Hamster toys are important if you don’t want your hamster to get bored. Some of these toys can cost quite a lot, and not all of them are necessary. However, if you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to get around this expensive problem.
STORE-BOUGHT HAMSTER TOYS
These include hamster wheels, climbing frames, see-saws, special playpens, ropes and hamster balls, the list goes on and on. The only thing you really need, however, is the hamster wheel. Hamsters cannot live without a wheel! It’s extremely cruel not to give a hamster a wheel because it means they have nowhere to run.
A hamster wheel is used because:
- It gives a hamster a place to run long-distance.
- It tires the hamster out, so he/she can sleep through the day more easily.
- As a hamster runs, his/her nails get worn down and don’t have to be trimmed.
- It makes the hamster happy, and this makes for a better pet!
Everything else in the store-bought hamster toys list is optional. Some people like to put their hammy in a ball, to let them get exercise outside of the cage. I, however, don’t agree with the hamster ball idea. Here’s why:
- A hamster ball is a tiny enclosed space, where your hamster is forced to roll around. It gives a lot of hamsters the sense of being trapped.
- Because hamsters have poor eyesight, they use their sense of smell to find their way around a place. But in a hamster ball, a hamster is confined to the small space and cannot see or smell the outside world. This means that the hamster is rolling around, completely blind, and can knock into lots of things, resulting in injuries.
- A hamster’s little paws can get stuck in the slits of the ball and breaks their legs.
So personally, I don’t think the hamster ball is a great idea, but there are plenty of other ways in which your hammy can get exercise outside his/her cage which I’ll cover in a second. First, here’s a selection of hamster toys you can buy to help you make the right choice for your little pet.
HOME-MADE HAMSTER TOYS
Home-made toys are an inexpensive alternative to store-bought toys. All you have to do is gather a few small cardboard boxes (like cereal bar boxes etc.) and toilet roll tubes and then let your hammy explore! Most of my hamster toys consist of home-made things. I like to get a few small boxes and stack them on top of each other, a bit like a pyramid! Then I put toilet roll tubes inside the boxes and hide some treats in them. Pip has hours of fun, exploring the boxes and eating the treats!
Egg cartons are also great for hamster toys (without the eggs, obviously!). When they are closed, they can act as another level in your hamster’s cage, for them to climb onto and jump off. But aswell as being closed, an egg carton is just as great open. Leave it open in your hamster’s cage over-night and I assure you, that by the morning, it will be nibbled on so much that you’ll hardly be able to recognise it! For some reason, hammies just love to gnaw on the stuff, and it’s great for wearing down those hamster teeth.
There are endless opportunities for you and your hamster to have fun, whether it’s in or out of the cage. When your hamster is tame, you can begin taking it out to play more often. Once your hammy is completely comfortable with you handling them, you can put them on your lap or in a playpen. Here are some ideas for playing safely outside the cage:
- Get a bathtub, completely dry and with the plug-hole blocked, and put a blanket down in it. Put some of your hamster’s favourite toys on top of the blanket and fill the tub with treats and obstacles. Finally, watch your hammy explore and have fun! this is my alternative to a hamster ball – It’s fun and gives your pet some exercise, without him/her hurting him/herself.
- If you’re confident with you hamster, take your hamster out of the cage and put him/her on your lap and let him explore. Pet him/her and feed him/her treats. This enhances the bond between owner and pet.
- Buy a special hamster playpen and put your hamster in it. This is an alternative for anyone who doesn’t have a bathtub.
With my Syrian hamster, Alfie, I like to just take her out of her cage and let her explore my room. Of course, I make it hamster proof first, but after it’s been made safe, Alfie has endless fun! Pip however, is a little too speedy to be let free, so I put him in the bath tub. This works really well for playtime, and for taming, as Pip has time out of his cage in a safe and escape-proof environment.
When it comes down to it, there is an endless amount of ways to keep your hamster happy. It’s quite easy to do and hopefully it’s something enjoyable. If you keep your hamster entertained and interested, you’ll have a very happy companion for the next 2 to 3 years!