As with all rodents for pets Hamsters must be provided with top quality beds that are safe and substrates. But, when selecting the right bedding for our pets, we must be aware of the unique requirements of this species.
The article written by Beri Intone, a tiny rodent expert in wrangling (and the custodian of numerous Hamsters).
- What Are the Best Burrowing Substrate Options?
- Paper and Cardboard Bedding
- Aspen Wood Shavings
- Coco Fiber / Coir
- Nesting Material
- Sand Baths!
- How Often Should You Clean a Hamster Cage?
What Are the Best Burrowing Substrate Options?
Substrate is the material for bedding that we place in the bottom of the cage to allow our pets to eat and take a bite of. In the case of many rodents common to pets such as mice, rats and Guinea pigs, one of the primary thing to consider is the absorption of urine. But, in their natural environment, hamsters have built to survive in deserts and dry areas and their bodies make use of water extremely efficiently. They don’t produce a great deal of urine, and their poos are dry pellets.
The foremost factor to think about is how the substrate will improve the quality of life for the pet, and provide them with an opportunity to engage in the natural behaviors. In the wild , hamsters construct complex burrow systems that are underground, and so providing a setup that is filled with materials that can mimic this, without the burrows collapsing is crucial.
Animals that don’t pee often also have a benefit, and that is that their bedding won’t require changing each week. This means that bedding that aren’t cost-effective for big and avidly peeing animals like rats could be a viable and economical option for a cage for a hamster despite the huge levels of substrate needed to burrow.
The best burrowing substrates for hamsters are…
Paper and Cardboard Bedding
The options for bedding made of paper are cost-effective for hamsters and are pleasant and soft to be around (they’re most sensitive the texture in comparison to rodents of other species). Because the paper is extremely delicate, the tunnels that a the hamster builds are likely to break and collapse. Therefore, it is recommended to combine it with a different kind of material with an entirely different texture.
It is crucial to choose the bedding made of paper one that’s not smudge-proof, and has no scent. The ideal bedding for your pet is cardboard strips or squares. They are more heavy than paper, yet they have more strength to support tunnels. If Beri was forced to pick one bedding for her hamsters she’d select strips of cardboard.
Aspen Wood Shavings
Wood shavings are not a good image in the world of rodents due to the fact that softwood shavings are dirt-laden and contain chemical substances which can irritate rodents’ respiratory systems. But, aspen dust-extracted wood shavings aren’t harmful and could be a great substrate. Aspen is an hardwood tree, which means it isn’t contaminated with volatile essential oils that softwood has.
Long-haired Syrian Hamsters might have issues with the sharp edges of shavings becoming stuck in their coats. However, generally speaking the safe shavings are easy to allow the animal to dig through, but remain structurally stable and allow tunnels and tunnels to be made.
Coco Fiber / Coir
It is becoming a well-known substrate choice, since it provides an unnatural setup. But, it is important to remember that the majority of Coir (which is used for gardening and reptile keeping) is wet within the bags, which can be harmful to the hamster’s health. If you are using this material, it is crucial to dry the material correctly prior to placing it in the cage. A mix of dry Coir and safe shavings be used to make an excellent substrate with plenty of stimulation for the hamster.
Making use of multiple substrates is the most effective way to create a dig-friendly environment that provides a good foundation for burrows and the ability to add texture and interest to your landscape.
Hamsters are fond of digging as it is a vital characteristic of them and it’s essential that the cage setup gives the hamsters plenty of digging possibilities. Ideally they should be able of digging anywhere within their cage’s base however, if it’s not possible to build a foundation sufficiently deep, then they’ll need a specific digging zone.
What can you do to determine whether the surface is deep enough? Imagine three hamsters sitting over each other. Would you be able to bury them into the substrate? If yes, then it’s sufficient depth. If the top hamster is sticking out, you’ll require a digging zone.
There are three options for digging areas. What they are in agreement is that they require an adequate footprint so that the hamster is able to tunnel horizontally and vertically.
Make a digging box that is deeper inside the cage, like the digging box for rats however with hamsters suitable dimensions and substrate.
Parting off a small portion of the habitat’s base and create a full habitat on one side. This is an easy task in tanks, however when you have an unbarred cage that doesn’t have an adequate base, it is possible to attach corrugated or vinyl flooring plastic to the bars in order to protect the substrate.
It acts as a booster over the main substrate, in the form of long-strand dust-free straw.
Of course, there’s no reason to not get out there and complete three things. A decent-sized cage will include a base that has areas of various thicknesses of substrate as well as boosters of hay straws, strips of paper and an additional digging box that is higher within the cage.
Hamsters construct 3D nests usually with a tunnel entry (imagine an igloo warm and cozy). A few people prefer to provide the hamsters a rigid bed with bedding, in the same way as you would with other species.
But, it’s more beneficial and easier to provide your hamster with an enormous amount of nesting materials to build their personal space to nest. Having that control over their nesting space helps them feel more at ease in their surroundings. Giving them a few options for artificial beds is okay but don’t be too surprised when your hamster does not use the beds for sleeping.
Hamsters are extremely tidy and generally, they can keep their nesting materials over time because they don’t pee and waste their poo on the material. If you do decide to change the bedding material they are using, or if you intend to dismantle the nest to find food that’s been taken, you should keep two or three pieces of old nesting materials and bring it back to the cage and replace it with new material. The bed or nest is vital for the health of your hamster, therefore, don’t disturb their bed frequently as it can stress them out.
What is the top materials for nesting hamsters?
We’re looking for substances that enable huge igloos and volcano nests to be built. That’s why we prefer large strips of bedding instead of short/heavy cut pieces. Beri is fond of long strips of newspaper and hay and secure bedding for hamsters.
Utilizing an assortment with nesting material is more effective than using only one, since it gives an additional level of stimulation for the hamster and allows them to take decisions and build more complex structures.
Hamsters are clean creatures and can have a pee and waste in a corner of their cage. Certain hamsters are litter trained according to your preference of place, however the majority of them prefer their own space.
Since hamsters do not have to pee or poo inside their beds, it is likely that they’ll choose an area close to their home (no one would like to walk far from their bed to go to the bathroom!). A lot of species of hamsters prefer to urinate in a semi-closed space so a tiny home with no floor could offer them a sense of security but still make it simple for the owner to maintain.
It is important to be aware of the places your hamster prefers to go while you clean and arrange the cage in such a way that one spot is the toilet. This makes spot cleaning the area much simpler and lessens the overall cleaning of the cage.
Most absorbent is cat litter made of paper that is suggested for animals such as rats and mice. However, some hamsters stay clear of it due to it being too tough and bulky. Another option is to place the litter in the normal substrate, however they might prefer a different substrate altogether. There are a variety of options, including sand and soft paper substrates or perhaps a little finely crushed straw. They are certainly less absorbent than cat litters. However, this is not concern for hamsters because they produce only a small amount of urine.
Hamsters don’t wash themselves by the act of licking themselves, as this is a waste of the water they need (this is among their adaptations to be the only species that is a desert). Instead, for cleaning their fur and their skin, they take sandy baths. This helps to prevent the oils from their skin (both their own and human ones they may be handling) leaving their coats oily and keeps them soft and healthy.
It is easy to tell that hamsters don’t have access for sand by looking at photos and the initial handling. Giving access to an sand bath is extremely essential for the welfare of hamsters, however, it’s something which is often overlooked.
There are some who don’t want giving sand baths inside the cage since hamsters often make use of them as litter trays. If your hamster is on a regular free-range, you could give them daily the opportunity to take a sand bath within their outdoor area however, it’s the recommended care to offer an uninterrupted access to sand inside the cage. External access should be minimum 30 minutes per day, and providing this is likely to be labor heavy.
The most straightforward solution is to set up two baths with sand in separate areas within the cage. In this way, should the hamster decide to pee and pee in one of them it can use another bathing area. Hamsters are well-hygienic and don’t mix the two together.
It’s essential to use real the sand and rather than dust. The cheapest method of doing this is to purchase sand, which is commonly sold as kids’ play sand and bake it in a loaf tin in the oven to evaporate the water however be aware that hot sand can be very hot and should not be touched! For a simpler, but costly option, many pet shops offer the sand known as chinchilla.
In order to provide sand for cages, you have a variety of alternatives, such as the sand bath tubs that are sold in pet stores. The most effective method is to separate some of the base and include a sand-filled area to walk around through.
Baking trays with high sides can aid in containing the sand and prevent it from spreading throughout the substrate. If this isn’t feasible, big dog bowls could work. If you want something that is more secure with a side opening container for cookies made of glass is a good choice, however certain species of hamsters might require a bridge of wood at the entryway to assist them access the jar and out.
How Often Should You Clean a Hamster Cage?
Hamsters do not need to be cleaned up regularly. A acceptable dimension of 4000 square centimeters (620 square inches) is able to be left for a month provided that the toilet areas are cleaned when needed.
The larger cages could last for three to six months between cleanouts based on the particulars of the dimensions and arrangement. If the cage is going to be kept for that long between cleans it is essential to check it regularly to ensure that it’s in good condition (e.g. there’s no food that’s rotting and any damp corners are taken away, there aren’t any issues with the behavior of caches or stashes, etc. ).
After the cage has been completely cleaned, it’s essential to leave at least 1/4 inch of older substrate to be sprinkled back over the cage. This helps keep the hamster’s house scenting familiar to them and keeps them from getting stressed.
Cleaning the cage or even examining it ensure that you move the hamster into an appropriate cage to ensure that they don’t become stressed or escape.
Different kinds of bedding for hamsters
In the hamster’s cage, there are two kinds of bedding. The substrate forms the bottom of the cage and it is the material for nesting which they are able to make a comfy bed.
We will examine the top materials for the bedding for your hamster’s nest.
Aspen shavings are secure to be used for bedding for hamsters. Although this bedding option is affordable and natural-looking, it’s not the comfiest option for your animal. Aspen shavings can more abrasive than some other substances, and it is possible that they will smell.
Plant-Based Paper Fibres
The plant-based fibres are very absorbent and are therefore great for eliminating the odors. These fibres can be soft and soft, and some brands even provide a 100% dust-free choice which is excellent for your pet’s health
Pelleted Wood and Paper
The wood and paper pellets that have been recycled make great bedding materials as they aren’t scattered and cause an mess. They also are more absorbent than ordinary shavings of wood. If you have a hamster with a long hair pellet can be a great option because you don’t have to be concerned about hair becoming strangled.
Shredded paper is among the most commonly used kinds of bedding materials used by hamsters. This material made of paper is comprised of long , narrow strips of confetti and is often available in a variety of bright hues.
Best Hamster Bedding Buying Guide
There are a few key aspects you need to take into consideration when looking for bedding for your Hamster. Small pets require lots of cage substrate that is safe and is insulating. There are a lot of options that are suitable and can make choosing the best bedding materials a somewhat difficult. Here are some other things to look for.
Accessibility: If you are taking care of it you’ll have to throw away a lot of bedding in a short time due to the fact that they need 6 inches of bedding every clean-out of their cages. So, you must choose bedding that meets the requirements while remaining cost-effective for you. If you find the right bedding, starting with, it will prevent you from having to replace it later on, which can cause your pet the unnecessary stress.
Absorbent: You need to locate a substrate that is extremely absorbent , while not being wet. Absorbent bedding is essential to keep your cage clean. your cage, especially between cleanouts making them more at ease from week to week.
Odor control: Ideally you will also require bedding with an element to control odor and also absorbs moisture. Odor-control is not only better for your pet, but for you as urine from hamsters can be quite an unpleasant smell in a confined space such as an enclosure.
dust-free Beds that are dust-free aid in protecting the respiratory system of your hamster from irritation when they are digging and carrying on their daily life.
Toxin-free Hamsters are highly sensitive to certain toxic substances that are present within the cedar and the pinewood and therefore choosing the appropriate material is crucial for their health.
natural materials Best bedding that can be used in the cage of a hamster are natural substances like wooden shavings and recycled paper. Because hamsters are known to store things on their cheeks it’s not a good idea to give them synthetic materials that could cause harm to them if they consume it for example, cat litter.
If you’re hoping to provide your pet with a comfy place in which to unwind and unwind, you should select a design that is similar to the natural environment they live in. It can be made from scratch or bought from a shop provided it’s secure and comfy and absorptive.