Hamsters love to dig and burrow. To accommodate these needs, they need deep bedding — at least 2 inches — with plenty of nesting material.
The best bedding is clean, nontoxic and absorbent, with little dust. Good choices include shredded white paper and white facial tissue, aspen or other hardwood shavings, or corncob litter.
Avoid cedar shavings or non-kiln dried pine shavings, which can be irritating and even toxic. Cottony nesting material is a poor choice as well. It can cause blockages if the hamster eats it, and it can get tangled in the hamster’s toes.
In addition to digging and burrowing, hamsters enjoy hiding out and napping in small, dark spaces. It’s easy to accommodate this desire.
You can purchase hidey-holes at pet supply stores. Look for one with no bottom or with a top that comes off. A hideaway that can be picked up or that has a removable roof makes it easier to remove the hamster from the cage or hideaway if necessary.
Nesting boxes and hiding places can also be made from empty cardboard tissue boxes, paper towel or toilet paper tubes, and oatmeal boxes. These are economical and easy to replace if they get dirty or chewed up.