Can Hamsters Bite Through Plastic?

By Dawn | Hamster Behavior
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A large number of the components in a hamster’s cage are made from plastic, and as pet owners will know, these little animals have sharp teeth.

So, you might be wondering, can hamsters bite through plastic?

Plastic is easy for hamsters to chew on, and they certainly have the ability to bite through it completely.  Hamsters’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, so this means that they need to gnaw on things to stop them from becoming too large.  Chewing through plastic however is not good for them.

You may find this concerning if parts of your hamster’s enclosure are made from plastic, but there are things that you can do to make sure your hamster doesn’t bite through and escape. Let’s find out a little bit more.

Can Hamsters Chew Through Plastic?

If you have ever owned a hamster and put your them in a cage that has plastic parts or installed toys that are made from plastic, you may have found that your pet has chewed through this. 

In the worst cases, the hamster may bite through the cage’s plastic elements and escape, and of course, this is not ideal where their safety is concerned. 

Hamsters may be small, but they do have incredibly powerful teeth, as well as being somewhat determined. 

If your hammie decides that she wants to chew a hole in some plastic, they will keep doing this until they are happy.

But the main reason that your hamster will chew and potentially completely bite through plastic is not down to bad behavior. In fact, this is a need for your hamster because, much like other rodents, their teeth will continue to grow throughout her life. 

This is difficult to imagine for a human, but these mini pets must have something to gnaw on in order to prevent their teeth from overgrowing. 

However, while your hamster does have the ability to chew their way through a piece of plastic, this doesn’t mean that it is the best material for them. 

Plastic can become very sharp when it is broken, and this could cause injury to your pet. Furthermore, plastic can be somewhat difficult for your pet to get her teeth into and could damage her gnashers rather than keep them at the right length due to its hard nature. 

It can be frustrating to find that your pet has bitten a hole in their plastic wheel or the plastic parts of her cage but don’t be mad at them. The best thing you can do to resolve this problem is to buy your pet something safer to chew on.

In the main, a piece of untreated wood is an excellent thing for your hamster to gnaw on. 

It will keep their teeth healthy and won’t pose any sort of risk. 

If you prefer, several wooden toys are specifically designed for hamsters, and these can be found both online and in your local pet store; they’re also usually very affordable.

Another good option is a hard biscuit or a whole walnut, which can be placed inside the cage. The likelihood is that once your hamster has something nice to gnaw on, it will stop damaging the plastic.

What Do I Do If My Hamster Bites Through Her Cage?

For the most part, your hamster won’t be trying to escape unless their home is uncomfortable. But if they manage to clear a hole in a plastic cage, they will go and explore. 

In this case, your primary concern is that your hamster will become lost or injured, which is a particular risk if you have larger pets like cats or dogs.

You may notice that your hamster chews on the bars of his cage, especially if there aren’t any other things that they can chew more easily.  Bar chewing however is more likely to occur when your hamster is stressed which is usually caused by their enclosure being too small.

But gnawing on metal could serve to damage their teeth.

As we have already discovered, supplying your pet with something appropriate to chew on will effectively solve any problems, for the most part. 

However, there are other things that you can do to stop your hammy from developing a taste for plastic.

  • Purchase a cage that does not have any plastic parts (such as an aquarium) and only use toys that are made from wood or other chew-safe materials.
  • Keep the enclosure clean. Make sure that you discard dirty bedding and thoroughly clean the hamster cage once every few weeks. 
  • Be sure to inspect the cage regularly. Yes, it’s true that a hamster can chew through plastic, but it certainly couldn’t do this quickly. Your pet would have needed a substantial amount of time to make a hole, and this likely means that you were not paying attention to what they were doing. To avoid this, always keep a check on your pet and the condition of the cage.
  • If your hamster has bitten through the plastic part of their cage or any other type of plastic, it is vital that you replace this as soon as possible. When purchasing a new cage, you may want to consider going for a glass tank that removes the risk of further biting entirely. 

Hamster Teeth Problems

As we now know, a hamster’s teeth will grow throughout its life, and it is essential that they have something to chew on. 

But what a lot of pet owners fail to pay attention to is the need for good dental care for their hamster. 

Several problems can affect a hamster’s teeth, and as a responsible owner, it is important that you are aware of these.

Your hamster’s teeth should be a whitish-brown color when they are healthy; if you notice that they are white, you might need to see a vet as this could be a sign that something is wrong.

What’s more, you should check your hamster’s breath – sounds weird, right? But it is necessary.  A hamster with halitosis, especially if accompanied by a discharge from the mouth, could have cavities caused by too much sugar. 

Once again, seeing your vet is essential. 

There are instances, especially if your hamster is chewing on hard things like plastic, where a tooth may break. If this is left untreated, the teeth may begin to grow over one another, but your vet can easily fix this. 

Related Questions

Can hamsters climb plastic?

Many hamster cages, such as bin cages, are made solely from plastic and feature smooth walls that will prevent hamsters from climbing since they lack anything to grip.

Syrian hamsters enjoy climbing though, so you should install some ladders and platforms for this type of activity. However, do be aware that your pet may chew the plastic, and providing wooden chew toys is the best way to prevent this. 

Do hamsters like to escape?

On the whole, your hamster will be happy in their enclosure provided that it is comfortable and suitable. The only time that hamsters may attempt to escape is if they feel scared, threatened, or do not have a safe and comfortable environment to live in.