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Hamster Housing: Bedding and Nesting

Hamster Housing: Bedding and Nesting

Gnawing on a mattress spring may sound painful to us humans, but your hamster has no problem eating their bedding. So that’s exactly why it’s important to purchase digestible and non-fibrous bedding material for your hamster.

Pelleted/chipped paper product litter:

Litter made from paper products, wood, vegetables or grain is absorbent and generally considered the safest type of bedding for your hamster.

Shredded paper

Shredded paper (such as paper towels and plain paper) is okay if you’re in a pinch. However, this type of bedding is not absorbent and stays damp easily. Avoid shredded newspaper all together; the ink can be hazardous.

Timothy Hay

Timothy Hay or dried grass can be a suitable bedding source and can be found at your local Petco.

Wood shavings

Wood shavings are a common bedding source, and Aspen shavings are recommended most for your little one. Stay away from Cedar shavings, as they can cause nasal and bronchial irritation for your hamster.

Other materials

Shredded cardboard can be a safe bedding source, but it can also be coarse and uncomfortable for your hamster. It’s a bad idea to use fabric scraps, so avoid using them at all.

Hamster housing and habitats

There is no lack of variety when it comes to setting up hamster housing. With patience, you can even go beyond housing, and build an entire city for your furry friend. From lavish mansions to quaint cottages, consider these points when picking up your hamster’s home:


Although hamsters aren’t exactly strong swimmers, tanks without water make great homes for these little guys. If you decide to use a tank as your hamster's home, make sure you cover it securely with a screen cover or a ventilated plastic top designed specifically for this purpose. Today, most plastic covers have modifications to hold add-ons, such as tubes or hanging water bottles. An important side-note here is that you should never use a solid cover for any sort of tank as ventilation becomes limited and condensation will start to form inside the tank.

Tanks also have the advantage of being leak-proof, so shavings and bedding stay nice and contained. Water bottle holders are available and can hold a water bottle with a plain screen cover. The major disadvantage with tanks is that they are more difficult to clean than other habitat styles. When looking at proper equipment for a tank, freestanding exercise wheels are a usual favorite.

Hamster Habitats

There are a variety of hamster habitats to ensure your companion has everything necessary to live a long, happy life.

Some habitats have a plastic base topped with a rigid snap-on wire cover. These habitats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and sometimes come equipped with exercise wheels. Although a little plain compare to flashier options, these habitats are relatively inexpensive and highly customizable with various hamster furnishings and toys. Additionally, air-flow in these habitats is better than in a tank.

Hamsters feel safe and secure when they have a hideout, so it’s a wise idea to give your hamster a home within a home. Many hamster homes come pre-equipped with a hideout, but if not, there are plastic, wood or ceramic houses available on their own. Sometimes, using a cardboard box or toilet tissue roll works just as well.

Modular habitats

Clear, plastic tank-like habitats designed for hamsters have plenty of customizable options and add-ons available. These structures can seamlessly combine home life with exercise as your hamster travels through tunnels, tubes, spinners or anything else your heart desires. This style of housing most closely simulates the tunneled environment in which hamsters naturally live in.

Hamster habitats with tubes can be great for your little one, but they can also be more work for you. These playful contraptions can have hard-to-reach spaces that could make cleaning tough. If you do buy a modular habitat for your hamster, always make sure that the connecting tunnels are large enough for your hamster to pass through easily. Also be aware that these habitats can sometimes be destroyed by your buck-toothed buddy.


Nobody likes cramped quarters, so your hamster's home should at least be large enough for an exercise wheel, a sleeping area, a food-hoarding area and a toilet area. There should also be plenty of left-over room for your hamster to scamper about. Also remember, when it comes to habitats, bigger is usually better.


As a pet parent, you have to keep your pet safe, and hamsters have some special concerns:

  • Ensure your hamster's habitat does not have any sharp edges.
  • A habitat’s door or top should close firmly to make sure your hamster can’t push it open and escape.
  • Doors should always open outward.
  • If you are using a tank with a screen cover or plastic top, make sure that the top fits snugly over the sides so your hamster can't squeeze out.
  • If your hamster's habitat is plastic, make sure that there are no exposed edges that could be chewed through.