Do Hamsters Burrow? (Here is what I found)

Are you aware hamsters do burrow? As prey animals, they burrow due to a number of reasons.

In this article we will dive deep into the reasons hamsters burrow and what you can do to encourage it.

Here’s If Hamsters Burrow:

Hamsters do burrow as a natural tendency. As prey animals, they burrow to hide from their predators. They also do that to escape harsh temperature conditions. Hamsters burrow to store their food and also to take a rest.

Do hamsters burrow?

Why Do Hamsters Burrow?

Burrowing is a natural behavior you see your hamsters do from time to time. So if you don’t see your hamsters for a period of time, don’t be alarmed. There are a variety of reasons hamsters burrow.

Here are the reasons your hamsters burrow:

Escape From Predators

Burrowing, for hamsters, has been necessary for their survival. When you’re such a small creature, being buried or hidden is a clever way to avoid predators.

Of course, a domestic hamster is, for the most part, free from potential predators (step away kitty!), but despite being domesticated, hamsters still retain their innate behaviors, and burrowing fits firmly into that.

Just because your hamster is living the good life in your warm, safe home does not mean that it will throw out its natural behaviors. It’s perfectly natural for hamsters to burrow, so don’t think that they are just scared.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Hamsters burrow to escape harsh weather conditions. In the wild, hamsters burrow to create underground tunnels for safe travels, avoid unwanted weather conditions, and store food.

Essentially, a burrow in the substrate is a hamster’s safe space – it’s warm, comfy, and oftentimes, filled with stored food.

To clarify, a hamster’s need to burrow is innate. While some won’t burrow in a domestic environment, the act is so ingrained within them that it has become a part of their instinctive behavior.

Do All Hamsters Burrow?

Yes, all hamsters burrow. It is instinctive for them to do so. Every breed of hamster has been observed at some point to burrow.

Whether in the wild or at home, hamsters love a good old burrowing session. However, that’s not to say that all hamsters will burrow.

As many hammy owners have likely experienced, some domestic hamsters just don’t seem to want to burrow.

They are naturally inclined to do so, but seemingly, they just don’t want to. Hamsters are intelligent creatures, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that some hamsters have recognized that they are in a domestic environment, and therefore, they don’t want to burrow.

That being said, in most cases, your pet hamster not burrowing is due to not having enough materials to burrow.

What To Do To Encourage Your Hamster To Burrow

Hamsters can be picky about where they choose to burrow, so don’t kick yourself too much if your hamster is being a bit awkward.

If the conditions are perfect for burrowing, you can encourage your non-borrowing hamster to burrow.

Below is a list of things you can do to encourage your hamster to burrow.

Provide Them With Enough Materials

First of all, a hamster needs enough material to burrow in. If their nesting materials are scarce they certainly won’t be entertaining the idea of making a burrow.

Ideally, there should be at least 7 inches of bedding for them to make a burrow – this is a perfect size, and at the very least, it will ensure a soft lining for their domestic habitat.

Aspen wood-based bedding is a safe material, but it’s best to avoid Pine or Cedarwood chips as the odor can irritate hamsters’ little lungs. Shredded toilet paper or soft hay is a cheaper alternative, and they are a perfectly safe option.

Mix it up! Using a range of these materials will crave a hamster’s interest – nobody likes a lifeless home!

Create A Hideout In Your Hamster’s Cage

You must create little hideouts throughout the hamster’s cage. By making a few mounds of compressed substrate material here and there you’ll be essentially giving your hamster the right tools for burrowing.

Hamsters love to wade through their environment, so having an uneven surface in their cage is a natural curiosity to explore for food.

Create A Sleeping Place For Your Hamsters

Burrowing is good fun for hamsters, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll make it their sleeping place. Hamsters will sleep anywhere so long as they have enough comfortable material to nap on.

That being said, if you create a sleeping area, they’ll likely sleep there.

An empty box of tissues filled with bedding or a plastic/wood hut makes for an ideal sleeping place.

Can Hamsters Burrow In Wood Shavings?

Hamsters can borrow wood shavings. However, not all wood shaving all safe for your hamster to burrow.

Pine and cedar are known to be dangerous and cause respiratory issues in your hamsters.

So if you are looking for wood shavings for your hamster, Aspen is what most hamsters recommend. It is safe and free from any toxic substances. Check Amazon for your Aspen shavings.

Aspen is known to stick to the fur of your hamsters. However, this does not harm your hamster in any way. You can simply brush them off your hamster’s fur.

Can Hamsters Burrow In Sawdust?

Hamsters can burrow in sawdust. However, many hamster owners do not recommend it due to the health issues it poses to your hamsters.

The dust it produces can irritate your hamsters’ respiratory tract.

Can Hamsters Burrow In Paper Bedding?

Yes, hamsters can burrow in paper bedding. Paper bedding is soft and comes in different varieties. It is popular with a lot of hamster owners.

When you buy paper bedding avoid inked or scented ones. These contain chemicals that can affect your hamster’s respiratory health.

Paper bedding can be a challenge when your hamster burrows in it. So you can buy a premade tunnel and attach it to the cage.

Do Hamsters Burrow In The Dirt?

Yes, hamsters can burrow in the dirt. In the wild, hamsters burrow in the dirt. That is a natural habitat. So allowing your hamster to burrow in the dirt is just like replicating what they are used to in the wild.

You can buy Eco earth substrate on Amazon and try it with your hamsters. Carefully read the instructions on this product before use. Speak to a qualified Vet before using it.

How Deep Do Hamsters Burrow In The Wild?

In the wild, hamsters love to burrow. They are phenomenal diggers and the dangers of the wild compel hamsters into burrowing.

Wild hamsters have been known to dig as deep as just over 2 feet.

Yes, digging deep into the ground is a safe way of avoiding detection by predators. It’s also a great place to sleep and store food.

Don’t expect your pet hamster to dig that deep though.

Final Thoughts

Hamsters are natural borrowers. If you don’t see your hamster burrow, this is normal. However, with the right materials, you can encourage them to burrow.

Don’t be unhappy though if your hamsters don’t want to burrow.


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