Can Hamsters Eat Paper? (Cardboard, Toilet Paper Roll & More)

You must know by now, that Hamsters can chew on anything and everything in their reach. As they get bored often, they love to pass their time shredding that comes across their path. If there is any paper lying in their cage, we can be sure that they will shred it into pieces. But is eating paper bad for our Hamsters? Can they get sick? Let’s find out!

It is safe for our Hamsters to shred paper and cardboard, but it can be troublesome for them if they end up ingesting it. Ingestion of paper can lead to intestinal blockage, constipation, and other health issues in them. Thus, make sure you keep an eye out for the same.

It is absolutly ok to provide your Hamster with paper based bedding. Paper-based bedding is recommended by most Hamster owners.

Hamster Essentials
Hamster Essentials

Hamsters love to play with paper rolls. They love to crumble paper and pass their time.

Stick to the article to understand why your Hamster should not be eating paper. We will also learn about other paper-based products that are safe/unsafe for our Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Why Does My Hamster Keep Eating Paper?

In most cases, papers are more of an entertainment to our Hamsters. They prefer to play with them rather than eating them.

However, once they are done playing they will surely munch on it. Make sure you provide your Hamster with adequate food and water because they are not hungry. Huger will often strike Hamsters to eat papers.

Hamsters also find alternatives to their regular diet (alternatives like paper), if their diet lacks an appropriate amount of fiber.

Paper will not meet your little one’s nutritional needs, therefore provide them with food that is rich in fiber.

Boredom can be another reason, due to which your Hamsters might be eating bits and pieces of paper. Your Hamster will become restless if they do not have enough sources of entertainment in their enclosure.

You might have noticed if your Hamsters are allowed to run freely in the house, they will chew on other things as well.

Hamsters will play with whatever they find when they are in their enclosure. Some Hamster owners even place crumbled papers in their enclosure to let their little ones play and munch on it.

Will Eating Papers Make Hamster Sick?

The answer depends on how much paper your Hamster consumes. A small amount will not affect your Hamsters health.

However, papers do not contribute to Hamsters nutritional diet. Paper is not edible as well. Therefore, if overfed can lead to several health complications.

Eating paper can also lead to the blocking of Hamsters’ intestines. Paper’s material can not be broken down into pieces in the digestive passage.
Hamsters usually tear the paper into small pieces before eating. If not consumed in small quantities, it can lead to constipation in Hamsters.

Some signs of constipation in Hamsters are:

  • Hamsters refusing to eat food
  • Weight loss in Hamsters
  • Lethargy
  • Hunched posture in Hamsters

If your hamster exhibits any of these traits or you believe your hamster is sick, call a veterinarian as soon as possible.

How To Stop Hamsters From Eating Newspapers?

The best possible way to stop your Hamster from eating newspapers is to keep it out of their reach.

However, the majority of Hamster owners use paper as their little one’s bedding or nesting material. Listed below are some substitutes of paper:

  • Aspen Shavings
  • Timothy Hay
  • Pine Shavings

The probability of your Hamster eating newspaper will decrease when the essential health requirements of your Hamsters are fulfilled.

This means you must ensure that you are serving your Hamster with plenty of nutritious food to eat, which would provide them with adequate fiber.
used on the paper.

I found these amazing Hamster chew toys on Amazon, my Hamster loves it. Check it out!

Can Hamsters Eat Paper with Ink?

Some varieties of ink are toxic to small animals. Though most of the modern inks are safe, it is best to be careful about it.

The most dangerous ink is found on pamphlets. All the pamphlets are mass-produced, therefore the manufacturers use relatively cheaper quality ink. This ink can be toxic to Hamsters

Another thing you must consider is that the ink can stain your little one’s fur. If you have a white-furred Hamster, you may have a tough time cleaning them.

Also, don’t be surprised if your Hamster’s feet have traces of ink. This will happen especially when your Hamster’s fur and feet are stained by urine.
In older times, petroleum was used as a base for ink, now most companies use soy and water.

It is advised to test such a newspaper before giving it to your Hamster.
You can check by rubbing your hands on the paper if the ink stains your hand or gets blurred, then it may be a petroleum-based newspaper. These newspapers should not be given to Hamsters.

Petroleum-based inks do not dry up completely. It has the same kind of oil that the mechanism of a car requires. Therefore, it is best to avoid these kinds of inks to your Hamster.

Can Hamsters Eat Paper Towels?

However, there is no such danger when your Hamster eats paper towels, it is best to avoid it.

Tight and absorbing paper towels are hard for Hamsters to digest.

Just like toilet rolls, paper towels are covered by cardboard. These cardboards can be adapted by Hamsters. But before giving it to your Hamster, make sure the carton contains no pieces of paper towels.

You can also give your Hamster napkins to play. You will see them tearing it or using it to make their bedding. But if your little one tries to eat it, it can be dangerous. So, it is better not to offer towels to your Hamster.

Napkins are solid and tough to gulp. You will see your Hamster enjoy chewing them for a long time, but the issue arises when they try to gulp it.

Also, mostly all manufacturers use various dyes to create different designs in the napkin, this can damage the health of your Hamsters.

If you are unsure about the dyes used in the napkin, it is best to not offer it to your Hamster.

Can I Give My Hamster A Toilet Paper Roll??

Toilet paper is the least harmful for your Hamster compared to all other forms of paper. However, that doesn’t mean that you can serve it to your Hamster daily.

Instead, you must provide your Hamster with adequate nutritional food so that he does not show much interest in paper.

If you find your Hamster nibbling at a corner of a toilet paper, you must not worry. These materials are easy to digest for your Hamster as these will ball up into much smaller pieces than any traditional paper.

Also, once you have finished with a toilet roll, do not throw the tube away. The tube makes an excellent toy for your Hamsters.

Your Hamsters can enjoy the tube by chewing it or playing with it. You can even stuff some treats in the tube to engage your Hamster.

Can Hamsters Eat Paper Bags?

Paper Bags are not easy to digest for Hamsters. It can lead to digestive complications in them.

However, paper bags can be used as a source of entertainment for Hamsters.

When you place the paper bag in your Hamster’s enclosure, you will see them using as a hideout, chewing materials, or just crushing it around.

You can even fill the paper bag with dry food for your Hamsters and then place it in their enclosure. This way, you can ensure both fun and good health of your Hamsters.

If your Hamsters show more interest or demand to chew paper bags, it is best to stop providing them with one.

Is It OK For A Hamster To Eat Cardboard?

Cardboards are thicker and firmer than any other traditional paper, therefore it is harder to digest. Thus, cardboards are dangerous for your Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Mouse, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

This means your Hamster is less likely to eat excessive amounts of card. Therefore, they will spend the majority of their energy chewing or playing with it. You will see they will easily get tired trying to eat the cardboard.

You can definitely allow your Hamster to play with cardboards. Then, just observe your pet, you will see them chew it, push it, and try to eat it, but they will get tired after doing so.

Also, if your Hamster chews the cardboard, it is not a bad thing. Hamster teeth are different from human teeth. Their teeth grow throughout their lifetime. Chew toys help to keep their teeth healthy and well-shaped.

Paper-Based Bedding For My Hamster

Each type of bedding has it’s own pros and cons. However, I personally feel that paper based bedding are the best for our Hamsters. Besides being safe, paper based beddings are eco friendly and easy to clean up.

Also, in comparison to other bedding materials, paper based bedding is really soft, absorbent and odor-free.

However, you must be very careful while choosing the perfect brand of bedding. Not all brands out there in the market is suitable for our Hamsters.

After trying several brands and all different types of paper-based bedding, these are some of my favorites:

  • Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding: Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding is my personal favorite. It is the most recommended bedding by Hamster owners. Besides being soft and a great absorbent, this bedding also encourages burrowing behavior in Hamsters.
  • Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding: Another best option is the Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding. It is soft, dust-free, and totally safe for our Hamsters. It is made up of natural unbleached paper which is entirely safe for our little ones.
  • Fresh News Paper Small Animal Bedding: You can always go for Fresh News Paper Small Animal Bedding. It offers beddings that are1 00% natural, bio-degradable, and safe for our Hamsters. It helps to keep the cage odor-free

Can I Use Shredded Paper For My Hamster’s Bedding?

Shredded Paper is much safer for your Hamster than any kind of whole paper. Even if your Hamster swallows a piece of paper, it is less likely to cause any intestinal stoppage.

Shredded paper also reduces the exposure to ink. When the paper gets crumpled, the ink is also evenly distributed in small amounts.

Even after this, you should not use shredded paper alone as a bedding for your Hamster. You should top it either with timothy hay or wood shavings.

You can also try providing your Hamster with the whole paper so that they can enjoy tearing it on their own.

This can be another source of entertainment for your Hamster. You will also see them crumble the paper and then use it to make their bedding.


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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