You love your hamster. He gets everything he needs. A nice cage with lots of hiding places, good food and enough to drink. And toys with which he can keep himself busy. But it doesn’t seem to be enough for him. Your hamster starts to build a nest. Is it normal for hamsters to build nests?
Do hamsters build nests? Yes, hamsters usually build nests, even when they live in a cage. It is their natural instinct to build nests. Some hamsters even build more than one nest, while others don’t build a nest at all. When you clean your hamster’s cage, be careful not to damage or even destroy his nest.
So now we know that hamsters do make nests. But why do they build nests? And what types of materials do they need to build nests? Can I remove the nest from the cage when cleaning it? We will answer these and other questions below.
Why Do Hamsters Build Nests?
Hamsters living in the wild build burrows and chambers underground. It is their natural behavior to do so. These underground nests keep them safe and warm. And they can hoard their food there.
Underground nests are also the perfect place for hamsters to have and raise offspring. There the young have the perfect temperature and are protected from predators. In addition, the familiar scent of the family prevails there, which also gives the hamsters a reassuring feeling.
A hamster that is kept in a cage does not shed its natural instincts because of this. He will also try to build a comfortable and warm nest there. Especially when offspring is on the way. Therefore, if a female hamster has a sudden urge to build a nest it may be a sign of pregnancy.
Hamsters like to be comfortable. They will try to make their nest as cozy as possible with soft materials so that they have a comfortable place to spend the night. So it is important that you offer your hamster the right material to build their nest.
Should I Buy a Nest or Let the Hamster Build It Himself?
Countless ready-made nests for hamsters are offered in pet stores and especially on the Internet. But are these ready-made nests what a hamster wants? Or would he rather build a nest himself?
You can of course buy your hamster a prefabricated nest. It won’t hurt him, and he may even enjoy using it.
But it is likely that the hamster will want to build a nest himself. You should definitely provide him with materials for this.
Whether he then uses the ready-made nest, builds a new nest, or even wants to inhabit both nests, time will tell.
In any case, it is important that the hamster has the opportunity to build a nest. However, you must be careful with the material that you provide him for this purpose.
There are materials that can become very dangerous for a hamster. Unfortunately, this also applies to materials that are offered specifically for this purpose.
What Kind of Material Should I Provide for Nest Buiding?
As mentioned above, hamsters like their nests comfortable and cozy. Therefore, it is important to provide them with the right materials for nest building. In the wild, a hamster would normally build his nest with grass or moss. These are the coziest materials he can get his hands on.
But you have to be careful, not all soft materials are suitable for hamsters. And hamsters don’t know which materials are good for them and which are dangerous.
In pet stores, there are a variety of materials that are supposed to be suitable for hamster nests. But these are usually made of cloth, fleece, absorbent cotton, kapok or similar materials.
I’m sure you know that hamsters like to carry things in their mouths. They do the same with the materials they collect for nest building. But the above materials can be dangerous for hamsters.
This type of material can separate into thin strands. When that happens, the material can get tangled in their teeth, clog their pouch, they can swallow it, or it can get wrapped around their legs.
When it wraps around their legs, they try to get free of it. And the more they try to get free, the tighter the twisted material becomes. When it wraps around a leg, it usually cuts off the blood supply, causing gangrene. This can either lead to amputation of a leg or even to death.
What material should you provide your hamster then? The best and safest material for building a nest is simply toilet paper. Take a few sheets of toilet paper and tear it into 5 or 6 strips on the long side.
Then place these in a corner of the hamster’s cage. Do not put it in the nest if there is already one, just put it in a corner. The hamster will find it himself and put it in the right place. This is how he does it in the wild.
Can I Remove a Nest From a Hamster Cage?
You may be tempted to remove the hamster’s nest when you clean the cage. But you should avoid this if possible.
It could be that your hamster thinks that a rival has destroyed his nest. This would put your hamster under stress, as hamsters are solitary animals. An aggressive rival would be a negative experience for your hamster. Therefore, you should avoid making him feel that one might be around.
In the best case, the hamster will simply build the nest again, but it could also be that he will give up the nest and not build a new one.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a disaster, but hamsters are actually naturally conditioned to nest. If they don’t build a new nest after destroying theirs, it could be a sign of prolonged stress.
Whether he rebuilds it or not, it is stressful for the hamster to have his nest destroyed or removed. Therefore, you should really try to avoid damaging, removing or even destroying the nest. You wouldn’t like it either if someone destroyed your house.
Hamsters build nests. They do this in the wild, but also when they are kept in a cage. It is simply their natural behavior. You can try to buy your hamster an artificial nest. Maybe you should even do that. But it is definitely also important to offer the hamster building material to build a nest itself.
When offering building materials to your hamster, make sure you use the right material. There are materials that are dangerous for hamsters. Provide the hamster with non-hazardous materials with which it can comfortably furnish its nest. Toilet paper is best for this purpose.
Be careful not to damage or destroy the nest. This might look to the hamster as if a rival has invaded its territory. For hamsters, this is a stressful idea.
Follow the advice we have compiled in this post, and your hamster will be able to spend many happy moments in his nest.