When you have a small pet like a hamster, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on its behavior, because this will tell you a lot about its physical and mental well-being, and may let you know if a problem has arisen.
You may see your hamster climbing its cage from time to time, and when this happens, you might wonder whether this is something that should concern you, and what prompts your hamster to do this, especially if it has everything that it needs in its cage already.
Hamsters often behave in inexplicable ways, but if you watch your furry friend a lot, you will probably develop a feeling for why it does certain things – like mountaineering up any nearby surface that it can find.
Some hamsters will climb almost constantly, swinging from the bars of the cage or even from the roof.
You may have noticed that your hamster drops off the bars and immediately begins climbing them again, and that it ignores other enrichment activities in favor of climbing.
It may occasionally pair climbing with biting or gnawing at the bars, which might be annoying if the hamster chooses to do this at night, as it will likely create a lot of noise.
If you see your hamster doing this sort of thing frequently, you should try to exercise it more and provide more activities for it within the cage.
What Does It Mean When My Hamster Climbs His Cage?
Your hamster could be climbing the cage bars for a few different reasons: often, hamsters are looking to expend energy, relieve boredom, explore, or to find for a way out of the cage.
Although climbing can just be an innocent enrichment activity, you should make sure that your hamster has enough to do and is getting sufficient exercise, because climbing is not an ideal activity for it and is usually a sign of boredom.
If your hamster simply seems to enjoy climbing, you can probably just allow it to continue provided it does not seem to be at risk of falling, and it’s having fun.
Your hamster may simply want a new perspective from the world, and enjoy the vantage point that it gets from high up on the cage bars.
However, if your hamster seems frustrated or angry, it’s important not to ignore this, especially if it is accompanied by other signs of annoyance, such as nipping.
Sometimes, hamsters are prompted to climb by instinct, and may not actually be trying to achieve anything through the activity. In the wild, climbing might bring them food or shelter, but in captivity, they are just responding to their natural desire to climb, without having an actual goal to fulfill.
How Do I Stop My Hamster From Climbing The Cage?
It’s not a great idea to let your hamster climb its cage, but it can be a little tricky to stop them. The best technique is usually distraction; give your hamster other things to do, and tire it out using a hamster ball or a hamster wheel if possible.
A tired hamster is far less likely to try climbing the cage, and will probably curl up for a nap instead, so this can be an effective strategy.
You can also block off a small area outside of the cage for your hamster to play in and explore, although you must make sure that this is secure and free from dangerous items or anything that is unsuitable for chewing.
Giving your hamster more burrowing material inside the cage may help too, distracting it and possibly making it feel more comfortable and secure.
If you really can’t get your hamster to stop climbing the bars, consider swapping it into a glass tank, but make sure that there is plenty of airflow and your hamster is happy here.
In general, wire cages are better, but a determined climber may only be deterred by glass walls. Making sure the cage is large enough and your hamster is happy should be enough for most, however.
Should I Be Worried If My Hamster Is Climbing Its Cage?
How worried you need to be about this action depends on both the kind of cage that you have and the way that the hamster behaves when climbing.
A hamster that seems agitated, angry, and keen to bite is far more concerning than a hamster that simply swings on the bars a bit, explores, and then drops back down and goes off to do something else for a while.
Obsessive behavior and persistent climbing can signify that your hamster is unhappy with its cage, and if this is the case, you will need to action to make it feel happier.
The second factor that should determine how concerned you are is the cage height. If your hamster is kept in a low cage, it is unlikely to hurt itself much if it falls off the cage bars when climbing around, but if the cage is tall, your hamster could get injured.
Hamsters are not brilliant climbers, so it’s much better to give them activities at or near ground level, and this means not letting them swing from a high cage roof.
If your hamster is a persistent climber and this concerns you, move it into a cage with a lower roof, or slot cardboard down the sides (inside the bars) so that the hamster cannot easily climb.
However, if the cage is low and your hamster is not obsessively climbing, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about this sort of behavior; it’s unlikely to be anything serious.
A hamster climbing its cage is not an uncommon sight, but if your hamster does this a lot or seems distressed when doing it, you may wish to check whether it has enough space and stimulation. Many commercial hamster cages do not meet the minimum recommended size, and even if yours does, your pet may benefit from having more space. A hamster that is happy in its cage should only climb the bars occasionally or for exercise, and not obsessively.