Hamsters need to have a stimulating environment that suits their specific needs. By providing plenty of toys that are safe and fun for your hammie, you’re helping to enrich his or her life.
Toys for chewing
Like other members of the rodent family, hamsters’ have one pair of incisors on their top and bottom jaws that are continuously growing. In order to stay healthy, they need to chew regularly to wear their teeth down. Fun fact, the name “rodent” actually comes from the Latin “rodere,” which means “to gnaw!”
Rabbits aren’t technically classified as rodents, but they too feel the urge to chew. Some toys that are made for rabbits can be used for hamsters so long as they are small enough. Willow balls and twigs are a good place to start because they are all natural and safe. Other wooden toys made specifically for hamsters can be readily found in pet stores. Some woods can be toxic to your hammie, so be careful to stay away from toys made from cedar and evergreen varieties of trees. If you’re in a pinch, cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper work great, too!
One of the most iconic hamster toys is the hamster wheel! When picking one out, look for a solid surface wheel. In order to avoid injuries, stay away from wire or slotted wheels, especially if you have a long-furred hamster that could get snagged by the spokes. Hamster wheels should be sized appropriately to your hammie, making sure they’re large enough to keep his or her back from arching, but small enough to spin with little effort.
Hammies love to climb, too. Wooden ladders and bridges can be found in the bird and hamster section of your pet store. When choosing or making a bridge or ladder, make sure the openings are not going to pose a risk for a head, leg, or toe to get caught. If you’re feeling really crafty, you can create all sorts of puzzles and play places with wooden dowels, pva glue, and pet safe paints.
Looking for more ways to enrich your hamsters environment? The Spruce has an excellent overview on hamster toys, too!
If you’re looking for someone to feed and play with your hamster while you’re away, hire a pet sitter to keep your hammie’s mind engaged and belly full.
Candace Elise Hoes is a blogger at Kim’s Urban Hounds. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.