Best Hamster Toys

Billions of people across the globe own hamsters. Over 8.5 million households in the United States and over 3 million households in the United Kingdom keep at least one hamster as their pet. These small pocket pets have their own set of specific requirements. They are not like dogs or cats. Therefore, understanding those requirements and purchasing the right equipment is the key to maintaining a happy hamster. While food and housing are the most obvious necessities, toys are also important. Choosing the best hamster toys involves understanding hamster behavior and then finding safe products to keep them hooked.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

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Editor's Choice

NITEANGEL NATURAL WOODEN SMALL ADVENTURE TUNNEL
  • Made of natural non-hazardous materials
  • Makes a great hiding spot for your pet
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NITEANGEL SMALL ANIMAL ACTIVITY TOY, FUN PET BALLS
  • Can be chewed on or used as nesting material
  • Contains only natural materials
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PREVUE HENDRYX NATURE'S HIDEAWAY GRASS BALL TOY
  • Contains only non-toxic materials
  • Appeals to multiple needs
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KAYTEE CARROT PATCH VARIETY PACK CHEW TOY
  • Varied chewing surfaces
  • Easy-to-use shape
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WARE MANUFACTURING WILLOW BRANCH BALL
  • Good for dental health and hygiene
  • Can be used as nesting material
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EXPLAINING Hamster Behavior

Most hamsters prefer a solitary lifestyle. They often fight when in a group. Dwarf Russian hamsters are, however, an exception. This because they can tolerate some company. In fact, they may even form tight bonds with some. Moreover, sexually mature female hamsters are especially prone to aggression towards cage mates. This is especially true if the other hamster is of the same sex. Be very careful, since there are some cases where one hamster is killed because of the aggression.

Hamsters aren’t great climbers but they do dig well. They love creating large burrows with several entrances and chambers. These are all for different purposes, from food storage, nesting, and urination.

They spend much of their day underground, only to surface during twilight hours for food. Hamsters are omnivores and live on both plant and animal products. Wild hamsters even eat insects as well as fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Why Hamsters Need Toys

Toys are an integral part of the physical and mental well-being of your pet. Toys stimulate your pets’ senses and let them exhibit their natural behavior. Furthermore, hamsters with toys show less negative traits such as aggression, excessive grooming, and inappropriate chewing. The primary natural behaviors that you should expect from hamsters are:

  • Exploring
  • Foraging
  • Gnawing
  • Hiding/Resting
  • Nest building

DIFFERENT TYPES OF TOYS

  • The substrate used for nesting material – Nesting materials are small bits of materials that you can use to build separate bedding areas. Things like shredded paper, processed corn cobs and chipped material make good nesting substrate. Moreover, cotton balls, cedar chips, and pine are not good material for the substrate. This is because cotton can get caught in the hamsters’ small toes and nails while cedar and pine emit strong odors. As a result, they can elicit negative responses.
  • Small tubes used for crawling – Tubes hidden under the bedding substrate make great toys because of the hamster’s innate desire to burrow and use the tunnels. Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls make good tunnels. Furthermore, you can also add plastic tunnels to the habitat to increase its size.
  • Huts used as hiding spaces – You can make hiding spaces from a number of readily available materials. Many manufacturers produce ready-made plastic huts. It’s common for hamsters to bring nesting material into these hiding spaces. Moreover, organic huts such as those from woven grasses can be chewed on for dental health. They can also be broken down into nesting material.
  • Objects to be gnawed – Hamsters naturally chew through anything in their habitat so it’s important to only include items that are safe for such use. You should add dense sticks or blocks to the environment. This will consequently keep the teeth worn down. It will also keep them from chewing on other items.
  • Brightly colored ladders, swings, and housing – Companies market these to small pet owners but they aren’t necessarily useful to hamsters. Hamsters prefer secure enclosed areas where they can burrow, rather than open areas. Also, bright colors have no effect on hamsters since their eyesight is bad.

OUR TOP RECOMMENDED TOYS

To find the right toy takes a lot of work. We chose these toys based on their ability to entice your hamster into performing its natural activities.

Niteangel Natural Wooden Small Adventure Tunnel

The Small Adventure Tunnel consists of a small piece of Chinese fir with holes cross inside. The toy measures about four inches long, and has a total diameter of about 2.5 inches. Furthermore, the diameter of the drilled holes measure just a wee bit less than 1.6 inches. It also fits easily in most enclosures, and makes a great hiding spot or activity space. The tunnel also functions as a secondary chewing item for the hamster. Thus, this toy makes for a great item to add into its cage.

Pros:

  • Made of natural non-hazardous materials
  • Makes a great hiding spot for your pet

Cons:

  • Not as durable as other toys
  • Too small for Syrian hamsters to crawl into

Niteangel Small Animal Activity Toy, Fun Pet Balls

The Fun Pet Balls from Niteangel consists of a package of three woven balls from natural fibers. Each ball measures just under three inches.  These items are from natural seagrass, water hyacinth and rattan. No glue, plastic or metal is used to hold the balls together. Furthermore, they fit in a variety of enclosures and you can use them individually or at the same time. Hamsters can gnaw on the Fun Pet Balls and you can also turn this into nesting material. They make a good addition to any hamster habitat.

Pros:

  • Can be chewed on or used as nesting material
  • Contains only natural materials

Cons:

  • Cannot be reused
  • Can be quickly chewed through

Prevue Hendryx Nature's Hideaway Grass Ball Toy

Nature’s Hideaway Grass Ball Toy by Prevue Hendryx is a hollow ball from the hand-woven black grass. It measures about four inches in diameter and has few holes. Furthermore, the toy is of organic material and contains no glue, plastic or metal. This Hideaway Grass Ball primarily functions as a cubby for burrowing. However, pets may also chew and climb on it.

Pros:

  • Contains only non-toxic materials
  • Appeals to multiple needs

Cons:

  • May be too large for some habitats
  • Cannot be reused

Kaytee Carrot Patch Variety Pack Chew Toy

The Carrot Patch Variety Pack by Kaytee consists of three small wedge-shaped nibblers. Each wedge measures about three inches and is of a different material (wood, sisal, and loofa). Wood is good for gnawing and the sisal is moderately abrasive. In addition, the loofa gently helps to floss and its small size is great for dental hygiene of most animals. Furthermore, you can hide these items under nesting materials to encourage foraging.

Pros:

  • Varied chewing surfaces
  • Easy-to-use shape

Cons:

  • Not for long-term use
  • Contains adhesives

Ware Manufacturing Willow Branch Ball

The Willow Branch Ball by Ware Manufacturing is a tightly woven hollow sphere from small pieces of natural willow. The ball measures about four inches round. Furthermore, the Willow Branch Ball is designed to be chewed on. As a result, this helps to keep your pet’s teeth from overgrowing. However, it will often be pushed around and crawled over. Once chewed, you can use the small pieces as nesting material.

Pros:

  • Good for dental health and hygiene
  • Can be used as nesting material

Cons:

  • May be too large for some enclosures
  • Not intended for long-term use

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, toys are instrumental for the well-being of your pet. They allow your hamster to exhibit its natural behavior in a positive manner. Furthermore, hamsters with toys are calmer and show fewer negative traits. Make sure to choose toys that encourage your hamster to explore their habitat. Also, give them something to nibble on, as this will help their gnawing desire.

Sources

https://www .ccac.ca/…/hamsters.pdf

http://research.fiu.edu/documents/facilities/acf/documents/hamster-biology-husbandry.pdf

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/hamsters-are-optimists-when-they-live-comfy-cages-180956095/

https://wiki.med.umich.edu/download/attachments/59048168/Approved%2BHamster%2BEnrichment%2BItems.pdf%3Fversion%3D1%26modificationDate%3D1447093698000&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwitgIfV0LrbAhWruFkKHYVtBNcQFggnMAk&usg=AOvVaw0TCjIf3Q0Z_cdYl08-EeGL

https://academic.oup.com/ilarjournal/article/46/2/162/910262

About James

Ever since he was young, James has loved animals. In all of his life, he has owned over 10 different types of animals, from hamsters to snakes. So, it comes to no surprise that he needed to hop on board the We're All About Pets team to share his knowledge and love for pets.

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