Hamsters have been very well-loved pets for a long time. They’re good pets for those who don’t have a lot of space in their homes.
You might be looking into getting a hamster sometime soon. Learning more about hamsters can help you to do a good job caring for them as a beginner.
One thing that people often ask about is whether hamsters burrow. Do hamsters burrow or is that not typical for them?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about hamster burrowing. You’ll have a much better idea of what to expect when you get your pet hamster.
Hamsters Like to Burrow
Hamsters do indeed like to burrow. It’s normal for them to burrow sometimes for many different reasons.
For instance, hamsters will burrow as a way to hide and protect themselves from potential threats. This is a normal action that they take for self-preservation in the wild.
It’s also perfectly normal for hamsters to burrow when they wish to rest. So your hamster won’t always be scared when you see it burrowing.
Some people like to hide treats in the cage for the hamsters to discover. You can place treats in places where the hamsters will need to burrow to get to them.
Burrowing is an important thing for hamsters to be able to do. It’s a natural action and it helps them in various ways.
For example, the act of burrowing can help the hamsters to get a bit of exercise. It also helps them to feel more comfortable when they’re able to burrow properly in their cages.
You don’t want your hamsters to feel stressed. So it’s imperative to give them the opportunity to burrow.
Hamster Bedding Tips
Now that you know that hamsters like to burrow, you should ensure that you put the right type of bedding in the cage for them. You’re going to need some type of bedding or substrate that will be appropriate for the hamsters.
You want to have a pretty thick layer of bedding in the cage for the hamster. It should be about four inches thick for everything to go smoothly.
There are different materials that you can use as bedding. Some people use organic potting soil, but you can use less messy materials.
Paper pellets will work very well as hamster cage bedding. Most types of paper-based bedding materials will do a great job.
Other options include toilet paper, aspen wood bedding, and soft granule blends. You can buy bedding from the pet store if you’d rather not shred the material yourself.
It’s also good to know that using more bedding is better than using too little. Hamsters like to burrow and would enjoy having more than four inches of bedding if the cage is big enough.
Don’t worry about the hamster suffocating. So long as you’re using natural materials and you’re changing the bedding regularly, everything is going to go well.
Hamster Not Burrowing
What if your hamster doesn’t burrow? If your hamster isn’t burrowing, that’s not normal.
There are a few different things that could be causing the hamster not to burrow. If the hamster is old, it might not burrow any longer due to not having the necessary energy to do it.
Sick hamsters also won’t feel well enough to burrow or exercise normally. If you have a young hamster, it’s a good idea to see if the hamster is sick when you notice that it isn’t burrowing.
Another situation involves the hamster not properly learning how to burrow. If you buy a baby hamster and it has never had access to bedding materials that will allow it to burrow, it might not know how.
A hamster that is living in a cage where it isn’t able to dig won’t have the chance to develop the skill. If that hamster is suddenly placed in a cage with bedding, it might not start burrowing right away.
Eventually, the hamster might learn to burrow. Owners can help hamsters to develop their burrowing skills by encouraging them.
You can try to show the hamster that they’re able to burrow. Perhaps make a little tunnel in the bedding or place treats in the bedding that don’t go too deep.
The hamster should catch on and start burrowing at some point. You shouldn’t have to worry about it too much.
Hamsters Need Exercise
Exercise is incredibly important for hamsters. If hamsters don’t get enough exercise, they will wind up gaining a lot of weight.
Many hamster owners wind up having problems with their hamsters becoming obese. This is more likely to happen when you put a hamster in a small cage.
A cage that is too small won’t make it easy for the hamsters to move around. If the cage doesn’t have bedding that the hamster can use to burrow, it won’t get any exercise that way either.
This is why it’s imperative to buy a cage that is big enough for the hamster. Different types of hamsters are going to need different cage sizes.
Some hamsters are larger than others and might need larger cages. Knowing this, it’ll be wise to do a bit of research on the type of hamster that you plan to buy.
This will allow you to put plenty of bedding at the bottom of the cage. It’ll help the hamsters to be able to burrow as much as they want to.
It’s also wise to give the hamsters toys that will encourage them to play. This will give them a chance to exercise and that will help them to stay at an appropriate weight.
Overweight hamsters suffer from various health issues. You want to avoid situations where the hamster gains a lot of weight.
How Often to Change Hamster Bedding
You should be scooping out dirty bedding every single day. Hamsters are going to soil the bedding in certain spots and you’ll want to remove the dirty bedding at the end of the day.
Fully changing the bedding is something that you should do weekly. Change out all of the bedding in the cage on the same day each week.
If you stick to a schedule like this, it’ll be easy to keep the cage nice and clean. When removing the bedding from the hamster’s cage, you should also remove any food that the hamster might have tucked away.
Hamsters like to hide food in the bedding. It’s a normal behavior that shows they’re happy with their environment.
It’s normal for hamsters to burrow. You should be a little concerned if your hamster isn’t burrowing.
When hamsters don’t burrow, it could be a sign of sickness. Hamsters will sometimes stop burrowing when they get too old or when they’re unwell.
The only other common reason why hamsters won’t burrow involves them not developing the skill. A hamster that has never lived in an environment where it can dig won’t have developed the skill yet.
It can learn how to burrow over time. Hamsters truly do need to burrow to stay healthy and happy.
You should put at least four inches of bedding in the cage that the hamster can utilize. Putting more bedding in the cage than that is good if you have a large cage.
Now that you know all of this, you’ll have an easier time knowing what to do for your hamsters. Do your best to care for them and give them a safe environment where they can thrive.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.