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Hamster Bites Cage Bars And Water Bottle

Find out how to prevent hamsters from biting their cage wires and accessories.

By Martha Boden
Posted: April 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I've got a hamster that almost constantly bites its wire cage and the water bottle. I tried offering her wooden sticks made for hamsters to bite on, but she won’t touch them. How can I stop her from biting the cage and water bottle?

A: Hamsters do this for many reasons. Most importantly, they need to keep their teeth trim and burn off excess energy. Make sure your hamster has varied activities and distractions. Is her wheel a decent size with a solid running surface to encourage regular use? Do you take her out for other activities? How about a play ball? These things tire them out, and they spend less time burning off energy biting bars and engaging in other habitual behaviors.

Some hamsters have a preference for chewing metal, and a stainless-steel spoon near the nest can be a treat. Some get interested in wood chews if you rub a carrot, nut or other favorite food on it to flavor it a little. Many hamsters are fascinated with things they can actually tear to pieces. Toilet paper rolls come in handy here. They're free and plentiful.

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Reader Comments
p.s. re the comment two below, I think 30-40 mins at a time in an exercise ball is way too long. If you have to use a ball as the only means of exercise, then up to 15 mins at a time is best, but you could certainly do this a few times during the course of an evening. Can't stress enough about a satisfactory hamster wheel though, as per my comment below.
Fran, London UK, UT
Posted: 2/12/2009 3:20:21 AM
I have 2 much-loved Syrians - a boy and a girl who were both adopted from an animal charity (much prefer this than buying from a pet shop ) - they each live in their own very large wire cages but next to eachother. I have a nightly ritual whereby once they wake up, each gets to come out separately for their exercise and they expect it !! Either they will go into their own exerise ball or free-range. We have a secure room where they absolutely love exploring each night, anything up to a couple of hours (but separately !) They also love their 'Wodent Wheels' - you need to make sure you have at least a 7.5 inch diameter wheel for Syrians so the Junior WW is ideal - anything else is too small and they can't use it. They will still occasionally chew on their wires though, despite all the exercise and stimulation so it's just their way of keeping teeth trim. If your hamster is constantly doing this, then it is proably due boredom. If you go to bed early in the evening then I don't think hamsters are an ideal pet as they are usually only starting to wake up then and they need that interaction with humans. They are therefore NOT the ideal pet for children, as is so often mistakenly mentioned by various sources.
Fran, London UK, UT
Posted: 2/12/2009 3:10:52 AM
most pet stores have a metal guard you can place over the bottle. they chew for their teeth only about 20 seconds at a time & it's rarely on the bars. bar chewing is their way of saying let me out! sometimes a bigger cage will suffice, but usually only the ball will stop this. they need to run in a hamster ball nightly. 30-40 minutes at a time, with a cage break for water, then back out again for another 30-40 min. repeating until they stop chewing or u go to bed. currently sold cages are too small. add a 2nd or even 3rd cage to his current cage using tubes. they will love u for it. and with cages about $30 and lifespans of at least 2 yr, think of it as just over $1/month per cage for your hamm's happiness!
leslie, lexington, KY
Posted: 12/19/2008 12:47:58 PM
What kind of treats can we give them.
sarah, mesa, AZ
Posted: 9/8/2008 3:38:27 PM
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