People often don’t hold rodents in the best light, but hamsters are among the best pets a person can have, and people all over the world love to keep these furry balls of joy.
If you have a hamster, you need to make sure you’re looking after it. This doesn’t just mean keeping it fed – you also need to make sure it’s happy.
Hamsters, like most pets, love to have fun. You should spend time playing with them, but you can’t give them all of your time. Providing your hamster with toys offers them a way to have fun while you’re not around – but many people don’t know the first thing about hamster toys.
In this guide, we’ll go over the importance of hamster toys and tell you about some of the best ones on the market. Keep reading to find out more.
Do Hamsters Need Toys?
A lot of people ask this question, but the simple answer is yes. Hamsters are more intelligent than a lot of people realize, and they need plenty of interaction and entertainment. A hamster with proper enrichment will not only be happier, but it will be easier to train.
People never question getting toys for dogs, so why should things be different for hamsters? They also spend a lot of time in their cages, so giving them toys to play with while they’re in there will ensure they always have something to keep them entertained.
How Many Toys Should Your Hamster Have?
When you walk into a pet store, you might get a bit overexcited. Sure, the toys aren’t for you, but it’s still easy to get carried away when you see a bunch of different choices.
Make sure you consider the size of your hamster cage. If you overstuff it with toys, your hamster may not have enough space to move around.
Realistically, you can get your hamster as many toys as you want – but if their cage is too full, take some out and store them elsewhere. You can swap them around from time to time so they always have something new and exciting.
With that in mind, there are some toys you can get that don’t go inside hamster cages. A hamster ball, for example, is a classic choice that gives your little buddy the chance to get out and explore.
Do Hamsters Get Bored of Toys?
If your hamster has too many toys, they may become overstimulated. They’ll likely just focus on one or two, and ignore the others.
Try to limit how many toys you have in your hamster’s cage at one time. If you notice they’re only using certain toys, you can remove the ones they’re ignoring. Every now and then, change things around, and they’ll be able to get the most out of each toy.
The Best Toys to Keep Your Hamster Entertained
One of the most important things to think about before getting toys is the species of your hamster. The most common type, for example, are Syrian hamsters, and they’re fairly large. As such, larger toys will be ideal for them.
Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, are a lot smaller. They won’t be able to use all the same toys as Syrian hamsters, so you’ll want to get smaller toys if you have one of these.
This is a staple toy for any hamster. They’re popular for hamsters, mice, and all other similar pets.
As one of the most popular types of hamster toys, you can find these in all different sizes. No matter what species of hamster you have, you’ll be able to find the perfect wheel for them. You want to get one that’s a suitable size so your hamster can use it with ease and it won’t put too much tension on their spine.
One of the main benefits of these is that on top of giving your hamster entertainment, they’ll also give it a lot of exercise. Hamster lifespan can vary, but like all other pets, one that gets plenty of exercise will be far healthier.
Running discs are a good alternative to hamster wheels. They serve the same overall purpose, so you don’t need both – it’s just a matter of deciding which to go for. Many people these days are opting for running discs rather than wheels for their hamsters.
One of the key benefits of running discs is that they can potentially be safer. The surface of a running disc is flat rather than curved. As such, these don’t put any strain on the spine, reducing the risk of your hamster getting injured.
They also don’t contain rungs as many wheels do. This tends to make them the safer option.
You can find these in a range of materials. Metal is one of the more durable options, but these can be a bit noisy. If your hamster likes running on it at night, you might start to regret your purchase.
Plastic is the most common material for these toys, and it’s easy to clean and fairly quiet. The main downside is that it’s not a very eco-friendly option. There are some wooden options available, so this could be the best choice if you want something that won’t end up sitting in a landfill site decomposing over hundreds of years.
These are another very popular choice. Much like a wheel, these can give your hamster plenty of entertainment, as well as plenty of exercise.
They go beyond that, however, as they’re not restricted to cages. You can place your hamster in a ball, and it can then explore freely. While this can be great for it, there are certain precautions you need to take.
Firstly, hamsters don’t have great eyesight. As such, rolling around in a hamster ball can cause them a bit of stress. They may also crash into objects around your home, and this has a chance of causing injuries.
You need to think about where you let your hamster roam when it’s in its ball. It’s good to give them some freedom, but make sure you keep an eye on them. Ensure they can’t get near any stars, and look out for anything that they could knock over.
As with wheels, these come in various sizes. Make sure you get one that’s a suitable size for your hamster so that they can use it properly.
Everyone knows that dogs love chew toys, but many don’t realize how much hamsters love them too. It’s natural for them to chew on things, so buying them a toy that’s specifically made for this is a good idea.
Look for a chew toy made of non-toxic materials. This will ensure your hamster doesn’t consume anything harmful.
Wood can be a great choice here, but you want to make sure the wood is chemical and pesticide-free, so nothing that’s painted or treated. Some woods, such as those from cedar or evergreen trees, contain aromatic oils that can cause respiratory issues.
Oak, maple, and untreated, kiln-dried pine are ideal, as well as some fruit trees such as pear, kiwi, grape, or apple. Some that should be avoided include:
You may find rubber or foam chew toys, but it’s best to avoid these too. Small pieces of material can come off and your hamster might ingest them which may cause you hamster harm.
There are plenty of different hamster playhouses on the market. Ideally, you want to have a cage for your hamster that’s big enough for one of these.
They’re great for playing and can include a range of features such as:
- A slide
- A ladder
Playhouses offer some shelter, so you may even find that it becomes your hamster’s preferred place to sleep.
If you have more than one hamster, you’ll probably have a bigger cage. If this is the case, you could also opt for a bigger playhouse. Doing so will help ensure there’s space for both of your hamsters to play and sleep.
When it comes to variety, climbing toys lead the race. Hamsters love climbing. Without any toys, your hamster will constantly be climbing its cage, so it only makes sense to get toys that are purpose-built for it.
Organic ropes are great choices. Ladders are another good option – ones with narrow gaps between the rungs will be easier for your hamster to climb without falling.
You want something that’s easy to climb as a hamster’s poor eyesight can already make things a bit tricky. A tunnel or flexible bridge can also work very well.
With any of these toys, you want to go for materials that won’t harm your hamster. Ropes made from hemp, cotton, or sisal are ideal. In terms of ladders, chemical-free wood, plastic, and fabric work well.
Like many other animals, hamsters lick their bodies to keep themselves clean. Another thing they do in the wild to clean themselves is use small particles. You can get your hamster a sand bath so that they can mimic this behavior.
They also like digging in the wild, so this is something else you can replicate in their cage. For this, sterilized potting soil generally works best.
You want to make sure any soil you use is fertilizer-free. You’ll find this in many pet stores. Avoid the soil that’s sold in garden stores as it typically contains fertilizer.
While this isn’t strictly a toy, it can give a hamster the same kind of enjoyment. Hamsters like a bit of privacy when they sleep. This is why they may do this in a playhouse.
That can work, but they’ll probably be happier with a more suitable place to sleep. You can find house beds in a range of styles.
These will give your hamster somewhere to retreat to where they can find some peace and rest. Like with other toys, you want to look for suitable materials.
DIY Hamster Toys
You can look in local pet stores and you should find plenty of toys for your hamster. Shopping online will give you even more choices. With that being said, you also have the option to make toys for your hamster yourself.
A popular example is a popsicle stick fort. This will offer a similar experience to a playhouse, but you can build it however you want. If you decide to do this, ensure you use non-toxic glue so that it’s safe.
For something a bit simpler, cardboard tubes are perfect. You can cut them as needed to craft an enjoyable play area, giving your hamster a more enriching environment. Not only is this easy, but it’s very cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
If you feel like getting a bit more creative (and you have the space) you could even build them an obstacle course. This is a great way to offer them mental stimulation and get them some exercise.
When making DIY toys, you’re only limited by your own creativity. You could even come up with a completely new idea of your own. Just ensure that you’re always using materials that are safe for your furry friend – if you’re not sure, research suitable materials online.
Keeping Hamster Toys Clean
You need to keep toys clean so that your hamster doesn’t face any health risks. This is easy with plastic toys, as you can just use disinfecting wipes or soapy water. Avoid using disinfectant or scented cleaners, and dry toys off completely before putting them back in your hamster cage.
For other materials like wood, cotton, or rope, cleaning can be a bit more complicated. Make sure you research specific materials to determine the best ways to clean any toys you get for your hamster.
Keeping Your Furry Friend Happy
Hamster toys are simple and inexpensive, yet they can provide your hamster with hours of fun. They’re important if you want to ensure they’re happy and mentally stimulated.
Pet Marvelous offers all kinds of tips for looking after pets. Take a look at this guide to get some ideas on how to set up the perfect hamster enclosure.