Why Does My Hamster Put Bedding in Food Bowl? Let’s Discover

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:33 pm

Hamsters are beautiful little pets that fill our day and make us happier and more joyful.

Keeping hamsters requires care and attention to their needs, although they sometimes do some interesting and unexpected things such as filling the food bowl with bedding.

Why does my hamster put bedding in the food bowl?

Hamsters put bedding in the food bowl for food storage, to protect themselves from predators, and other reasons that are normal behavior for our pets. Sometimes hamsters out of boredom or stress may cover the food bowl with bedding.

In today’s article, you will learn why hamsters put bedding in the food bowl and similar questions and answers related to this topic.

Why does my hamster put bedding in the food bowl?

Hamsters put bedding in their food bowl for many reasons such as to store food, for boredom, to hide food from predators, and other reasons.

So let’s see in detail all the reasons why hamsters cover their food bowl with bedding.

Hamsters store food by covering the bowl with bedding

Hamsters cover the food bowl to store food. It is completely normal behavior for hamsters, their natural instinct that they have preserved from the wild.

Hamsters living in the wild collect food all the time, carry it in their cheek pouches, put it in their shelters, and cover it with bedding.

Although hamsters that live in domestic conditions, in a cage, do not need to do this because no one will take their food from the bowl.

This behavior of hamsters is completely normal and there is no need to change their natural habit, they know exactly where the food is even though they cover it with bedding.

With their sense of smell, they will immediately find the food even though they have previously covered it completely with bedding so that it cannot be seen.

You can only remove the bedding from the food bowl if you need to change the food, add a new food or if you need to wash the food bowl.

Hamsters operate on their natural instincts to store and keep food regardless of whether there is a little or a lot of food in their bowl.

Hamsters put bedding in the food bowl to bury it

Hamsters use digging as their main preoccupation when in the wild.

They are constantly digging and making tunnels that help them survive.

Hamsters dig tunnels to protect themselves from:

  • extreme weather conditions
  • protection from predators
  • looking after their babies
  • keeping and storing food

Hamsters can dig around the food bowl making a hole to keep and store the food and have it for later although there is no real need to do this in a cage.

Also, hamsters will sometimes first make a hole around the food bowl and then pick up the food and place it in their cheeks to move it into the tunnel.

Although this may seem a little strange, it should not worry you because this way of transferring food from the bowl to the hole in front of the bowl is completely normal, they just want the food to be in a safe place.

Hamsters think that burying food is the best way to preserve it and store it in a safe place so they don’t stay hungry.

They may accidentally and unintentionally drop bedding into the bowl when digging near it.

Therefore, if you notice these actions of the hamster, it is best to put more bedding around the food bowl, because they will obviously need it to be able to dig and move the bedding along with the food.why does my hamster put bedding in food bowl

Hamsters put bedding on top of their food bowl out of boredom

Although hamsters have small bodies, they have a lot of energy that they need to use up during the day.

That’s why they run and explore all the time in the environment where they are both in the cage and in nature.

Hamsters may put bedding on top of their food bowl to burn off their energy so they don’t get bored.

When they are in nature all day they have various activities, such as carrying and burying food, but when they are in the cage they do not have as many opportunities for activities.

That’s why they find a hobby to do, more precisely, they put the bedding on top of the food bowl.

When the hamsters are in the cage, they spend most of their time in the exercise wheel, which helps them to run a few miles every evening, but sometimes they get tired of that too.

So if you see your hamster using the bedding to cover the food bowl, it could be a sign that you need to allow him to have more activities.

Put more toys, tunnels, tubes, and other objects in the cage so that there can be enough activity.

You can also let him out of the cage a little to run around in your room so he doesn’t get bored and doesn’t have to cover the food bowl when he’s bored.

When a hamster is stressed it may cover the bowl with bedding

When hamsters are stressed they may use the bedding to cover the food bowl.

Stress is often related to boredom, that is, when hamsters have nothing to do, they can get annoyed.

Stress is generally not good for hamster health as it leads to hamsters getting sick and shortening their lifespan.

When hamsters are stressed:

  • they bite the bars of the cage
  • become aggressive
  • trying to escape from the cage
  • they show their teeth
  • become hyperactive

In order not to have stress, hamsters should have enough activities and opportunities to play with various toys inside the cage, which will help them get rid of stress.

In any case, covering the food bowl with bedding can be triggered by stress in your furry pet.

The environment where the hamster lives cause the food bowl to be covered with bedding

Hamsters are aware of their surroundings where they live and if they notice any signs that may compromise their safety they will react immediately.

Such a reaction may be to cover the food bowl because of the danger that someone will come and take it from them, although the chances of that happening are almost impossible.

If hamsters notice other pets in your home they will immediately start covering the bowl with bedding as protection from predators.

Food for hamsters is the most important thing in their life and they will try to protect it at any cost.

If the hamster hears a noise, loud music, or conversations of unknown persons in your home, it is a sign that he is in danger and he will immediately start covering the food bowl with bedding.

Covering the bowl with bedding is a natural instinct of hamsters that they cannot forget and will always do this activity, it is completely normal for them.why does my hamster put bedding in food bowl

Because of the smell of the food, they cover the bowl with bedding

When hamsters are in nature, they know very well that the smell of food can reveal their position and allow their predators to find them more easily.

When hamsters perceive any danger, especially from other pets, they cover their food with bedding so that they cannot be found by predators.

Realistically speaking, something like this in a cage is almost impossible to happen, but hamsters don’t know that and they will continue to cover the food bowl with bedding in the future.

Read more: Why Hamsters Hide Food Under Their Bedding? Let’s Discover

What time of day do hamsters cover the food bowl with bedding?

It depends, because it cannot be known exactly, it depends for several reasons.

If the hamster senses any danger, whether it is day or night, it will cover the food bowl with bedding if there is a danger of predators.

It also depends on the amount of food in the bowl, if there is more, it will most likely cover with bedding, although this can be individual for each hamster differently.

Read more: Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Bedding? Let’s Discover

Can hamsters eat both bedding and food from the bowl?

Hamsters know very well what is food and what is bedding and they will not mix it up, be sure of that.

If the hamsters do not have a good and varied diet, they may try to eat a little of the bedding together with the food in the bowl.

But this only happens if they lack certain nutrients in their regular diet, mostly due to a lack of fiber in the food.

Of course, bedding is not the same as food, and hamsters must not eat a lot, a little is fine, but nothing more than that.

That’s why it’s important what bedding you use for hamsters, for example, it’s best to make it from aspen, while pine and cedar bedding is harmful to their health because it has natural phenols that are harmful when inhaled by hamsters and can cause respiratory problems.

Frequently asked questions

Why does my hamster keep covering the food?

When hamsters cover their food all the time it should not worry you because they want to make sure they have enough food all the time. Covering the food is just a way to make their food as safe as possible because hamsters like to have a supply of food.

Is it normal for hamsters to bury their food?

Yes, covering food is a completely normal behavior of hamsters and you should not worry about this behavior. Life in the wild has taught hamsters how to store food, including covering it.


When hamsters cover the food bowl with bedding, it is completely normal because they are protecting both the food and themselves.

Hamsters cover the bowl with bedding if they are bored if they are in danger of predators or if they are stressed.

Hamsters cover the bowl because they think someone will steal their food and they will stay hungry, which certainly won’t happen with caged hamsters.

Sometimes they cover the bowl with bedding quite by accident and unintentionally when digging a place to store food somewhere near the food bowl.

Finally, hamsters will always have this habit of covering the food bowl with bedding because that’s how mother nature taught them.