Hamsters are natural burrowing animals. In the wild, hamsters can make burrows up to over 3 feet deep in sand and soil! Of course, it's not possible to replicate this environment in our homes, but it's important we do the best we can to help our hamsters satisfy that burrowing instinct. Provide your hamster with soft bedding that can hold tunnels, as deep as your cage can hold--this guide will help you!
Paper-based bedding is our preferred option for most hamsters. It's soft, absorbent, easy to find, and less likely to cause skin irritation. Most types of paper bedding also hold burrows quite well! Best of all, paper bedding is available in a variety of colours and for a variety of price ranges!
*Avoid scented versions*
Sold as "Clean Comfort" at Target
Sold as "Critter Care" at Walmart
Wood bedding is the most economical option for hamsters. It's super inexpensive and incredibly easy to find. Because of that, you won't need links. Just look for these online and at your local pet store! However, be aware that some wood beddings are unsafe for hamsters. Check out our Dangerous Products page for more!
Pet hamsters spend most of their life in their cage. Besides having the right amount of space, it's important to provide your hamster with mental and physical stimulation. This prevents them from getting bored and helps keep undesirable behaviours at bay.
You can use any or all of these materials in your cage! See the gallery below for inspiration on layering enrichment materials.
Sand makes such a nice feature in any hamster's cage! Please see our sand page to learn more!
Teabag bedding is a soft, eco-concious option for nesting material. It is not great at odor control, so keep it limited to the nest and other resting spots.
Paper crinkles are a fun and easy to find material for your hamster to enjoy! They work best as a nesting material, but you can put a handful anywhere in the cage and see where your hamster decides to take them!
Paper crinkles for pets are available from Petco, and available in fun colours in the gift wrap section of Dollar Tree.
Basically, what we're talking about here is coconut fiber. It is sold as different names depending on the packaging--you can find it as a loose soil-like substrate, or as a compact brick that can be reconstituted as needed.
Coconut fiber is a cleaner alternative to providing dirt or soil for digging. It is soft, inexpensive, and endlessly entertaining for hamsters.
Look for this product in the reptile section of most pet shops.
Kaytee Soft Granules is a very unique material. It's really unlike anything else! The granules are essentially small paper balls of varying sizes.
Kaytee Soft Granules provide a great substrate for digging. It's a very absorbent bedding, making it very useful in litterboxes and under the water bottle. Like hemp, it also makes a great base layer for a softer top layer.
*Avoid scented versions*
Moss is a beautiful and natural material that adds a lovely touch of greenery to the cage. It's easy to care for, and hamsters truly enjoy having a bit of the outdoors in their home.
If you choose to use sphagnum moss in your cage, be sure it is safe for animals.
Hay is an inexpensive burrow-building material! It's great for mixing with paper beddings that have difficulty holding tunnels. Hamsters might munch on it a bit too, but they especially love using hay as a building material. Some hams even include it in their nests!
Toilet paper is an easy option for nesting material! It is soft and comfy, while also being incredibly fun for hamsters to shred. Try throwing a whole roll in the cage! It provides a challenge and stimulation in addition to soft nesting material.