Hamster Nesting Materials

In order to stay snug and comfy while they sleep hamsters like to stuff their beds with all sorts of things. Today we’re going to be chatting about some things you can offer for your hamster’s bed.

Nesting material should be:

  • Cozy
  • Pet-safe
  • Absorbent

Cozy so they’re comfortable, safe for their well-being, and absorbent since many hamsters urinate in their nests. We’re going to be going through these criteria and the pros and cons of the most popular nesting materials for hamsters. Keep in mind nesting material and substrate are two very different things, and the following items are not suitable as substrates.

Shredded Tissue

Shredded tissue or toilet paper is a common nesting material, and a very good one in all areas. It is very warm and cozy, making it perfect for colder climates or seasons. Tissue is perfectly pet-safe, and if your hamster consumes it you don’t have to worry about them getting plugged up, since it pretty much dissolves in the stomach and digests without issues. Tissue is made to absorb, and works wonders in the absorbing department. It has the added bonus of being rather cheap. Overall an exceptional nesting material.


Pet stores sell cotton or cottony-like materials for small pets, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for your pets. It may be warm, but it causes more harm than good. Often hamster’s limbs or teeth get tangled in the fine fibers, resulting in necessary amputation surgery or death. Cotton isn’t absorbent, either. Primarily for safety reasons I do not recommend it for any pet.


Hay is quite beneficial, as it provides extra fiber which is great for digestion, should your hamster choose to nibble on it (most hamsters don’t love eating hay). It’s a great choice for your hamster. Timothy hay and orchard grass are the best options, and can be found in most pet stores or online. When selecting hay, make sure the hay is soft and green, and that there isn’t a huge mess of crumbled bits and dust in the bottom of the bag.

Hay isn’t the most absorbent, but so long as your substrate is, it isn’t a huge problem. It’s also not as warm as shredded tissue, but it can help keep your hamster cool in the summer. I definitely want to try hay with Beanie next spring/summer, it sounds like a great nesting material to use. If any of you use it please comment down below and tell me about it!


Nesting materials don’t have to be super fancy, and so long as it’s cozy, safe, and absorbent you should be good. I would recommend researching a new material before giving it to your hamster. If you have tried any other nesting materials please comment and share your ideas and experience!

If you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!

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