The art of hamster burrows
Do hamsters burrow? Yes! Hamsters are natural-born burrows, they dig through substrate to make a network of intricate tunnels to dwell in. Did you know that hamsters have been observed to dig up to 0.7m deep in the wild?
Before domestication, hamsters use the tunnels and holes from burrowing as a way to shelter themselves from predators and unpredictable environmental changes. They have also been seen to use burrows to store food!
How do I let my hamster burrow?
First, grab your materials!
- Paper bedding
- Soft hay
- Bedding toppers (optional)
Next, clear away soiled bedding, wheels, platforms, hideouts etc from the enclosure. Make sure to leave at least ⅓ of the old bedding to make this process less stressful for your hambaby. Mix in new bedding with the old bedding. Ensure that there is enough bedding of at least 7 inches!
Add in about 3-4 generous handfuls of soft hay. Depending on the amount of bedding and space you have, a general guide would be a 3:1 ratio of bedding to hay.
Add in about 2-3 handfuls of bedding topper and give everything a good mix.
Place the hideouts in your desired area and cover them with the mixed bedding and compress it gently. After compressing, the height of the bedding should be at least 6 inches. This allows for proper burrowing to take place and for the burrows to hold their shape.
Lastly, place everything back into the enclosure, sprinkle more bedding toppers and enjoy watching tunnels and holes form!
You can assist your hamster by placing them in an underground hideout and covering it with the mixed bedding and gently compressing it. Your hamster will eventually start to burrow out or to other hideouts!
Things to note:
1. Paper bedding
There are essentially two types of bedding – circular and shredded. Shredded has been seen to hold burrows better than the circular shape but both should work fine.
2. Soft hay
Your hamster will not be eating the hay, instead it is meant to act as a glue to bind the bedding together to ensure a more stable structure.
Timothy, alfalfa, and orchard grass hay are some soft hay that will not hurt your hamsters’ paw.
3. Bedding toppers
Bedding toppers act as an incentive for your hammie to burrow and it is also good for them to munch on!
Bunny Nature Botanicals Mix is a great option!
Types of bedding to avoid
While there are plenty of safe hamster bedding options available, there are some bedding products on the market that you should avoid using.
Scented beddings are intended to cover up some of the odors that come with owning a hamster, but they can be too strong for your little pet’s sensitive nose. These scented beddings are full of artificial chemicals, which can lead to respiratory issues for your hamster. While scented bedding might seem like a good idea, it’s much better to buy a safe bedding and keep odors down by regularly cleaning your hamster’s cage.
Some hamster owners use cat litter as bedding, but this can also come with potential problems. When used as a bedding base, plain cat litter pellets can help reduce odors. It’s important to top it off with plenty of soft bedding that your hamster can burrow into. Be sure to avoid using scented and clumping cat litters – if your hamster ingests or fills his cheek pouches with clumping litter, it can cause blockages and even kill your pet.
Fluffy bedding might sound appealing, and it’s sold in many pet stores. Unfortunately, this bedding, which is sometimes sold as nesting material, can pose a serious risk to your hamster’s health. Fluffy bedding is often made with artificial fibers that can cause internal blockages if eaten. Hamsters can also get their limbs tangled in this type of bedding, potentially injuring themselves.
Pine and cedar shavings
As mentioned earlier, you should also avoid using pine or cedar shavings. They’re sharp and can cause bronchial irritation.
- Hamsters do burrow with adequate bedding.
- Not all beddings are made equal for burrowing!
- A mixture of different bedding material is best for your hamsters to burrow in. Also, #aestheticgoals
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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