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.
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:
- 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.
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.