A Word of Caution on Bendy Bridges
Using bendy bridges as bedding barriers is a pretty common trend used within the hamster community. However, before you use a bendy bridge as a barrier, I cannot stress the importance of securing the gaps before placing them in your pets enclosure.
Rescue female Winter White hybrid, Nanook, standing on a bendy bridge secured with moss. It is important that any bendy bridge used a barrier is thoroughly examined for any possibility for limb entrapment & secured as necessary.
Bendy bridges, as the name suggests, are intended to be used as bridges and not barriers. When used on their side as a barrier, they create what is essentially a guillotine for tiny paws & limbs and there have been several instances where hamsters have got legs caught, resulting in severe injury (broken and even amputated limbs) and even death. What happens is that when your hamster climbs over them, they can push their paws down these gaps & due to how narrow the gaps often are, their paws can become pinched and trapped.
Red arrows point out gaps in a unsecured bendy bridge. When used as intended (that is, as a bridge) these gaps pose no concern. It is only when used as a barrier that these gaps pose a major risk for limb entrapment, and these gaps must be sealed before using as a barrier.
I understand they are more aesthetically pleasing than a piece of cardboard or even plain wood, but they are a potential death trap in your hamsters enclosure. If you wish to use bendy bridges as barriers, you MUST secure the gaps with silicone/glue, moss, or even glue rocks onto the edge of them so your hamsters paws can’t slip through the gap. - however, you must overlay the rocks or they will also create pinching gaps that can entrap tiny paws.
Filling in the gaps with moss and a pet safe glue is a very easy, quick alternative. Another option to the above example would be to just cut a strip of moss, and glue it along the top as I demonstrate over here. Securing bendy bridges via this method takes no longer than 5 minutes, and ensures the safety of your pet.
Bridges made with lollipop sticks, or even wooden dowels, can also pose the same risk and it is not unheard of for hamsters to get limbs trapped/pinched, and broken, in homemade fences made of these materials. I stress extreme caution when making homemade barriers, as even if they look flush together, they are often easily pushed apart when your hamster pushes their foot down on them, which can be all it takes to create just enough of a tiny gap to pinch a limb.
The safety (or lack thereof) of using bendy bridges as barriers without securing/filling in the gaps has been an issue the hamster community has been aware of for several years now (through very unfortunate cases, that you do not want your hamster to be an example of) but I see them used without being secured all too frequently, and I feel as though it is an issue that is not warned about enough. SAFETY of your pet always come above how pretty their set up looks. It does not matter if you have used them for years without issue -it just means you’ve been lucky. Always research a product thoroughly and examine it for potential causes for concern before using it. Even the tiniest gaps have been known to cause issue, and when it’s avoided by simply using something to seal the gap, or by using an alternative option, the risk just isn’t worth taking.