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Old 03-17-2019, 04:50 AM   #1
Mish
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Default Bar biting in big cage?

I have a Detolf cage which has more than the recommended amount of floorspace for a hamster, but it has metal bars. My last syrian hamster, Pichu, had a habit of chewing on them. It worried me a little bit and i always bought new chew toys for him but he just wouldnt stop. Now I didnt know this was actually dangerous until I watched a video about bar biting, which is my bad. But I'm soon getting a new hamster, and I'm wondering what to do if it starts doing the same?
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:15 PM   #2
Merle
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

Hey there,

bar biting is for the most part a sign of stress, as you probably already know. But another reason a hamster might bite on bars or metal is out of habit. I had a few hamsters myself that started bar biting when with a previous owner or even when with the breeder. And no amount of floor space or different cages stopped them from biting metal. Even in wooden cages they looked for the few pieces of metal there and had a go at it.

Sadly I never found a solution for it. Every hamster is different though and some start biting bars and some don't. I guess you have to wait and see if it becomes a problem and then think about different cages or ways to prevent the hammie from getting to the bars.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

Your next hamster may not bite the bars on the detolf, so don't worry. The main thing is have the cage set up so the hamster feels secure - with plenty of enrichment. They sometimes bar chew if they don't feel safe and can't hide anywhere - as if wanting to escape.

A large cage like that is great but sometimes people don't have enough "cover" in it and it can feel a bit exposed. A large house that's dark inside helps - the hamster has somewhere to retreat to that's dark, when needed, and build a large nest in. Different levels in the cage break up the large open space into interesting areas. I think it's essential to have a shelf/platform as well as a house that's dark inside. That gives some "overhead cover" - something they can sit under so they feel secure out in the open. Large floor tunnels can also be good - eg the large cork log tunnels - the fill a large floor area, make a nice dark tunnel and interesting texture to climb over - they're light so don't sink into the substrate.

You could even have one end as really deep substrate, like a digging end, which makes the rest feel cosier. Google "Hamster detolf" and select images, for some ideas - there are a few German set ups come up which have loads of enrichment. It doesn't have to be all "natural" but there are lots of ideas out there to make the space into an interesting habitat.

If your new hamster does start to chew the bars in the detolf, one solution is to wrap sisal string round all the bars, which covers them. The hamster may still chew but their teeth won't get damaged and they may give up when the bars are covered in sisal. Plus it would take some chewing through.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:30 PM   #4
Mish
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merle View Post
Hey there,

bar biting is for the most part a sign of stress, as you probably already know. But another reason a hamster might bite on bars or metal is out of habit. I had a few hamsters myself that started bar biting when with a previous owner or even when with the breeder. And no amount of floor space or different cages stopped them from biting metal. Even in wooden cages they looked for the few pieces of metal there and had a go at it.

Sadly I never found a solution for it. Every hamster is different though and some start biting bars and some don't. I guess you have to wait and see if it becomes a problem and then think about different cages or ways to prevent the hammie from getting to the bars.
That actually sounds like a valid reason because Pichu also loved to chew the metal on his water bottle, and he even managed to break one haha. One thing I didn't mention though is that he always chewed in the corners of the cage, never anywhere else. To me it seemed like he wanted to escape. But yeah now that I know it's harmful I will at least try to take measures to prevent it.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Your next hamster may not bite the bars on the detolf, so don't worry. The main thing is have the cage set up so the hamster feels secure - with plenty of enrichment. They sometimes bar chew if they don't feel safe and can't hide anywhere - as if wanting to escape.

A large cage like that is great but sometimes people don't have enough "cover" in it and it can feel a bit exposed. A large house that's dark inside helps - the hamster has somewhere to retreat to that's dark, when needed, and build a large nest in. Different levels in the cage break up the large open space into interesting areas. I think it's essential to have a shelf/platform as well as a house that's dark inside. That gives some "overhead cover" - something they can sit under so they feel secure out in the open. Large floor tunnels can also be good - eg the large cork log tunnels - the fill a large floor area, make a nice dark tunnel and interesting texture to climb over - they're light so don't sink into the substrate.

You could even have one end as really deep substrate, like a digging end, which makes the rest feel cosier. Google "Hamster detolf" and select images, for some ideas - there are a few German set ups come up which have loads of enrichment. It doesn't have to be all "natural" but there are lots of ideas out there to make the space into an interesting habitat.

If your new hamster does start to chew the bars in the detolf, one solution is to wrap sisal string round all the bars, which covers them. The hamster may still chew but their teeth won't get damaged and they may give up when the bars are covered in sisal. Plus it would take some chewing through.
I always put out at least two different hides in the cage, always with dark enclosures, so I don't think that's the issue. But the shelves and levels sounds like a good idea. I did have things like bendy bridges that he used to sit high up on and under. Larger tunnels is definitely something I wanted to purchase but just could never find at the pet stores, maybe I should start looking online? The sisal sting idea sounds really good. Thanks so much for the advice!
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

The cork tunnels are often sold by reptile stores or on Amazon They sometimes arrive looking pretty mucky and dusty but you can just rinse them, and let them dry out, or give them a good brush.
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:18 PM   #7
Bonniesyrian
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Default Re: Bar biting in big cage?

Hi I am really not sure if Iím doing this right I have no idea how to use this!
I have come for some advice as Iím a new hamster owner I have had bonnie for over a month now and she is still biting her cage like mad. I have upgraded her cage for a really big one more than the recommended size but it didnít seem to work. She has so many toys including two wheels and I take her out of the cage pretty much daily in the ball or in a play pin. Iím really stuck on what to do
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