All animals display different behavior and many of these are natural for that species. One type of behavior you may notice your hamster displaying is chewing at their bars. If you have seen them doing this, you have probably wondered why and if it is safe for them to do so or whether you should try to stop to stop them doing this. Here are the answers to all these questions.
What Are the Reasons for Hamster Chewing Bars?
Chewing is normal behavior to hamsters. The main reason they do this is to wear down their teeth. A hamsters’ teeth continue to grow throughout their life, so they need to gnaw on things to stop their teeth from overgrowing. Overgrown teeth can cause hamsters to experience pain, have difficulty in eating, and develop infections. Therefore, chewing on things is important for a hamster to have good dental health.
Although wearing down their teeth is the most common reason for hamsters chewing in the bars of the cage, there are sometimes other reasons they do this. These include the following:
- A cage that is too small
Is It a Bad Thing to Chew Bars?
As chewing is a natural behavior, you may assume that it is fine for your hamster to chew on the bars of its cage. However, this is not the case as this is potentially harmful to your hamster. Most cages are made from wire which is a strong and durable material. This is the better option as plastic cages break easily and when gnawed, pieces may break off and the hamster may swallow them. The downside to cages with metal bars is that constant gnawing against this material can casue misalignment of the teeth. This can then cause the teeth to overlap and force them back into the gums, the jaw bone, or even the hamster’s brain.
How Can You Make a Hamster Stop Chewing Bars?
If you suspect that your hamster is chewing on the bars of its cage is because of boredom or hunger, there are easy steps to take to eliminate these problems. Give your hamster a hamster wheel to keep them entertained and make sure you are feeding them regularly. If the cage is small and you think that this is the problem, buy a larger cage for your hamster.
However, it is most likely that the cause of your hamster chewing is wearing down their teeth. To stop them from chewing the bears, you need to give them an alternative object on which they can chew. There are many things that a hamster can chew on including:
- Wooden chew toys
- Firm foods that a hamster can gnaw on
- Unflavored dog biscuits
If you have given your hamster things to chew on and it is still chewing on the bars of its cage, then you may need to consider moving it to a different habitat. The ideal solution is an aquarium-style habitat as this has no bars or wires on which a hamster can chew.
Although chewing is a natural activity for hamsters as it wears down their teeth, there are sometimes other causes. Chewing on the bars of their cage is harmful and you must understand the cause to stop them from doing this. Giving them something else on which to chew, providing a hamster wheel, making sure their cage is large enough, and feeding your hamster regularly are some of the simplest solutions. If all else fails, move