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Old 02-06-2017, 11:09 PM   #1
personalbeehive
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Default Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

My hammy keeps trying to shew her way out of her tank (impossible). She digs all the way down into the substrate and tries to chew on the bottom edges of her tank. Any reason? i try to give her stuff to do and chew on but she mostly ignores them
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

This behavior is one of several indicators of an inappropriate habitat.This can mean your tank is too small(very likely)or that your setup just isn't right for your hamster.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:24 PM   #3
personalbeehive
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

my tank is a forty gallon, would that be too small?
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

Too small for some species,yes,but in human perspective it can seem quite large.That's only due to the length though,as in reality it's just a long but narrow tank.It isn't surprising to me though,as I've heard of quite a few unhappy hamsters due to that size of tank It's incredibly difficult to get tanks that are appropriate for the larger species of hamsters,and even then they're ridiculously expensive to the point where it just isn't worth it and you could make a bin setup with even more floor space for a fraction of the cost!
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

I don't think a 40 gallon tank is that small (if I remember the dimensions right!) burrowing is just natural behaviour so maybe you could try burying some cardboard tubes or boxes under the substrate for her to do what she likes with, it might distract her from chewing or trying to chew the tank & encourage natural behaviour.
Add as much enrichment above the substrate as you can too, if you're unsure what she might like have a look through this thread for some ideas.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

There's a difference between burrowing and obsessive behavior though.If it were just burrowing and not chewing obsessively,it would be normal and therefore not an issue.

Having experienced this behavior myself and knowing of it from others,I can say that it is certainly not normal as it occurs in inappropriate habitats whether it be specific to cage size or the setup itself.Setup can be addressed first just to try,but it's still not likely to be a complete fix.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

With the right measures it can be fairly easy to distract from this kind of behaviour before it becomes obsessive or just a habit, I don't think you necessarily have to resort to huge tanks or cages & not everyone can, enrichment is as important as space so it's always a good idea to consider all possible fixes.
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Old 02-07-2017, 04:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

As amity says, your ham might feel they need a larger enclosure to call home, but as cypher says, before rushing into things, try making your little one's set up more enriching. I find adding several new toys and tunnels can curve aberrant behavior. If however it does not, and is followed by obsessive corner digging and chewing, pacing, and other behaviors similar, it might be time to upgrade. Best wishes
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:32 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

A 40 gallon breeder tank is a good size. I think a 40 gallon long tank can be quite narrow. It sounds like she is chewing at the aquarium sealant - I've heard of this before. Either it tastes nice or she's trying to chew her way out. I don't know how deep your substrate is but you could try having it a bit deeper. And as the others say, add plenty of enrichment.

How long have you had her? If she's new to the tank she could need some time to settle in so best not to do any cleaning or change things around as that can stress them and make them want to escape. Adding new things is usually ok.

Sometimes as well they can feel very exposed from the top in a tank, so if that's the case and the substrate isn't that deep she will be looking for somewhere to hide. Maybe add lots of large tunnels on top of the substrate and hidey places to dive under - a shelf or cardboard box. You could try scatter feeding as well as that will distract her and she'll enjoy foraging for the food. I used to just scatter half the usual hamster mix and put the other half in the bowl as usual so they have the option of both.

Whimzee chews are almost universally popular with hamsters - I haven't heard of a hamster that wouldn't chew those! They are vegetable based dog chews but suitable for hamsters. They come in different sizes - the mini ones are good for hammies. Ours liked the toothbrushes best and you can stick sunflower seeds between the bristles for them to have fun getting them out.

There are 24 in this pack - you can probably find them in smaller packs at other pet places.

https://www.amazon.com/Whimzees-Toot...ini+toothbrush

So without seeing your set up - and apologies if you already know/have all this - I would suggest - at least 20cm of substrate - 25cm if you can manage it. A really good sized house. Some of the little houses just aren't big enough for them to build a decent sized nest in and aren't dark enough inside for them to feel secure and out of the light. A shoebox is a good option - cut the bottom out, cut a hole in for a door at the front and use the lid as a lift off roof. Putting a bendy bridge over the door makes it dark inside and adds a tunnel entrance and also a ramp to the roof to make a level.

Lots of large tubes and tunnels - cardboard or cork ones are good - on top of the substrate - a platform along the back maybe, and little hidey places between one end and the other, plus scatter feeding and a couple of whimzees.

If it's a 40 gallon long tank though it may be that it is a bit narrow and she can't roam properly. They are only about 13" deep (ie front to back).

20" deep or more is best

Standard Tank Sizes
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hammy attempting to chew on edges of tank

Try adjusting the environment and toys. Lots of varying textures to chew, hiding food/scatter feeding keeps them occupied. Your hamster could just be a borrower/digger, so deep substrate in one area with tubes boxes buried may keep her busy.

Check the wheel is big enough for her to run with a straight back and that is is spinning well/not blocked by substrate.
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