Here are some of the most common types of accessories that all hamster parents must own:
1. Hamster Wheels
A hamster wheel is probably the most common type of cage accessory for hamsters. You can spot one in almost every cage, whether it’s in cartoons or real life.
And there’s a reason why they are so important. In their natural habitat, hamsters tend to run great distances.
Providing them with a wheel in their cage allows them to get plenty of exercises. Hamsters that have running wheels also tend to stay safe from health issues.
When choosing a hamster wheel, you must be careful about certain things. One of them is the size of the hamster wheel.
Size of the hamster wheel
The important thing to remember here is that larger wheels are always better.
If your hamster runs inside a wheel that is too small, it will have to arch its back which can cause multiple health issues.
Different species of hamsters have different sizes, and thus require different sizes of wheels.
Thus, it is recommended to get a wheel that is large enough to allow your hamster to run comfortably.
The material of the hamster wheel
There are two more common materials hamster wheels are made out of; steel and plastic.
Hamster wheels made out of steel are very durable and can survive the biting by hamsters.
However, the wheel has gaps between each rod in which the hamster’s delicate feet can get stuck in and can injure them.
Steel hamster wheels also tend to be a little noisy, but it’s nothing a few drops of oil won’t fix.
Plastic or acrylic wheels, on the other hand, tend to be much safer as they do not have any gaps in which your hamster might get stuck in.
There are also many silent plastic wheels that do not make any squeaking noise.
However, it’s easier for your hamsters to chew and damage these plastic wheels so buy one that’s made of better quality.
2. Tubes, Ladders, and Tunnels
Adding tubes and tunnels around your hamster’s cage provides them with a more natural environment.
Your hamster will love if you connect different parts of the cage through tubes or just place some of them around.
This will make the cage more interactive and will prevent them from getting bored.
There are also many ladder toys available that you can place around different sections of the cage. These are made out of wood too so your hamster can safely chew on them.
A combination of these toys will make your cage a playground for your hamster.
Making slight changes in their position after a few months will keep your hamsters curious and happy.
3. Chewable Toys
If you didn’t already know, hamsters have incisors that continue to grow throughout their life.
Because of this, hamsters have to keep them at a proper length and shape, which they do by chewing on stuff.
Wooden hamster accessories and toys are probably the best option in this case. Your hamster will be easily able to gnaw on these wooden toys and file their teeth.
However, make sure that the wood itself isn’t treated too much with chemicals or scents.
This can sometimes irritate your hamster’s delicate nose or cause allergies. Also, avoid using cedar or pine wood as they have natural chemicals that can cause irritation as well.
4. Food Dishes
A food dish is essential in any hamster cage. There are a variety of options available, but some are better than the others.
The thing to look out for is the material of the bowl or dish itself. There are trays available that are made out of plastic as well as stone.
Plastic dishes are usually cheaper and are available in a variety of options. However, the problem with plastic dishes is that they do not endure hamsters chewing on them for too long.
Stone dishes, on the other hand, are much more durable and typically last a long time before needing replacement.
They also tend to be difficult to tip over. However, stone dishes tend to be slightly more expensive than plastic dishes.
5. Water Supply
When it comes to providing water to their hamsters, people typically go with bowls. However, bowls aren’t the best choice for this.
This is because not only are bowls easier to tip over, the water in it can get really dirty and would need regular replacement. Thus you end up with sick hamsters and soiled bedding.
A better option is a water bottle that has a small nozzle from which your hamsters can easily drink.
These bottles not only prevent water from dripping but also keeps it clean and requires less frequent water changes.
6. Sand Bath Dishes
Hamsters tend to be very particular about their hygiene.
Because they are desert animals, they do not have access to water in their natural habitat and thus have evolved to clean themselves by rubbing themselves in the sand.
If you want to keep a hamster, make sure that you have a sand bath in the corner. After that, they will clean themselves and roll in the sand to remove any dirt and keep their fur shiny.
Digging and playing around in sand also relieves hamsters of stress and allows them to act upon their natural burrowing instincts.
Choose a sand bath that is large enough to accommodate your hamster.
You should also avoid using very fine sand as this can be inhaled by your hamster and cause problems. Chinchilla sand is a great choice for sand as it tends to be coarser and can’t be inhaled.
7. Hamster Toilets
If you pay attention, your hamster will choose a particular corner in their cage to defecate.
Because hamsters have this natural habit, they tend to adjust easier to using the toilet. And this has many advantages.
Not only will this make the whole cage more hygienic and cleaner, but will also save you lots of beddings and money.
Therefore, a toilet is one of the most important accessories you must have in your hamster’s cage.
Making The Best Hamster Accessories On Your Own
If your hamster’s cage looks a little too bland, you could try making your own hamster cage accessories.
Hamsters love tunnels and tubes. If you connect these tubes to form a sort of maze, your hamsters will enjoy even more.
Here are some great ideas to construct your own hamster cage accessories:
1. Cardboard Maze
A cardboard maze is a great idea for beginners since it’s really easy to make.
The material of choice here is mainly cardboard since its safe to play with and won’t pose any threat to your hamster even if it’s chewed.
For hamster tunnels, you can collect your used tissue or paper towel rolls.
For connecting these tunnels, small cardboard boxes might be used. Though make sure that these boxes don’t have any printing on them as this can be harmful to your hamster’s health.
Use non-toxic glue for joining these tubes together so that if they chew them up, it doesn’t harm their health.
If your cage is too small for a maze, you can just place these leftover rolls and place bedding or treats in them and your hamsters will love it.
2. Popsicle Stick Tracks and Ladders
Wood tends to be safe for hamsters to play and chew upon.
Popsicle sticks tend to be a great option for this since they are easily obtainable and are harmless.
Although before starting off, just make sure that the sticks are rinsed and cleaned to avoid any problems.
You can make a variety of items with popsicle sticks and a little non-toxic glue.
One option is to join the sticks together to make a ladder. Make sure that the steps are well-glued and the ladder itself is solid enough to withstand the weight of your hamsters.
Similarly, you can also make tracks out of popsicle sticks and place them around the cage to make things even more fun.
3. DIY Hamster Wheel
Hamster wheels are a must-have accessory for all hamster cages.
But if you’re a little short on cash and are feeling a bit creative, you can make your own hamster wheel with very few things.
One option is to make one with cardboard and some popsicle sticks.
But if you want a more solid one which can last longer, a big biscuit can, a ball bearing and some metal wire might be required.
Basically, a hamster wheel has three main parts; a wheel, a bearing and a stand or mount.
If you’re making one out of sticks, you can construct the wheel out of cardboard and use the sticks as the frame for the wheel. You can then mount it to the cage or use wires to form a stand.
However, if you want a sturdier one, you can use a tin can and cut out the wheel from it.
Then you can use a ball-bearing to allow the wheel to move freely and smoothly. Metal wire can then be used to mount the wheel onto the cage.
When making a DIY hamster wheel, make sure that the wheel itself is large enough that your hamsters do not have to arch their back.
If you notice that the hamsters are arching their back while running, immediately remove the wheel and build a larger one.
Running while arching their back can cause long-term spine damage in hamsters that can dramatically impact their health.
Why do hamsters bite their cage?
A hamster might bite their cage for one of two reasons; either they’re bored or are stressed.
Hamsters need to file their teeth and sometimes they might just start biting their cage. If this is the case, try placing wooden hamster accessories and toys inside the cage so that they can bite them instead.
If your hamster is stressed, you will also notice symptoms like aggression and hyperactivity. Thus if you suspect that your hamster is stressed, try changing their surroundings or get them checked by a vet if it’s too serious.
Which wood is safe for hamsters to chew?
Woods that aren’t treated or have chemicals in them are often safe for hamsters to chew.
Most hamster accessories that are made of wood aren’t treated and are completely safe for hamsters.
Cedar and Pine are two kinds of wood that aren’t safe for hamsters because they have natural chemicals that can irritate their delicate nose.
More so, if you notice that your hamster’s nose looks red after you gave them a wooden toy, chances are that it triggered an allergy.
How do you make your hamsters wheel quiet?
A hamster wheel can be made quieter by lubricating the spindle.
Since the wheel spins on the axle or wheel, rust can make the wheel start squeaking. This can be very annoying, especially if your hamster’s cage is in the room and you’re a light sleeper.
If you are facing this problem, lubricate the spindle or the ball bearing with some vaseline or vegetable oil and the squeaking will disappear.