Hamsters love to chew on just about anything and everything they can get their little paws on. However, even if they might enjoy it, not everything is safe for them to nibble at, most notably plastic.
If your hamster is chewing at plastic in their cage, there are a few things you can do to stop that behavior. What you need to do is identify why they’re chewing on the plastic and give them an alternative. If they’re bored, give them something more mentally stimulating to do. And if they’re teething, give them chew toys that are safe to nibble on instead.
But that’s not all you need to know. That’s just scratching the surface of why hamsters chew plastic and what you should do to curb the behavior.
That’s why in the following article we’re going to cover the topic in more depth to give you all the tools you need to keep your hamster safe, happy, and comfortable in their cage.
So first let’s jump into the section on why hamsters chew plastic so we can get a better understanding of their behaviors.
Why do Hamsters Chew Plastic?
If you have a hamster, you know they love to chew on just about everything. From chewing on their cage, to their wheel, water bottles, igloos, and more, your hamster will bite at anything available to them.
And there are two main reasons why hamsters chew on plastic and other items: They’re either bored or they’re teething and need something to gnaw it. Let’s talk about boredom first.
Hamsters have a ton of energy and need somewhere to expel that energy. In fact it’s such a common behavior, that hamster wheels have become colloquial slang in everyday language for meaning to run around and around to get rid of that extra energy.
If they are chewing on plastic items in their cage, it likely means they’re bored and need mental stimulation. If this is the case, try taking them out out of their cage more often than you normally do. Spend time with them, let them run around in a hamster ball, or give them more toys to play with and tubes and tunnels to explore. Over time this should curb their habit of chewing on plastic, but if it doesn’t let’s talk about the second reason.
If it’s not boredom that is causing your hamster to chew on their cage, the next most common reason is that they are teething or feel like they need to chew on something to make them feel better.
This most often comes in the form of their teeth growing and needing to trim them down, but hamsters may also teeth if they are stressed or feeling anxious. So check their surroundings and see if there is something causing them stress.
If nothing seems to be out of place, they could be chewing to trim their teeth down because hamsters teeth are continually growing and need to be trimmed regularly to keep them happy, healthy, and able to eat.
So now that we know why hamsters chew on plastic, let’s talk about whether chewing plastic is bad for them.
Is Chewing Plastic Bad for Hamsters?
Yes, allowing your hamster to chew plastic is generally not recommended, even if it seems like that might enjoy it. The reason chewing plastic is bad for hamsters is because it can be choking hazard, can cause damage to their teeth, or cause issues with their digestive system if the plastic is ingested.
The most serious issue is that when hamsters chew plastic it tends to break off in jagged pieces that your furry friend can easily choke on. Hamsters don’t tend to chew plastic in clean cuts and if they want to take a larger bite, it could break off and get lodged in their throat. As a result, choking hazard is the biggest concern with chewing plastic, but that’s not all.
Plastic is an abrasive material and can cause damage to their teeth that they regularly need to trim down to safely eat. So while hamsters are often chewing things and it’s a good and healthy behavior, you need to give them items that are safe to chew on, such as wood and rope toys.
Finally, plastic will often contain harmful toxins that can cause serious digestive issues if ingested. Anything that contains harmful chemicals or toxins should be avoided at all costs or you may need to take them to the vet to avoid serious complications or even death.
For all these reasons and more, it’s strongly recommended to stop your hamster from chewing plastic. It’s harmful to their overall health and well being.
Should I Remove Plastic Items From My Hamster’s Cage?
Now that you know that hamsters love to chew on things and eating plastic is detrimental to their health, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to remove all the plastic items from their cage. So let’s talk about that now.
You don’t need to remove plastic items from your hamster’s cage, but you should try and identify the reasons why they are chewing the plastic and try to stop that behavior.
Chewing plastic is bad for hamsters because it poses a choking hazard, causes damage to their teeth, and can be harmful if the toxic chemicals are ingested. So you should curb the behavior, but you don’t need to remove the plastic items.
Instead give your hamster safer items to chew on, such as plastic rope toys, cardboard toilet paper rolls, and any other toys that are safe for them to gnaw at. You can’t stop a hamster from chewing on things since that’s one of their most common habits, but you can give them safer alternatives.
So if you notice your hamster chewing on plastic, give them something safer to chew on. That will prevent the harmful effects of chewing plastic and keep them happy and stimulated in their cage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Hamsters Chew Thru Plastic?
Yes, hamsters can easily chew through plastic. Even though they are small, they have strong teeth and a desire to chew and gnaw at just about anything in their cage. And most of all, they have all the time in the world to do it.
Can You Put Plastic in a Hamster Cage?
Yes, you can put a hamster in a plastic cage, but make sure to give them enough safe toys to chew on, such as cardboard toilet paper rolls or chew toys. You can’t stop a hamster from chewing, but you can give them safer alternatives to gnaw at.
What Can I Give My Hamster to Chew On?
You can give your hamster a plethora of safe items to chew on, such as rope toys, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, wooden blocks, or other small pieces of cardboard that they can use to teeth on.
Are Bin Cages Okay for Hamsters?
Yes, bin cages that have sufficient ventilation are okay for hamsters as long as they have open bars or windows, enough air flow to keep them happy and prevent suffocation, and enough space for them to explore and wander in their cage during the day.
If you’re interested in reading more about hamster cages, harmful behaviors, and more check out the related articles linked below:
- Do Hamsters Need to Chew Wood? – Pets on Mom
- Hamster Chews – Amazon.com
- Hamster Body Language and Behavior – Caring Pets
Hamsters love to chew on just about anything they can access and unfortunately sometimes that includes plastic. However, plastic can be harmful if chewed on so you should try to identify the reasons they are chewing on the plastic, whether they are stressed, anxious, or teething and try to give them alternatives.
Plastic can pose a choking hazard or serious digestive issues if ingested, which is why rope toys or cardboard is recommended to give them something safe to chew on.
As always, your hamster’s safety, well being, and comfort is priority #1 when it comes to ownership. So make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to keep them happy and healthy.