Why Is My Hamster Filling His Tube With Bedding?

By Dawn | Hamster Behavior
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Usually, a hamster will nest in one particular location within the cage; whether you have supplied him with a hamster house or he has chosen his own, makeshift spot. But sometimes, you might notice your pet moving his bedding to strange places, like the tubes in the cage. 

One of the main reasons that hamsters fill their tubes with bedding is for protection. In the wild, these are prey animals and as such, they must protect themselves. Blocking off the tube will prevent any intruders from making their way in. 

Some of the things that hamsters do are very unique and interesting, and this behavior is one of them; let’s look at it in a little more detail. 

Why Do Hamsters Block Their Tube With Bedding?

When you think about the food chain, you will notice that hamsters are pretty low down. Yes, they may eat insects but above them are many creatures that are out for a hamster snack. 

Of course, in captivity, there is no such threat but it does not mean that your hamster won’t still be on high alert.

It is in these animals’ nature to protect themselves and this instinct cannot be shaken when they are kept as pets. As such, you might often see your hamster filling his tubes with bedding. 

This is so that any potential predators cannot access the hamster while he is sleeping. You will probably also see him removing this bedding when he wakes so that he can access other areas of his cage. 

When they are in the wild, hamsters will burrow under the ground during daylight hours to sleep. This is when most of their predators are awake and hunting. To protect themselves, these tiny creatures will block off the entrance to their burrows.

If you notice your pet behaving in this way, there is no need to be concerned. The only time that you should worry is if the hamster appears to be unable to unblock the tubes.

Some pet owners have seen that their hammy will do this and then leave the bedding in place, leaving the animal seemingly stuck. This is unlikely but if it is the case then you should attempt to remove the bedding each day so that your pet can access his food and water supply. 

That being said, it is not unheard of for hamsters to stuff food into the tubes along with the bedding. This may likely be another natural instinct. 

When they are in the wild, hamsters must protect their food; it’s a dog eat dog world out there and another animal wouldn’t think twice about taking a hamster’s food if it was available. This behavior extends to when they are kept in captivity. 

If the hamster is storing food in his tube or anywhere else in the cage, it is because he is protecting it and hiding it. 

Some people think that because the hamster is hiding food, they should provide him with more but this is not the case. Your hamster will return to his stash to eat when he needs to. However, adding extra food will simply cause him to hide even more, and eventually, the supply will go bad.

Can I Stop My Hamster Hiding His Food?

Attempting to prevent your hamster from living out his natural instincts is neither healthy nor possible. Hamsters are hard-wired to act the way that they do and it would be miraculous if any owner were able to stop them from hiding food.

You may be concerned that your pet might hide food that will go bad but as we have discussed, not offering additional food should be enough to prevent this. 

Furthermore, if you stay on top of cleaning the cage, it is unlikely that any stashed food would remain long enough to start rotting. 

Cleaning The Tubes

As we have mentioned, some pet owners will periodically remove any bedding that has been stuffed into the tubes. Unless your hamster is not able to remove the bedding themselves, you should leave it in place until you are ready to clean the enclosure. 

You should remove any soiled or wet bedding every day but cleaning the entire enclosure only needs to be done once every few weeks. 

If there is a lot of bedding in the tubes, you will need to pay special attention to this part of the cage as more bacteria may have built up.

It is crucial to remember that hamsters are susceptible to an allergic reaction to some household cleaning products so the more gentle and natural products you can use, the better. 

One of the most effective ways to clean the tubes is to remove them and soak them in warm, soapy water for at least half an hour. 

After this, you can remove them and use a cloth through the tube to dry them thoroughly. Admittedly, this does take some time but it is essential to make sure that you have done the job correctly. 

Related Questions

Is it normal for hamsters to sleep in their tubes?

Hamsters will sleep wherever they feel safe and for some of these pets, this is in their tubes. It might not be the most conventional location and you will probably get frustrated that your pet isn’t using the cute little hamster house you purchased for them, but this certainly isn’t something that should concern you.  Furthermore, a lot of young hamsters do this and typically grow out of it, moving into their house at a later date.

Can hamsters suffocate in their bedding?

It can look as though your hamster has disappeared entirely when they enter their nest. Layers of bedding cover them and all you see is the bedding moving around. A lot of hamster parents worry that their pet might suffocate and as such, do not put a lot of bedding in the cage. But hamsters are naturally used to being underground and will not suffocate in a few inches of bedding. Be sure to provide them with enough to snuggle down and feel safe.