamsters need to have something to chew on since their teeth continue growing throughout their lifetime, unlike humans. If they don’t have anything to chew on, they’ll have difficulty eating, and eventually, it could become fatal.
You can use hamster sticks from the nearby pet store in various cities in the United States of America like New York, Los Angeles, etc. or just fresh (and uncooked) vegetables, such as carrots and cauliflower, to help your hamster grind down its teeth. Hamsters also love fruit, so the occasional apple will make your hamster very happy.
You can also find relatively inexpensive toys at the pet store, such as hamster see-saws, hideaway huts, and igloos that’ll help your hamster feel at home.
Exercise is also one of the best ways to keep your hamster happy. However, bear in mind that hamster balls aren’t the most appropriate solution to this problem.
What may appear to be innocent fun actually causes distress in hamsters, and their response isn’t enjoyment but disorientation.
Allowing your hamster to go out of its cage occasionally is a great way to give it a scenery change. Plus, it gets an opportunity to exercise.
However, if you can’t do this, you could find other ways to stimulate your hamster by scatter-feeding, which plays on its basic instinct of foraging for food and makes mealtimes much more fun.
Building an obstacle course is another excellent way of giving your hamster a reason to run around.
Making your hamster feel safe in its environment is essential. If it doesn’t feel safe, cage-biting can get progressively worse.
If you have small children in your home, always ensure they don’t handle your pet without adult supervision. The cage should be in a quiet place and out of reach of children since lots of noise and stress isn’t going to keep your hamster happy.
Teach your children to treat both the hamster and the cage with respect. If a child is banging on a cage or waking the hamster up when they’re sleeping, this can easily result in stress-related cage rage.
Finally, if you have another pet in your home, a cat or a dog (or even both), always ensure that the hamster is in a room your other pets can’t access. Cats are natural predators and can easily frighten a hamster.
Depending on the disposition of your hamster, other animals and loud, external noises might make them anxious. Go easy on your hamster; they’re very small and can quickly become stressed.
Related Hamster articles:
- How To Clean Hamster Cage
- Why Is My Hamster Itching?
- How Long Does a Hamster Live
- Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Babies
- Why Is My Hamster Trying To Escape?
- How Much Does a Dwarf Hamster Cost?
If you aren’t sure of the exact cause of cage-biting in your hamster, the best thing to do is try all the above steps until the behavior completely stops.
Since it’s hard to tell exactly how your hamster feels, keeping a close eye on it and ensuring it lives in an appropriate and safe environment will do wonders for its happiness. If you’re unsure, make sure you contact a specialized vet since they can help you understand these behaviors in more detail. Click here to find a vet in your area.
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more