Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to choose the best hamster toys for your pet

If there’s one thing we know about hamsters, it’s that they love toys. And nothing is cuter than watching our little rodents rolling around in a ball or getting their steps in while working out on the hamster wheel. Your pet will have the most fun if you mix up the playtime routine now and then, so he isn’t using the same hamster toys every day. So, how do you choose which objects to bring home and what to leave off the list? We’ll walk you through the must-haves for your favorite small pet.

The right toy depends on the type of hamster

Each kind of hamster will gravitate toward a slightly different option. Syrian hamsters are the biggest and most common species of this pet. They really need time out of the cage and extensive exercise. You’ll see your Syrian wandering about in his home late at night, especially if he doesn’t get enough playtime. Dwarf hamsters have a little less energy to go with their much smaller stature, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to engage with you. Adjust the number and size of your new toys as needed based on which species you have. 

Hamster chews on his toy in cage
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Toys are not just for exercise

All rodents love to chew, and they need to keep those pearly whites sharp for eating seeds and nuts. At your house, your pet probably doesn’t do much foraging or cracking through his food, which means you should engage him in other ways. Chew toys come in all varieties — edible ones, flavored ones, cloth ones, wooden ones, you name it. Each has different benefits, and you’ll want to invest in a few different styles for different goals. If you want to give him a little snack, for example, you’ll look at a chewy treat to munch on. But if your ham’s engaging in cage chewing, go all-in on a full hamster chew set.

You need to be really careful about hamster balls

We can all picture the iconic spirited pet rolling around the house like he owns it, but do your research before bringing home a hamster ball. Never leave a pet alone outside his cage, especially inside a toy or even in a playpen. You also need to ensure you’re getting a big enough ball so that he’s not scrunched in there while trying to move (this one will work better for larger animals). And do consider that playpen instead, especially if he doesn’t seem too keen on the rolling ball after giving it a shot. 

Hamster hides in his hollow log

He’ll love a decked-out cage, no matter what

The more tubes, the better, says every hamster. You can take great enjoyment in building, and rebuilding, his tunnels in every configuration imaginable (extra points if your setup goes viral). This will also give your small pet some freedom while keeping him protected from the larger beasts if you have any. Make things interesting by changing it up frequently so there’s always something new for him to explore. And don’t just stick with the basic plastic tubes. Add in stairs and ladders of your choosing. Start small and see what he likes before building out the rest of the design.

Hamster runs in pink wheel
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Every pet is different and wants different things

No matter what, you’ll adjust to your specific critter and adapt as you go. Perhaps you find that you’ve brought home an explorer who needs new places to check out every day. Or maybe you have a jogger who runs the wheel all night long. Whatever his fancy, you can update your toys based on his unique needs and personality. Just make sure you have the basics covered — toys aren’t just fun, they’re also healthy. 

So, which toys should you buy? Truthfully, the answer is all of them. You want a few for mental stimulation, some for chewing, one for exercise, and whatever else he seems attracted to. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll notice quickly which excite him and which get buried in the wood chips. Because hamsters are mostly solitary and many are nocturnal, they won’t always have a living being around to entertain them, so including toys in your habitat is essential for keeping your pets happy. Plus, it’s really adorable to watch. 

Editors' Recommendations

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
Bunny care 101: If Easter inspires you to adopt a rabbit, read this first
These are the things you need to think about before you bring a rabbit home
Brown bunny sits in the grass

Around this time of year, you'll spot bunnies everywhere — in the yard, the grocery candy aisle, and on TV. You may suddenly find yourself thinking about owning one of these cute small pets, and before you know it, you've adopted and brought home a hoppy and floppy pet.

We generally don't recommend impulse purchases when it comes to animals, but if you find yourself walking away from a shelter or pet store with Peter Rabbit in hand, you'll need to brush up quickly. It takes a lot: housing, food, cleaning, playtime, grooming, and vet bills. Understanding each piece of the puzzle will allow you to flourish as a pet parent and help your four-legger to live their best life, too. Keep reading to learn more about owning a bunny.

Read more
Looking to add corydoras to your aquarium? Here’s what you need to know first
Read this before bringing home a cory catfish to add to your tank
Two cory catfish hang out on the bottom of the tank

One thing you might not know about aquariums until you get one: Every tank needs a janitor, which may wind up just being you. When you first dive into this hobby, it can take a while to realize how much maintenance is really involved — don't think that the filter will do all the work. But if you want a little a help in that department, you can add a catfish to the fray. If you don't have a ton of experience with these bottom feeders, we recommend one of the corydoras since they're generally best for beginners.

What are corydoras?
This is a type of catfish, but there are actually more than 170 species to choose from. These are a well-known group of swimmers who get their name from their barbels, which look a bit like whiskers. While you'll find dozens of options in the pet store, you will likely narrow it down quickly based on the size of your tank, temperature, habitat you've chosen, and the other fish that they'll live with eventually.
Are corydoras friendly?
Yes, corydoras are sweet and gentle fish. They particularly like spending time together, but get along with many others as well. In some cases, you should not buy just one as they'll get lonely. Instead grab a pair of the same type and watch them become best friends. You'll often see them as bottom feeders, well, at the base of the tank, but cory cats also come up to the surface for air or food from time to time.

Read more
Why do guinea pigs chatter their teeth? It’s not a good thing
Sounds guinea pigs make with their teeth and what each means
Guinea pig bares her teeth

Anyone who adopts a rodent should know they'll be overwhelmed by the teeth. Guinea pigs in particular have lots of dental needs and often use their chompers to communicate as well. Sadly, you won't see a happy piggy smile, so instead, you'll have to spend some time studying your piggy to decipher the mouth movements.

Oral health can also indicate bigger issues, which means you should keep a close eye on those pearly whites when you hear your pet grind, chatter, bare, or click them. So why do guinea pigs chatter their teeth? There are a few reasons, but none of them are particularly good.

Read more