Jan 122012
 

A bored hamster is a boring hamster. If you want to keep your hamster active and healthy you need to make sure he or she has some fun things to play with. Three of the most common things you can add to your hamster habitat to keep your hamster busy are hamster tubes, hamster toys, and hamster balls.

Hamster Tubes
hamster tubes
These colorful and round plastic tubes are an inexpensive way to get your hamster moving. Individual pieces or sets usually cost under $10. You can put together a few tube pieces that can fit inside a large hamster cage, or you can go crazy and build extensive mazes outside the cage for your hamster to crawl through. Once you get to the stage where you’re building mazes, the costs can add up.

These funnels as they are called, can also go straight up so your hamster can have some climbing fun. There also tubes with resting places on the top. If you put some bedding at the top, your hamster can get some exercise climbing up then take a little nap when he reaches the top. Some of the tops of hamster tubes open up so you can actually take your hamster out and hold him or her.

Two tips for using hamster tubes. One, make sure you get the right size for the size of your hamster. A dwarf hamster may have some trouble climbing straight up a large tube. Number two is to make sure there are some ventilation holes in the tubes. You want to be sure your hammy has enough air to breathe as he or she is running around its tubes.

For more information, read Hamster Tube Tips.

Hamster Toys
hamster chews
The first kind is the type that the hamster needs to chew on. As you know a healthy hamster needs to keep gnawing so it won’t get overgrown teeth. A good soft wood toy helps your hamster keep his or her teeth in shape.

Then there are hamster fun toys you place around your hamster cage. These are toys that hamsters like to crawl around in.

Hamster Balls and Cars
hamster exercise ball
You will probably have an exercise wheel inside your cage. Your hamster needs this wheel to get in his or her daily running and stay healthy. But for fun you can put your hamster in an exercise ball and let it run around outside the cage.

The balls have vents so your hamster can get air as it runs around. Hamsters love to push the ball around and explore new spaces in your house. hamster exercise ball loop

There are even circular tracks, or loops, that you can put the ball in so you can control where your hamster runs.

Naturally, you should keep your other pets away from your hamster while it’s in its roll around ball. And remember to keep any staircases you have blocked so that your hammy can’t fall down them.

Also available are plastic hamster wheels that fit inside hamster-sized racing cars. hamster toy

When your hamster starts rolling the wheel, it looks like he or she is driving a racing car around. You and your friends can even hold hamster drag races. However, it only goes forward and backward, unlike a hamster ball that can go in all directions.

Summary

Giving your hamster fun accessories such as tubes, toys, or cars lets your pet get the activity and exercise it needs and keeps it from getting bored. You can also get pleasure just by watching your hammy play in its toys.

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Mar 102011
 

If you’re thinking about buying a wire cage for your hamster consider some of the following: wire cage size, height, cleaning, and security. For a discussion of the wire bars themselves and their pluses and minuses read The Good And The Bad About Wire Hamster Cages.

Size

Hamsters need a lot of room to run around and exercise in. If you’re cage is too small your hamster won’t get the exercise it needs and will get bored. Your wire hamster cage should be at least 24 inches long by about 12 inches deep (61 by 30.5 cm). Different heights are available. Read the next section for discussion of wire cage heights. wire hamster cage

Remember, along with your hamster, your wire cage will also need space for an exercise wheel, a water bottle, some hamster toys, and a food bowl. Then your hamster needs plenty of bedding space for digging around, sleeping, and using the bathroom. So keep your hamster happy by giving him or her enough space to move around in.

Some people use two small wire cages and use an adapter kit to connect them with tubes. This gives your hamster the chance to get more exercise by running between the cages. Cutting holes in wire cages to connect them is not recommended.

Height

Hamsters like to climb around their wire cages. They can get their little feet around the wires and climb all around the bars. Some will try to climb to the top of the cage, even if it two or even three stories. But hamsters can slip and fall. If they fall from a great enough height, your hamster can get hurt. wire hamster cage

Because of the danger of falling, if you use a tall hamster cage, be sure you have ladders and ramps so your hamster can climb up more easily. You can also use hamster climbing tubes so your hamster can get around its tall wire cage.

Cleaning

Cleaning this type of hamster cage is usually pretty easy. The bars are lightweight and usually just snap out of the sides of the plastic bottom. You can then just rinse the bars off to get them clean. You will still have to do some more serious cleaning for the bedding in the plastic base. See the article called Easy Steps to Clean Your Hamster Cage for more detailed information about how to do that.

After you have replaced the bedding, you reattach the wheel and the water bottle, put the wire cage back on and attach it back to the plastic base. You are then ready to put your hamster back in its clean cage.

When you’re putting the cage back together is a good time to decide if you want to move things around. You may want to change the way things are hooked up or where the hamster toys are located. Sometimes your hamster can get bored if he or she has the same layout all the time in its cage. So move some tubes around or put new tubes in or change the location of different toys in the cage. This will give your hamster something new to explore and keep him or her from getting bored. wire hamster cage starter kit

Plastic base depth

The plastic at the bottom of the cage is for holding the bedding and any hamster toys you want to put in. Make sure the plastic bottom is deep enough to hold about 2 inches of bedding. This will let your hamster have room to burrow and sleep and make a place to go to a bathroom.

However, because the cage has spaces between the wires, when your hamster starts kicking up his or her bedding or throwing around their food, some of it is likely to get through the bars and onto the space around the cage. Plan on leaving some room around the cage for this bedding. You’ll have to keep that area clean if you have this type of cage.

Security

The metal door on the wire cage should also be looked at carefully when you’re buying this type cage. You want to be sure it’s snaps tightly to the wires of the cage because if it’s loose your hamster will figure a way to pry it open and escape. Some people even use an extra piece of wire to tie the door to the wire bars so the door stays well sealed.

Consider all these things before you buy your hammy a new wire cage. As an alternative, you may want to think about using an aquarium for a hamster cage.


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Aug 102009
 

The first article about what goes inside a hamster cage was about bedding and water bottles. The other important things to be sure are inside your hamster cage are:

  • Exercise wheel
  • Exercise ball
  • Toys
  • Food bowls

Exercise Wheel

hamster exercise wheel

Hamsters like to run any where from 3 to 6 miles (4 to 9 km) every day. Therefore, it’s best to have an exercise or running wheel in the cage so they can get their running in. One of the newer types of wheels with a base is the flying saucer wheel, or spinner, so named because of its open design.

hamster spinner

The two primary types of wheels are either freestanding, in which the wheel comes with a base, or the kind that attaches to the side of the hamster cage.

Wheel considerations include:

  • Safety
  • Noise

Safety

One type of wheel which is not recommended is a wheel made of metal or wire spokes or bars.

  1. A hamster’s leg, foot, or toe could catch in the bars, resulting in your hamster getting a fracture.
  2. A hamster could get their head stuck between the bars.

For safety sake, then, get a hamster exercise wheel with a solid back and a solid running surface. These are typically made of plastic.

Some plastic wheels include treads. These allow your hamster to get a better grip when running.

Another safety concern is the size of the wheel. You don’t want your hamster to have to bend his or her back while running. Naturally, smaller wheels will work for dwarf hamsters, but you will need at least a 6 ½ inch (16 cm) wheel for Syrian hamsters.

Noise

Hamsters tend to run in the evenings or at night. If you’re trying to sleep near your hamster and the wheel makes a lot of noise, you’re going to have a long night (unless you’re a heavy sleeper!).

There is much disagreement, at least on the Internet, about which exercise wheels are quiet and which ones make noise. Checking out the wheels in the pet store doesn’t really tell the story.

Before you buy a wheel, please read the reviews from owners on the major pet sites. Then use these as a guide to your purchase.

Typical methods for quieting exercise wheels include:

  • Putting vegetable oil (never real oil) on squeaky parts
  • Using duct tape to tighten the attachment between wheel parts
  • Making sure the base of the freestanding exercise wheel is sitting solidly and evenly on the cage floor

Exercise Balls

hamster exercise ball
As an alternative to an exercise wheel, exercise balls, are also available. These round plastic balls, with vents, let your hamster get exercise outside of the hamster cage.

When using exercise balls:

  • Only keep them in the ball for about 15 or 20 minutes as your hamster can get overheated.
  • Never use an exercise ball around stairs.

Hamster Toys

Hamsters need chew toys to help maintain their teeth. And hamsters need play toys to have fun!

Hamster Chew Toys

Hamsters are born with a full set of teeth – and they never stop growing. A hamster must chew and gnaw so his or her teeth do not get overgrown. Overgrown teeth can cause eating and other problems for the hamster.

Some hamsters gnaw on the bars of their cages to grind down their teeth. This can destroy the cage or, if the cage is painted, can cause the hamster problems. Therefore, you should provide your hamster with chew toys. hamster chew toys
Chew toys can be:

  • Wood sticks or blocks
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Unflavored hard dog biscuits

Other toys

hamster toys
Search online for “hamster toys” and you will find a wide variety of things for your hamster to play with.

There are wooden houses, straw huts, ladders, extension tubes, tracks for exercise balls, and many more items to keep your hamster from getting bored.

Hamster Food Bowls

Your hamster has to eat, so be sure to have a small bowl to put his or her food into.

A ceramic bowl will be heavier than a plastic bowl, which the hamster may knock over or chew on.

Be sure to clean your feeding bowl often because hamsters will sometimes use their bowl for sitting or as a toilet.

With the right hamster cage furnishings including bedding, water bottle, exercise wheel, chew toys, and a food bowl, your hamster will provide you with hours of viewing fun – and stay healthy too!

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