Can My Hamsters Chew On Tree Branches? (Safe Wood+Unsafe Wood)

You must have known by now that your Hamster loves to chew on things. They will chew on anything and everything in their reach. Starting from card boards, cage bars, toys to hideouts, there is nothing that your Hamster won’t chew.

Hay and veggies are some of the common things they chew on, but what about something natural like branches. Can Hamsters chew on tree branches? Is it safe for them?

Some tree branches are safe for our Hamsters, while others are toxic for them. While Apple, Pears, Maple, Bamboo cane, Kiwi, etc. are a safe option for our Hamsters. Apricot, Almonds, Cedar, Figs & Citrus woods are something you should avoid altogether.

Hamster’s teeth grow throughout their lifetime. Therefore, chewing on branches will help to keep their teeth healthy and well-shaped.

So, now that you know Hamsters can munch on tree branches, you might be wondering what branches are safe for our Hamsters? Let’s have a look!

What Wood Is Safe For Hamsters?

Most fruit tree branches are safe for our Hamsters. However, branches of fruit trees with solid pits like that of mango, peaches, plum and cherries should be avoided.

If you are visiting any pet stores or other pet supply stores, you might be wondering which one should you pick.

Here the rule of thumb is to look out for the label that reads safe for rodents or Hamsters. These types of wood are entirely safe for our little ones.

Apart from this, the following types of branches are considered safe for our Hamsters:

Alfalfa Apple WoodArbutus
AshAspenBasswood
BirchBlackberryBlackcurrant
BorageChollaCottonwood
CrabappleDogwoodGrapevine
HackberryHawthornHazel
JuniperKiwiKudzu
ManzanitaMapleMesquite
PearPecanPoplar
SycamoreWillow

What Wood Is Toxic To My Hamsters?

Not all wood are safe for our Hamsters to consume. Many of them contains traces of phenols, tannins and even cyanide, that can be fatal for our Hamsters.

Therefore, we must be very cautious with the type of branches we provide our Hamsters to chew on.

Here are some wood branches that are deemed toxic for our Hamsters:

AlderCedarHemlockOlive
AlmondCocoboloHorse chestnutPeach
ApricotCypressIrokoPine
Balsam FirDahomaJuniperPlum
BeechEbonyKapokPlywood
BirchElderberryLaurelRosewood
Black LocustElmMagnoliaSpruce
BlackwoodEucalyptusMahoganyTeak
Bog WoodFigMimosaWalnut
BoxwoodFirNectarineYew
CashewGreenheartOakZebrawood

Note: Branches of apricot, peach and nectarine can be provided to your Hamsters after drying them up for at least a month. Fresh branches of these trees are toxic for our Hamsters.

Health Benefits Of Chewing Branches

Although the chewing habit of your Hamsters can be troublesome and annoying for you, it is beneficial for the health of your little one.

Most of the time you might have noticed them chewing on the bars of their cage or the fleece hideouts.

Your little one chews on those things mostly because they don’t have something better like chew toys or safe branches to chew on.

Therefore, it is important to give your Hamsters something safe they can chew on.

Now, with that out of the way, let us look at some of the health benefits of chewing in Hamsters.

Prevents Overgrown Teeth

Hamster teeth are different from human teeth. Their teeth grow throughout their lifetime.

Therefore, a high fiber diet and roughage is important to keep their teeth healthy.

The teeth of your Hamsters can overgrow, hindering their ability to eat if they are not provided with enough toys and other things to chew on. Also, it will hurt your Hamsters and cause a lot of pain in them.

Therefore, it is important to add some branches to your Hamsters cage to keep their teeth in shape. The teeth of your Hamsters are also grinding when they try to chew and shred the branches.

Branches from apple, maple, and pear are some excellent choices to keep your Hamster’s teeth in good shape.

Also Read: Overgrown Hamster Teeth: (+How To Keep Them Short)

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Physical Stimulation

Hamsters are active animals. They cannot sit quietly in one place for a very long time.

It can be difficult for you to provide your Hamsters with enough physical stimulation, and therefore a few branches will help you to keep them busy.

It will provide them the much-needed stimulation and exercise they need. Providing your Hamsters with chew toys should not be a replacement for their playtime.

It is just an additional measure to keep your Hamster happy.

Prevents Boredom

Apart from physical stimulation, Hamsters need some mental stimulation to keep themselves happy.

Chew toys can enrich your Hamster’s life and always keeps them engaged. This will help to keep themselves happy.

Many Hamsters chew on their cage bars only to get the attention of their owners.

Therefore, adding some branches can help you to keep them busy. It will help to prevent boredom in your Hamsters.

Rich Source Of Fiber

Branches of trees contain a decent amount of fiber. Besides keeping our little one’s teeth short and in shape, it also supplements fiber in them.

Fiber is essential for our Hamsters as it helps in maintaining a good digestive system and prevents diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complications.

Therefore, you must consider adding some wood into your Hamster’s cage.

Branches That Can Harm Our Hamster’s Health

Not all trees and branches are safe for your Hamsters. Some of them contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful for your Hamsters.

Listed below are a few types of wood that your Hamsters should stay away from:

  • Cedar And Pine: Cedar and pine have a unique smell and feel due to the presence of a chemical called phenol. Phenols are toxic for Hamsters and can even put their life at risk. It can lead to several diseases in them. Klien dried pine trees have a negligible amount of phenols left; thus, they can be served to your Hamsters occasionally.
  • Stone Fruits: Fruit-bearing trees have pits or stones (like peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries) that are unsafe for our Hamsters. However, branches of apricot and peach trees can be made safe by drying them up for a month or so. It can be life-threatening for your Hamsters if you serve these branches fresh.
  • Cyanide Releasing Wood: Consumption can cyanide can be fatal for your Hamsters. It can even lead to death in some cases. Branches and leaves from trees like that almond and oak contain traces of cyanide. Therefore, keep them away from your Hamsters.
  • Tannins Releasing Wood: Branches from trees of redwood and walnut release tannins. Tannins should be avoided at all cost as it is toxic for our Hamsters.

What Types Of Wood Can Hamsters Chew On?

Chewing acts as a mental stimulation for Hamsters. Your Hamsters need more and more items to chew on when they are housed in a confined area.

You might have noticed your Hamster nibbling and chewing on the food and water containers, hideouts, etc. if they are not provided with adequate chewing toys.

Therefore, it is important to provide your Hamsters the right and safe branches to chew on. Also, you need to  pay attention to your Hamster’s personality while choosing the right wood for your Hamsters.

Hamsters are like our own children. Just like every child’s need for toys and diet is different , the same goes with our Hamsters.

Some of the excellent wood choices for our Hamsters are apple, pears, hazel, maple, and willow. Many Hamsters prefer only maple while others only prefer applewood.

Therefore, you need to experiment to find out the right wood for your Hamsters.

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Where Can I Find Good Branches For My Hamsters?

Sometimes it can be difficult for you to find branches for your Hamsters. Here are a few tips which might help you:

  • The best option would be to get the branches from a forest if it is possible for you.
  • Local pet stores also have branches that are marked as rodent safe. These are an excellent choice for your Hamsters.
  • You can give your Hamsters branches from homegrown trees as well. Make sure it is free from chemicals. Even a small amount of chemical could be deadly for your Hamsters.
  • You should avoid branches from the roadside trees. It has a lot of toxins from the environment.
  • Avoid twigs from local parks or areas where people walk their dogs.

How To Prepare Branches For My Hamsters?

It can be quite a tricky task to prepare a piece of wood for your little one. Listed below are a few things you must consider before serving them the branch:

  • Branches from fruit trees such as apples and apricots must be dried for at least a month before serving. These branches are poisonous to our Hamsters when they are attached to a tree.
  • Snap the branches of the tree into tiny pieces and sand the sharp edges. These sharp edges can hurt the inner part of your Hamster’s mouth.
  • Make sure that the branch is free from any kind of materials like ivy and mosses. It can be toxic for your Hamsters.
  • Soak the branches in warm water for at least 10-15 minutes before serving it to your Hamsters. This will help to get rid of the attached pesticides or chemicals if any.
  • Let the branches come to a normal temperature before serving it to your Hamsters. You can dry them in sunlight.

You can get ready-made safe branches for Hamsters in most of the exotic pet stores. However, it is advised to give it a good wash before serving. It will make sure that there is nothing attached to the branch.

Related Queries:

Can Hamsters Chew On Apple Branches?

Yes, apple tree branches are safe for our little ones. Make sure you prepare the branches properly before serving it.

Can Hamsters Chew On Pine Branches?

No, it is advised to not let your Hamsters chew on pine branches. Pine has a unique aroma that is not suitable for our Hamsters.

Sources: Live Science, Science Direct, Journal Of NutritionScience MagSpringer Link

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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