Hamsters are gentle and easy to maintain animals that make great pets. They are fun to have because they have a variety of personality traits that make them entertaining to watch.
Hamsters are part of the rodent family of chipmunks, rats, and moles who are widely known to burrow. Whether they will dig up their burrows or use those dug up by other animals, they utilize the burrows for various reasons.
The burrows are usually underground pathways with the main entrance and one or two exits. If you are curious to find out whether hamsters bother with burrows like other rodents, read on.
Do hamsters burrow?
Hamsters do burrow and it is a natural instinct for them. They will dig up places to create several tunnels leading to different hideouts for various purposes like storing food, breeding, hiding from predators, and cooling themselves down. Hamsters burrow using their small legs together with their teeth and snouts. However, not all hamsters will be interested in burrowing.
Why do hamsters burrow?
Hamsters will burrow instinctively. They are neat and organized, having different spaces for different purposes.
They will burrow for reasons like:
Hamsters will store their food whether they live in the wild or they are domesticated. They have pockets in their cheeks that can grow really big to fit what they want to carry.
They use the pockets to carry food and hide it in the burrow used for that purpose.
Male hamsters visit female hamsters in their burrows to mate. Female hamsters are generally very aggressive and they chase out the males after mating.
Being solitary animals, hamsters, and mostly the Syrian hamsters should never be kept together. They can fight and even kill each other.
They should be separated after mating.
Hiding from predators
Hamsters are prey animals making them always alert for predators. If they sense a predator nearby, your pet will run into their burrow to hide as that’s their instinctual measure of survival.
Female hamsters will even carry their young ones and hide them in the safety of burrows if they sense danger nearby.
To cool down
Burrows are much cooler compared to the rest of their cages. If your pet’s temperatures are not ideal for them, they will burrow in search of better temperatures.
Why is burrowing good for hamsters?
Hamsters require regular exercise. This can be achieved by their burrowing as they use energy to burrow.
Hamsters can be quite energetic and if they do not have a way of using up their energy, they may become destructive.
You can scatter their food and treats around their cage. This will make it fun for them to search for their food while at the same time digging for it as they would do in the wild.
What can you do about your pet’s burrowing behavior?
If your pet likes burrowing around in their cage, you can try to make it more fun and worthwhile for them.
For instance, if they have a large cage, you can divide it into two so that they will have a burrowing side. If the cage is not large enough for partitioning, you can add another space next to the cage instead.
Make sure both are connected and that your pet can move easily between the spaces so that they can burrow whenever they feel like.
You can also create a burrowing box for your pet and put it in the cage.
How to create a burrowing space for your pet?
A burrowing area doesn’t need to be hard to make. All you need is a good amount of bedding and hideouts.
You can use wood shavings for the bedding and toilet paper rolls to make the hideouts.
First, clean up the area, then place the hideouts strategically where you want them to be. Afterwards, put the hay on top leaving out an opening or two.
Dwarf hamsters are smaller and will burrow very shallowly while Syrian hamsters are larger making them burrow deeper.
The bedding should be to a depth of 4-7 inches depending on your pet’s size. Watch them burrow to know if you need to add more bedding or not.
Do all hamsters like to burrow?
Hamsters like to burrow. The Syrian hamsters can burrow as deep as 0.7M.
However, not all hamsters will like to burrow. As long as they have a cozy living space with ideal temperatures, safety from predators, enough exercise, and toys like wheels, your hamsters can comfortably live without burrowing.
This is still okay and not a cause for worry. All hamsters will exhibit different personalities.
If no matter what you do your pet is still uninterested in burrowing, let them be and instead provide them with other toys.
Also, if your pet is a serious burrower, don’t be worried too. It’s perfectly normal for hamsters to spend their time burrowing.
Is burrowing okay for hamsters?
Burrowing is okay and a safe practice for hamsters because it’s a normal part of their nature that comes on its own without being forced.
You shouldn’t be worried if your pet keeps burrowing because they could be hiding from a situation they feel is a threat to them.
However, burrowing may become troublesome if your pet keeps burrowing and hiding away from you for long. This could make you worried and nervous.
They could also begin burrowing in their litter box which is harmful to their health.
Hamsters like burrowing and they will burrow for different reasons. They will burrow to store their food, to hide from predators, or to just find a place to relax.
Hamsters burrow to different lengths depending on their size. Dwarf hamsters have shallow burrows while Syrian hamsters have deeper burrows.
You can encourage your pet to burrow by creating a burrowing space for them.
If your pet doesn’t seem to enjoy burrowing, you should leave them alone because not all hamsters will love burrowing. Some hamsters though will burrow excessively and that’s still normal.
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