A hamster cage with hamster, wheel, and bedding is shown in this file photo.

Hamster Bedding for Rabbits? (6 Types Examined)

Hamster bedding for a rabbit? Any honest rabbit owner admits to having issues with their furry friend’s sleep cycle. It can be because of the nature of rabbits, but also the bedding they’re sleeping on plays a role. Hamsters are small, nocturnal animals just like rabbits, and they thrive in similar living conditions. Is this true for their sleeping environment, too? Can hamster bedding be used as bedding for rabbits?

The composition of hamster bedding is materials such as wood, paper, or grain. It is possible to utilize it as bedding for rabbits, provided that the rabbits have no health issues. Although the two pets are not from the same species, they share a remarkable resemblance. 

Both hamsters and rabbits like sleeping during the day and staying up at night. It has to be taken into account when choosing their cages, especially the material they’re going to spend lots of time on. There are ways you can tell that your rabbit is happy in its little home. Some are obvious, while others are more subtle.

Have I Chosen the Right Bedding For My Rabbit?

First things first, start by giving your bunny a lot of space within your home. The area where you place its cage should be clear of any electronics, heavy equipment, or small toys it can ingest. Rabbits need a lot of playtime, so make sure they can roam free when you let them out. 

The rabbit’s natural habitat is a warren, a vast underground area with lots of intertwined tunnels. It can hold dozens of rabbits at a time, with the option of always making more space for their offspring. Try to imitate this environment by having a large cage or crate for your rabbit to live in. It should be high enough, so the rabbit (his ears included) has no problem navigating it. 

Think about the natural materials present in the warren: it’s mostly built on dirt, surrounded by wood and sand in some cases. Use this general rule to construct the perfect surroundings for your rabbit. You should avoid synthetics, plastic, or any artificial substance. Also, less is more, in this case, so don’t overwhelm your pet with too many bedding options. Stick to one that works.

You’ll notice your rabbit’s not enjoying its bedding when you detect any changes to its health. Tiny particles of unfitting bedding material are easily inhaled, causing your rabbit to cough and sneeze. Make sure to put more bedding when the weather is colder and less during the warmer months. 

If you have the opportunity, place your rabbit’s hutch outdoors. Please choose an area in the shades, which covers the wind, heat, and cold. Make sure it’s safe from any predators such as foxes by avoiding catches made out of wood. The ideal bedding for an outdoor hutch is hay, which has to be changed regularly.

Good bedding starts with a good foundation. Pick a cage that your rabbit will love – and not chew through. Go for mesh wire or a thick wooden cage. The pen has to provide shelter and should be easily accessible so you can adequately clean it. It’s just like a cage for hamsters, only more significant. Follow this same principle when selecting the right amount of hamster bedding for your rabbit. More does the trick since hamsters are way smaller than rabbits.

How do Rabbits React to Hamster Bedding?

Hamster bedding may not be the best suited for a rabbit. Here, a rabbit sits in its bedding and pellets.
A rabbit sits in its bedding and pellets. This rabbit has made a mess of some cardboard. Rabbits love to chew, so whatever you put in their cage will get in their mouth. That includes bedding.

Though rabbits and hamsters share many similarities, there are some key differences to take into account. Rabbits are much larger and more active than hamsters, plus they live a lot longer. It means they require more attention and aren’t afraid to show it. 

Rabbits are very sociable animals, and they are happiest when they live with other rabbits. Having a companion for your long-eared friend is worth looking into, especially if you don’t spend a lot of time at home. If your rabbit thinks it’s not getting enough precious time spent hanging out, it can get aggressive. 

Change in your rabbit’s behavior is the best way of figuring out something’s not the way it’s supposed to be. If you’ve recently changed its bedding from more typical rabbit hay to hamster bedding, try changing it back. Observe your rabbit and the way it responds to your touch. Bitemarks on your fingers are a sure-tell sign that something’s not right. 

More often than not, rabbits have no problems at all accommodating hamster bedding. After all, there’s not that much of a distinction in terms of material used. It’s more in the way it’s processed; typical hamster bedding tends to be tinier than bedding intended for rabbits. Size is a major component here, so take note of it the next time you’re about to buy new bedding for your rabbit.

It’s also important to note that rabbits chew on everything. So, should they be chewing on wood? The truth is that aspen is safe but not much else is. Avoid cedar, pine, or any unidentified wood types. If the hamster bedding is wood and doesn’t say what type, then avoid it.

Best Hamster Bedding Materials

So you’ve decided to lay your rabbit’s hutch with hamster bedding, but are not sure what options are out there? First of all, designate a sleeping area for your rabbit. It’s best to divide the cage into various little sections that serve more purposes. The living and feeding areas don’t need bedding material. It’s OK only to place some wire on the bottom of the cage.

If you want your rabbit to have a cozy home, do it a favor and place a bit of bedding all over the cage floor. The best materials you can use are: 

  1. Wood – wooden hamster bedding usually comes in the form of wood shavings or wood pellets. A study has shown that hamsters prefer pine shavings over aspen shavingsProbably because of the soft effect on the paws. Wood shavings were preferred over pellets, too. Rabbits tend to enjoy wooden bedding, especially pellets. Note that pellets are a part of their diet, so you might find less of them than you initially place in the pen. 
  2. Paper – easy to come by and easy to get rid of, papers are an ideal hamster bedding material. Go for shredded paper (which you can DIY) or paper pellets. The second option is biodegradable when made from recycled newspapers. And it gets rid of some of the smells. What more can you ask for?
  3. Grass – hay is mainly used as the grass for hamster bedding. But it’s not that good for these tiny animals, yet it’s ideal for rabbits. It makes them feel more connected to the wildlife from where they originate. Also, the grass is essential for their nutrition.
  4. Grains – corn cob is at the top of the list for hamster bedding materials. It’s proven to be the preferred choice of hamsters when given the option of choosing between it and wood pellets. It could also work fine for rabbits. It’s a less common choice due to the size of the corn cob.

Hamster bedding can be very effective as bedding for rabbits if appropriately used. There are things to think about before purchasing. Some materials, such as paper shavings or even wood shavings, might lay around your house. Please take advantage of them and re-use them as bedding for your rabbit. 

Take note of a few critical components of each hamster bedding material. Wood pellets seem to work best for both hamsters and rabbits due to being absorbent and hard to scatter. They provide slightly more odor control than wood shavings, which is always a good thing. 

Paper pellets do a great job, too. They’re non-toxic and have no health precautions attached to them. Shredded paper, as well as wood shavings, can get stuck in your rabbit’s hair or its digestive or respiratory systems. 

Go for hay or grains if you want the most natural option. Beware, they’re the easiest to scatter around. Rabbits love to chew on both of these, which can sometimes mess with their diet. Grains aren’t as easy to clean, and you’d have to throw both hay and corn cob out every day as it gets messed up. 

In addition to your rabbit’s comfort and happiness, choose the bedding that will suit your own. If your living area’s not that big, have a limited amount of quality hamster bedding. On the other hand, if you’ve got a lot of space, store some extra bedding like hay or stock up on it during the summer months. Make the most out of what you have.

Check out this table for a complete hamster bedding materials overview:

MaterialsWoodPaperGrassGrains
Benefits
Formpelletsshavingspelletsshreddedhaycorn cob
Absorbencymediumgoodmediummediumgoodmedium
Eatableyesnononoyesyes
Easy to cleanyesyesyesyesyesno
Scatteringnonelittlenonelittlehighmedium-high
Odor controlmediumlittlemediumlittlelittlemedium
Health precautionsnonemediumnonemediumlowlow
Remember only aspen is a safe wood to use.

Hamster bedding = Rabbit Bedding? Possibly, but not always.

Bedding used for hamsters is primarily composed of wood or paper. The texture should be soft on the paws, absorbent, and prevent some odor if possible. Small animals such as hamsters and rabbits are very much alike, also in terms of bedding, they enjoy spending time on.

If you decide to choose hamster bedding for your rabbit, test it out first. Notice how your bunny reacts to it and adjust accordingly. It should work out well for both of you. Who says hamster bedding is reserved for hamsters only? However, ensure that if it is wood-based, it is aspen, otherwise, it may be harmful to your rabbit.

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