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What Do Hamsters Like to Play With? 10 Toy Ideas Hamsters Love

Kathryn Copeland

Hamsters are pretty adorable and relatively easy pets to take care of, but they are also industrious and, like every pet out there, need some entertainment. There are a few staple entertainment devices that pretty much everyone is aware of (like the hamster wheel and ball), but maybe you’re looking for some new ideas.

This is where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ideas for toys to help keep your hammy entertained.

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1. Hamster Wheel

hamster-running-in-the-wheel_PrakapenkaAlena_shutterstock
Image Credit: PrakapenkaAlena, Shutterstock

You can’t own a hamster and not know about the hamster exercise wheel. If the hamster cage is in your bedroom, then you know how much your hamster loves running on his wheel all night long! You could invest in an exercise wheel that is designed to be quiet, or if possible, keep the cage anywhere but where you sleep.

Many hamster cages come with a wheel already included, but if your hamster doesn’t seem interested in it, or if it doesn’t have a solid surface, you should invest in a new one. You need to be sure to find the right size for your hamster and avoid any wheels with slats or bars, or the hamster might get a paw caught and become seriously injured.

There also different versions of the wheel, such as this flying saucer. The wheel keeps hamsters entertained and is a great way to ensure they get a bunch of exercise.


2. Hamster Ball

An alternative to the hamster exercise wheel that can give your hamster the freedom to roam about your house safely is the hamster ball, also called run-abouts. They are clear plastic balls that come in different colors and allow your hamster to run around the floors of your house, which will give him plenty of exercise.

Putting your hamster in a run-about is a great way to keep him safely out of the way while you clean his cage. However, you need to be sure to keep an eye on your hamster. While the ball is usually safe, there are a number of safety issues you need to be made aware of.

  • Only put one hamster in the ball at a time.
  • Make sure it’s the right size for your hamster and has small ventilation holes.
  • Pick a ball that is light in color and avoid the sun. It should only be allowed in cool and dark areas.
  • Only allow your hamster 10 to 15 minutes inside the ball. If your hamster stops running, it’s time for him to come out.
  • Never roll the ball yourself it will frighten and stress out your hamster.
  • Clean before and after every use.
  • Make sure the ball has been tightened. You don’t want it to open unexpectedly.
  • No stairs!
  • Always supervise.

3. Tubes

Hamster in a slinky
Image Credit: Kim Green, Unsplash

Next, we have hamster tunnels and tubes. These can be simple or elaborate structures that allow your hamster to climb and explore his habitat. You can buy a variety of tubes that snap together and create an expansion to your hamster’s habitat, or you can keep it simple with homemade tunnels made from water bottles or paper towel rolls.

Tubes and tunnels give hamsters the opportunity to climb; you just need to be sure that he can’t fall and that he has a way of getting back down. Just like cats in trees, they excel at climbing up and not so much at going down.


4. Chewable Items

Hamsters need to chew and will spend a lot of time and energy chewing on everything. Hamsters are rodents – the word “rodent” comes from the Latin word “rodere,” which translates to “gnaw.” So, yes, you’ll need to find things for your hamster to gnaw on because their teeth continuously grow.

Items such as these contain loofah pieces and applewood that taste yummy and are good for your hammy’s teeth. You can also recycle cardboard items, such as toilet paper and paper towel rolls, for homemade (and cheap) tubes and items your hammy can chew on.


5. Sand Bath

hamster enjoying a sand bath
Image Credit: IRINA-ORLOVA, Shutterstock

Wild hamsters originally lived in dry and warm places such as sand dunes, savannahs, and near deserts, so it’s natural that they’ll enjoy a sand bath. You can get sand that has been specially prepared for small pets or any sand that has been cleaned and dried for use in children’s sandboxes.

You can use a small bowl, either plastic or ceramic, and fill it up with a few centimeters of sand. Not only will most hamsters enjoy rolling around in it, but it can make your hamster clean and fresh with a shiny and healthy coat. Just be sure to change out the sand every couple of days as your hamster may use it as a toilet.


6. Climbing Toys

This could actually fall into the tubes/tunnels category since most tubes are designed for climbing, but there are a number of products out there that are unique and fun for hamsters to climb.

For example, this climbing wall gives your hamster the opportunity to do his own version of rock climbing. Variations could also include ladders and purchasing a cage for your hammy that has horizontal bars so he can climb the cage itself.


7. Hideaways

baby hamster-pixabay
Credit: Claudia44, Pixabay

Hamsters love to hide in dark and cozy places, and because they are nocturnal, they will burrow in during the day. While hiding out doesn’t necessarily sound entertaining, it still belongs on this list since it’s something that will make your hammy feel safe and happy.

You can purchase something like this tree trunk hideout or just use items like cereal boxes, which will give your hamster a dark place to hide and something to chew on.


8. Hammock

hamster in a hammock
Image Credit: Pixabay

Who doesn’t love lounging around on a warm day in a hammock! Well, why not your hammy? This hammock is soft and cozy, and your hamster could sleep on top or inside. This fits the hiding-in-a-dark-place bill as well. Some hamsters will probably also enjoy playing in this comfortable place just as much as resting in it.


9. Bridges

dwarf hamster
Image Credit: Hintau Aliaksei, Shutterstock

Bridges can be a fun way for your hamster to practice his balancing skills. For example, this suspension bridge contains wires and can allow you to manipulate it and move it into positions that can enable your hammy to explore other parts of his habitat.


10. Treat Toys

hamster with treats pixabay
Credit: appledeng, Pixabay

Lastly, we have everyone’s favorite subject – food. There are a number of ways you can entertain your hamster with treats. For example, you can use these balls, which are safe for your hammy to chew on, but you can also stuff a few treats in them to make them even more interesting and tasty.

You can also use applewood. If you are one of the lucky ones to have an apple tree in your yard, you could just cut a small twig for your hamster, provided it hasn’t been treated with pesticide or other chemicals. Or you can also buy some like these.

The free option can be just hiding some of your hamster’s treats around his cage, which he will have some fun looking for. You could place Timothy hay inside a paper towel or toilet paper roll and place a treat in the center, such as sunflower seeds or a grape. Your hammy will enjoy digging through the hay to find a tasty snack in the middle.

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Conclusion

Some of these ideas will cost money, but many of them can be replaced with homemade alternatives. However, the most critical aspect is to ensure that whether you buy or make anything for your hammy, it is also safe for him. You should think about finding quiet toys if your hamster lives near or in your bedroom – you both need your rest.

As you get to know your hamster, you’ll figure out the things that make him happy, and you can find ways to keep him entertained – after all, keeping your hammy mentally stimulated is essential for a healthy and happy pet.


Featured Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.