If you were a hamster, asleep all day and the only one in the house awake at night, wouldn’t you love to occupy your busy nights with toys and activities? As bored as you are with watching them sleep during the daytime (except to get treats and a little attention), they’re just as bored with watching you sleep at night while confined to their small cages.
Since hamsters can’t run around the house at night (without getting lost, at least), hamster toys can help alleviate your pet’s boredom. There are several types of toys you should have to maintain your hamster’s mental and physical health, and other types that are just fun to have and will improve your hamster’s quality of life.
1. Wheels for Exercise
Though some hamsters don’t like exercising and only run on a wheel occasionally, others run on their wheel for up to 5 miles. Since they have relatively small cages, they can’t run very much unless they have a wheel, and they need to exercise every day to stay in shape and happy. It’s best to get a solid wheel that does not have rungs, because tiny paws can get trapped in the rungs (especially for dwarf hamsters), causing injuries.
Your hamster’s wheel should not be metal, as these wire wheels can be dangerous, but should be made of plastic or a special material. Wooden Wheels are one of the most popular types, and should be big enough for any hamster, and other wheels like the S.A.M Workout Wheel are compatible with certain types of cages. If you have a modular or specially designed cage, one of these may be necessary.
2. Balls for Exploration
Though these hamster toys can’t be used by a hamster without your supervision, they are a great way to keep your hamster occupied and out of trouble while you are cleaning his cage. Run-About exercise balls allow your hamster to run around the house without getting lost or hurt, and Cruiser cars are similar but shaped like race cars, and better for smaller hamsters only.
These hamster toys can cause your hamster to overheat if you leave him in it for more than a couple of hours, so it definitely isn’t safe or recommended to confine them to one of these overnight. In addition, it should never be used in an area with stairs – only on the ground floor, or if there is a gate in front of the stairs, as a hamster can run very fast and be rolling down the stairs before you can catch them.
3. Wood for Chewing
To keep his teeth short and healthy, your hamster needs wood or cardboard toys. Evergreen woods are often laden with pesticide, but most wooden toys from pet stores, or pesticide-free wood from your own yard are generally safe. You can also get plain, ink-free cardboard pieces for them to hide under, chew through, and so on.
The easiest way to give them chewing material is to provide cardboard toilet paper and paper towel tubes, though a good solid block or item made of wood and from a pet store is always a great idea, too.
There are many other plastic hamster toys, but all of these are essentials that you should have in your house if you have a pet hamster. Help your hamster lead a happy, productive life both day and night!