Why Do Hamsters Move Their Bedding?

Hamsters are fun but sometimes confusing pets. Their behaviors can be challenging to understand sometimes but there is usually a reason behind what they’re doing.

One of those behaviors that can be slightly confusing is when a hamster moves its bedding. Why do hamsters move their bedding around?

Hamsters mainly move their bedding around to make their own little nests and sometimes to hide their food so they can store it for later.

Plus hamsters really like to customize things in their enclosure to the way they like it.

They will even move their bedding back to how they had it after you’ve cleaned their cage and replaced the bedding sometimes.

Why Does My Hamster Move Its Bedding?

This is a behavior that almost all hamsters will display and there isn’t only one single reason why it happens.

A hamster considers his or her bedding as a type of nest. One common reason why they move their bedding is due to being cold.

By moving the bedding around the cage, the hamster may be trying to find a warmer spot or simply believes that moving it will increase how warm they are throughout the day.

Hamsters may also move their bedding because of the conditions of the cage.

They often hide food in their bedding but may not want the bedding to be close to where they use the bathroom or any other undesirable areas in their cage.

For example, if the cage receives too much sunlight throughout the day, the hamster may be disrupted when trying to sleep.

So relocating themselves and their bedding to a darker area of the cage is a fairly normal thing for them to do.

Similar behaviors can occur just due to disruptions. Hamsters owners can take a look at their pet’s cage and see if their hamster tends to move the bedding to one particular area of the cage.

Consider why this area might be desirable for them. For some hamsters, they find that moving the bedding to an area that’s harder to reach or disturb works well for them.

Since the bedding is in a place where the hamster likes to go to sleep and relax, they usually want it to be in an area of the cage that is dark, clean, and quiet.

How Normal Is It For A Hamster To Move Their Bedding?

The good news for hamster owners is that this is fairly normal behavior for hamsters to do.

Think about the fact that hamsters consider the bedding as their nesting material.

Hamster owners should be aware that hamsters tend to have particular preferences when it comes to where they move their bedding.

That’s why it’s best not to change how they have their bedding unless the cage is being cleaned.

This behavior tends to happen more commonly in younger hamsters though.

It may be due to their preference and energy levels when they’re younger but it tends to be less common as they get older.

So a young hamster will often move their nest every now and then but it’s much less common when they’re older. This behavior can be frustrating for owners as the hamster may end up making a mess in the process.

Like when they move the bedding and it gets under their wheel. You then have to clean it out from under the wheel so they can run on it again.

Although some hamster owners worry about this kind of behavior, it’s not a sign of any condition.

Instead, this is normal behavior that can actually be healthy for hamsters because it helps them keep active and stimulates their mind.

Where In The Cage Is It Normal For A Hamster To Move Their Bedding?

This is a common question as well. In general, hamsters prefer to move their bedding to a cozy area of the cage.

For example, don’t be surprised if your hamster decides to move all of their bedding to the corner of their cage. This is often seen as a move to make the hamster feel more secure.

Hamsters may also move it to avoid certain parts of their cage. Areas of the cage that may be louder or exposed are likely not going to be seen as safe and comforting places for them.

This may be why hamsters prefer areas of the cage that are as dark and as quiet as possible.

They may also move their bedding so they can have a clear and distinct bathroom and food area.

This is likely due to hygiene as they prefer a really clean environment. Hamsters also move their bedding to create a comfortable burrowing area.

Hamsters love digging so it’s a great idea to actually give them a lot more bedding so that they can dig through it and move it around.

Should You Move Your Hamsters Bedding Back Or Leave It How They Put It?

There are many reasons why hamster owners would want to move their hamster’s bedding to how they originally put it in.

It may be to make it more convenient for them to reach when cleaning because they moved it to a harder to clean area in the cage.

However, if possible, it’s best to leave the hamster bedding how they have it arranged.

Usually, one of the only times you should move their bedding is if your hamster put it in an unusual area like under their wheel and it’s preventing them from running on it.

Since hamsters prefer to move their bedding to certain areas, moving their bedding is likely not going to be a solution because they’ll usually move it right back to how they had it.

The hamsters can easily relocate their bedding throughout the cage and will do this fairly frequently.

Moving it to a certain area creates more work for the hamster but doesn’t guarantee that it will stay in that place.

Additionally, moving the bedding may also create more stress for the hamster so it’s usually best to keep it where they have it unless you need to move it for cleaning.

Add More Bedding For Your Hamster To Move Around

One common reason why a hamster may seem unhappy in their current cage setup is that there is simply not enough bedding for them. That’s because hamsters are natural burrowers.

When they don’t have the opportunity to burrow as much as they want, hamsters will instead move their bedding around more often.

So when it comes to hamsters, having at least six inches deep of bedding or more is ideal.

The size of their cage might be a limiting factor when it comes to their bedding.

So upgrading to a larger cage to allow their burrowing behaviors is a great idea.

Some owners will even buy houses for their hamsters but the hamster may not prefer that option.

They tend to enjoy building their own nests out of their bedding so give them an adequate amount of it if possible to allow this behavior to happen.

In general, a hamster will move and change their bedding periodically and this is normal behavior, so it shouldn’t cause any concern.


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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