Gerbils & Hamsters/Syrian Hamster


We have a female hamster who I believe to be around 7 months old.  She eats the side of her cage all night causing large holes in the plastic.  She also attacks the water bottle pipe very violently all through the night.  Can we stop this at all?  She has other things to bite on but doesn't use them.  In an emergency the other night I firmly secured a ten pence piece to cover the hole to the outside of the cage to try and prevent her making hole larger and escaping in the night.  Two problems - she's carried on eating the cage and now ten pence piece disappeared!!!!!  Not in cage.  Would she have been able to swallow it?  She seems ok in herself as at today but this is the first day.

Hi Alison

Sorry for the delay in responding. Has the 10 pence piece reappeared yet???

Some hamsters do chew a lot - I've had several who have done this. The only ways I've found to deal with this is:

1. Relocate to a larger cage with loads of things to do - ladders, climbing frames, edible toys/houses (snackshak) etc.sometimes this helps distract them.
2. Put the cage inside a large cage so that it is impossible to chew through both.
3. Relocate to either a tank (glass or hard plastic) or a cage that is made from hard plastic.  If you do this you must make sure there is ventilation, and lots to do in the tank as hamsters like climbing.

The problem is that if a hamster starts chewing, once they've made a small hole they will keep going. You could stick a coaster to the cage to cover holes.

With regard to the missing coin, she is more than likely to have pouched this. If so you might be able to feel it in her cheek.  I would be surprised if she swallowed it but if it looks as though she has you should contact a vet as they would need to intervene.

I hope she is ok.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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