If you got yourself an adorable hammy, you probably want to give them the best possible life. Other than nutrition, a crucial aspect of caring for a hamster is providing entertainment to the little pet.
In today’s article, I’m sharing a guide to answer the question: what do hamsters like to play with?
I’m also discussing the behavior of hamsters; if they’re playful or if they get bored, and sharing a bunch of activities you can do with your tiny hamster pet to have loads of fun!
Let’s start things off with a common question that I get from new hamster owners and people thinking about getting this cute ball of fur.
So, are hamsters playful pets?
Well, I’m happy to report that hamsters are one of the most playful animals in the world. They may be smaller in size compared to many animals and most pets, but they’re full of energy and love to explore, move, play with toys, and have fun.
In their natural habitat, hamsters barely spend time being idle. When they’re not sleeping to regain their energy, hamsters are almost always racing around their environment gathering food and satisfying their curious instincts.
As such, when you get one of these fuzzy pets, you need to make sure that your hamster is properly entertained. You need to provide your little friend with enough physical and mental stimulation so it stays healthy and happy.
Allowing your hamster to play with toys and giving them plenty of space to roam around and explore are essential to their well-being.
You should also engage with your hamster in one-on-one playtime. Not only will this entertain you both and give you a dose of joy, but it’ll also help establish and solidify the bond between you and your pet.
Although hamsters are extremely playful animals who are very curious and active by nature, they won’t necessarily show these traits at the beginning of your relationship as owner and pet.
When you first bring a hamster home, the most likely scenario is that they’ll keep to themselves.
Due to the change of surroundings, it’s normal for newcomer hamsters to be shy. So you should ease your pet into getting used to your presence.
You can do this by putting your hand inside the cage and letting the hamster feel and “test” you out. However, don’t forget to
The small creature will probably nibble at your skin, which is completely normal as hamsters typically explore things by putting them in their mouths.
However, don’t forget to wash your hands with an unscented soap (if you can’t find any, low-scented can work too) to get rid of any lingering food smell before you stick them in the cage.
Also, make sure you don’t pet other animals you may have in the house before starting the introduction and familiarization process.
Additionally, keep the following points in mind when dealing with a new hamster:
- There’s a chance that your hamster will bite your hand as they feel and explore you. If this happens, don’t panic or rush to punish your pet.
Not only should you never be unkind to any pet, but the hamster is only demonstrating a natural behavior by biting when they’re curious.
- It’s not a good idea to handle your hamster too frequently for too long, especially when you first bring the pet home. This can cause unnecessary stress to the hamster and make them even more closed off.
The best thing you can do is make the handling short and sweet. Not to mention, don’t force your hamster to be in a place or position that they don’t want.
- If you have other pets living inside the house, be sure they’re not in the same room as your hamster as you get to know the little furball. Also, don’t let them “play” with them, especially when you take your hamster out of the cage.
This could end up with an injury to your hamster, or worse, the little one may become a snack to your cat or dog.
Once your hamster gets used to you, they’ll open up and become more playful until they go all out!
Hamsters are very active and curious animals who love to explore, run around, and play with toys. They need a daily dose of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
Does this mean they get bored if they’re not adequately entertained?
The answer is yes, but not in the same way that we do as humans. This is due to a hamster’s inability to have a concept of time or consider its passing as we do.
When we get bored, we’re bummed out because we’re not having enough fun with whatever activities we’re doing. However, we don’t feel sad or depressed because of boredom.
On the other hand, hamsters will get stressed, anxious, sad, or even depressed when they’re kept somewhere with not enough outlets to express their curiosity and burn through their energy.
While hamsters don’t have grand goals in life other than their instincts to survive, eat, and reproduce, their well-being will be compromised if you put them in a poor environment.
For example, a cage or habitat that’s too small or too dirty. Also, if they don’t have toys, lack hiding spots, are exposed to loud noise, and/or have too many people trying to handle them too much.
A hamster experiencing stress or sadness due to boredom is likely to show the following signs:
- Laziness: a bored hamster may resort to sleeping more than they usually do because there’s nothing to do. You may also notice that your hamster isn’t really sleeping, but just lying there while awake.
- Excessive eating: a lot of people end up eating when they feel bored, and the same thing can happen to your hamster when there’s nothing else to do. It’ll start munching down on more food which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
- Excessive chewing: hamsters do love to chew. So, if they’re bored and you don’t provide them with chew toys, they’ll gnaw on anything else they can find just to have something to do!
In most cases, hamsters will nibble on the bars of their cage. If these bars are made out of a chewable material, your hamster will easily escape.
- Sudden, erratic activity: a bored hamster deals with a lot of pent-up energy that needs to be released.
With a lack of activities and entertainment, your hamster may take matters into their own paws and start doing sudden, erratic movements that almost look very similar to spasms.
To avoid all the symptoms above, pay attention to the next section to learn how to provide your little pet with an enriched environment that offers enough exercise for the hamster’s body and mind.
If you’re wondering what sort of toys and items your hamster would enjoy playing with, the following list contains 9 options that’ll surely entertain and stimulate your tiny friend:
Using a hamster ball is a popular way of ensuring maximum entertainment for your little pet.
Not only does this toy allow hamsters to get out all the energy they need to burn in the form of exercise, but it also helps them explore around the house and satisfy their curious nature as safely as possible.
These balls are clear to let the hamster see the outside world and are typically made of plastic with no sharp edges whatsoever.
It’s important, however, to choose a suitable size ball for your hamster and always keep an eye on the hamster while inside the ball to make sure it doesn’t go somewhere dangerous such as stairs.
Also, don’t leave your hamster inside the ball for more than 15 minutes at a time. This is to avoid overheating.
Hamster wheels are about the most common, entertaining, and stereotypical toys you can provide your hamster with!
These wheels make for a fantastic exercise avenue and your hamster will surely love them. Keep in mind that hamsters are most active at night, so invest in a quiet wheel or park the cage outside of your bedroom if you want to get some sleep.
Make sure to pick a suitable size wheel for your hamster. Try to avoid wheels with bars or slats to prevent their little paws from getting caught and injured while spinning.
Hamsters don’t just enjoy chewing on things, they need to do it to keep their teeth at a suitable length and burn off some energy. After all, you shouldn’t forget that hamsters are rodents, which means they’re gnawing animals.
Give your pet chew toys, applewood, loofah pieces, cardboard tubes, and so on.
Hamster tubes and tunnels are other great choices for your pet to play with. They allow your hamster to climb and hide — two of the animal’s favorite activities.
You can get a bunch of tubes that fit together so you can create structures as simple or complex as you want for your hamster.
Your hamster will love rolling around in a sand bath. This is because the natural habitat of hamsters consists of warm and dry locations near deserts and dunes.
As a bonus, a sand bath will keep your pet’s coat healthy and shiny. But since the hamster may use it as a toilet, you should change it every 2 to 3 days.
Other than tubes and tunnels, you can get your hamster climbing toys such as walls, ladders, and blocks.
Last but not least, provide your hamster with places where they can hide and they’ll love you!
I know it doesn’t sound like fun to us, but these small furballs enjoy burrowing and laying low in cozy, dark spots. This makes them feel safe and relaxed.
Tubes, tunnels, small trunks, tissue boxes, and cereal boxes, are all items that can serve the purpose.
Here are some fun activities you can do with your little pet:
- Teach your hamster tricks such as jumping, standing, and rolling over. You can train them using treats and voice commands.
- Use toys and household items to create a maze for your hamster and let them figure their way out.
- Hide treats and food items in different spots around the cage and let your hamster look for them.
- Do a photoshoot with your hamsters, but don’t forget to use treats to get your pet to pose!
There are many answers to the question: what do hamsters like to play with?
From balls and wheels to chew toys and hiding spots, hamsters are active and curious animals who’ll enjoy just about any activity you throw their way.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.