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Normal for a hamster?!

(11 Posts)
youvegottobekidding Sat 17-Dec-16 18:46:44

We've had our Russian Dwarf hamster for 14 wks & he was 9 wks old when we got him. He settled in straight away & appears to be a very content, friendly, chubby little thing!

He happily comes out his bed when we call his name, probably because he thinks we've got a sunflower seed for him!

Anyway, his cage is what we bought when we got him & what was recommended for him so big enough. I made a little shelf for him on the opposide side of his bed, out of an empty shoe box, which he loves. Just recently though, he's been chewing at it, a lot! I don't think he's eating the cardboard as I can see bits of it in his cage. He does have one of those holey log things to gnaw on & a fruit& nut bar, so is he just 'gnawing' at the cardboard for enjoyment? It's funny how he never bothered beforehand & only started recently?! He seems fine otherwise.

MopedManiac Sat 17-Dec-16 18:53:04

"Hamsters chew. It's just what they do."
This is what the petshop guy said when I asked re our Syrian hamsters chewing the bars of their cages. Big enough cages & plenty of chew toys, they just seem to prefer the bars. Crazy little critters! grin

Holz657 Sat 17-Dec-16 18:53:30

I have a Chinese dwarf and we have a big cardboard box with tunnels in his cage and if you lift it up he's totally chewed through it. Also have a kitchen roll cardboard tube and he chews through that. He's over 2 and a half now so it's done him no harm smile I've put countless actual things for him to gnaw on but he never touched them x

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 17-Dec-16 18:54:59

All rodents enjoy a good chomp on some card.

They like toilet rolls.

froglou Sat 17-Dec-16 18:55:38

It's a normal behaviour which should be encouraged! They enjoy it it's kind of an inbuilt thing to wear down there teeth. Lots of carboard tubes and bits without too much print on and things like Apple are good for them to chew.check his teeth are ok (not curling and look comfortable in the mouth) and other wise don't worry!

My rescue Russian has a deformity where she can't wear her own teeth down and it costs me a fortune in vets bills as it's fatal if not treated, I'm jealous!

If you did have a concern about teeth length or shape pop a picture on here so I can have a look for you smile

youvegottobekidding Sat 17-Dec-16 21:02:27

Thanks for the replies. I thought maybe it could be his teeth, so I did try looking at them, but I can't open his mouth, he's kind of ok with me holding him & getting him into a position, but I can't really get his mouth to open, unless I try with OH later, maybe he could hold a sunflower seed while I try to look! He's eating his food & drinking ok, so hopefully he's doing as what you all say, what hamsters do!

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 17-Dec-16 22:04:10

Hay is good for their teeth.

My bun non non noms on hay all day long and my vet said her teeth are really good.

froglou Sat 17-Dec-16 22:17:02

Be careful with hay for rodents as will damage there pouches if they try to store it smile

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 17-Dec-16 22:30:30

Oooo, I forgot hamsters have pouches!!!


Yes, good point.

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 18-Dec-16 13:50:34

Completely normal fgrin

In fact, hamsters have teeth that constantly grow, so they need to gnaw to wear them down - if they don't, they'll eventually be unable to eat and end up down the vets having their teeth trimmed...

Lots of hamsters ignore wooden chew toys (mine included - mine also ignores her holey log thing!) but there are other things that tend to go down well
- certain dog chews - Whimzees and Greenies tend to go down well and are sold individually at Pets at Home
- some hard dog biscuits - Biscrok Original are often suggested as they have no added salt
- loo roll tubes (mine took weeks to cotton on to the fact she could chew them, and now she loves them)
- nuts in shells (e.g. walnut) - then they have to chew the shell to get the treat out. Sometimes, however, you do have to start them off with a small hole!

Chewing the bars, however, is not good! Done to excess, it can cause broken or misaligned teeth. It can tend to be a sign of boredom - I've noticed mine did it more before I gave her a bigger cage, and can tend to return to it if she hasn't had something new in her cage for a few days. Hamsters need more space than most people (including pet shops!) realise - 360 square inches / 2300 square cm is often quoted as being the minimum (a 40cm x 60cm cage, excluding any shelves, would fit the bill)

youvegottobekidding Wed 21-Dec-16 09:39:45

Well apon further investigation, it appears he's still having a good old gnaw at the cardboard & then I saw him carry some pieces to his bed, something he does with his sunflower seeds, so I thought, hand on a minute, he's not actually going to eat that is he, so lifting the lid of his bed there's quite a few shredded bits of cardboard amongst his bedding - I can only assume he's insulating his bedding area!! Clever little thing!

Oh, just to add, his cage doesn't have bars, it's one of those plastic lid type ones, only a section at the top has bars that slides open for access, but he can't reach that, so he doesn't have bars to chew on.

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