Guide To Choosing Hamster Toys – DYI And Store Bought

Toys for hamsters are surprisingly simple – but hard to find good ones. For my Teddy I have a mix of Store bought hamster toys, and a few home made ones. I’ll tell you everything I know about the hamster toys your hammy will love, and how to make some at home !

My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but the toys we’ll talk about are alright for smaller breeds like Robo hammies or Campbell.

hamster toys
Teddy enjoying his nature-made chewing toy

So what makes a great hamster toy ?

This depends mostly upon your hamster’s personality. Most hamsters will love most toys, but they can still ignore some kinds.

Some hamsters like to chew. Others like to dig, some like to run, others love to hide. You’ll notice this about your hamster only after a few weeks, if you’ve given him every type of toy, and see which he uses the most.

For example my Teddy is a chewer, and he loves everything made of wood that he can gnaw on, including bendy bridges, walnuts, his home, and so on.

He doesn’t like tubes as much, or hide and seek toys. He doesn’t hide a lot, but he is curious and sticks his face everywhere.

He also runs a lot, so his wheel was the best thing ever. It still is, but not as much as it was when he was younger. You can find out more about hamster wheels here.

Some hamster toys can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on your budget and disposition which kind you want for your hamster. But as with most animals, home made versions are sometimes the best.

Like a paper bag that drives the cat crazy, or a slipper that will become your dog’s favorite toy. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you can make from toilet rolls and a bit of creativity.

But sometimes, there are toys that are out of this world and can only be bought. We’ll cover both types here.

Why hamsters need toys

The usual life of a hamster in the wild can be pretty … wild. He will run away from predators, hide, dig his way out of a predicament. But in your home he is much safer and it can get a bit boring at times.

So your hammy will need some stimulation, otherwise he might start chewing the cage bars, or becoming very very agitated.

You can take care of this by providing your hamster with toys of different types, sometimes reintroducing toys he used to ignore, maybe he changed his mind.

Also providing your hamster with a large enough cage will make sure he has enough space to explore and not feel cramped. You can check the 5 best hamster cages (for Syrians and Dwarf types) and see what I mean.

Just like with humans, hamsters are curious and intelligent, and will need stimulation. For example my Teddy sometimes starts chewing on the cage bars if he is ignored, or bored. So I’ll start playing with him, or put him in his exercise ball, or give him a new puzzle to solve.

Teddy: Us hamsters are very active, and we need something to keep us busy most of the time ! So make sure you give your hammy a couple of toys to make life more interesting.

Chewing toys for your hamster

Chewing toys are necessary for all hamsters, even if they’re not really chewers. Hamsters need to constantly chew in order to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Their front teeth are always growing, and if left unchecked can reach into their lower jaw can cause serious health problems.

Home-made

One of the best toys for your hamster to gnaw on is…. a walnut ! Or chestnut ! Or acorn, BUT ONLY  if you can find a very large one that he can’t fit into his cheeks.

My Teddy has a couple of walnuts he usually plays with, and he’s always trying to get them open. He gnaws at them for a few minutes then leaves them alone. Then he comes back later, and so on.

Whatever nut you choose for your hamster (walnut, chestnut, acorn) make sure it is clean and dirt-free. Wash it beforehand with extremely hot water, and use a tooth pick to pick out any stuck dirt or particles.

Do not use detergent or a disinfecting agent. If you’re not sure it’s clean, best to not give it to your hammy.

Another great chew toy is a piece of thick twig, or a small branch that you’ve cleaned beforehand. The best kind of wood for your hamster to chew on is also the one he has the bedding usually made of. That’s aspen, but you can also go with some fruit trees (like apple or pear).

Store bought

Every pet store carries at least a few types of chew toys. Most of them are made of wood that is safe for hamsters, while the remaining others are made of materials that are safe for hamsters but are not wood. I’ll give you a couple of examples here.

Wood chews


Here’s a fun little wooden set your hammy will enjoy. They have some bells in them as well, which is great for hamsters since they react to sound.

The wood is a great way to help your hamster file down his teeth, and it’s really sturdy. So those pieces will last your hamster for a long time.

You can check the set on Amazon here, along with the price.

Non-wood chews


Apple chews are a great way for hammies to file down their teeth and get some extra fruit in their diet. It’s best to give these to your hamster along with other treats, not just this one.

Since it is organic and exclusively fruit, your hammy might go through it fairly fast but he’s sure to love it. Banana chips work well too.

You can find it here on Amazon to check it out for yourself, and check the price.

Dog biscuits


Weird, I know, but hamsters will go for dog treats as well. Actually, the fact that dog treats are very hard and crunchy is what hamsters love.

It’s best to stay away from any flavored dog biscuits, and just get plain ones. Or, you can get a box of milk bones.

The hamster will take entire days to go through the treat, and a whole box will last you pretty much forever, given the size of the hamster and the number of treats inside)

You can check out the milk bones on Amazon here, and see the price as well.

Running toys for your hamster

Most hamsters are runners by nature. This is what they have to do anyway, and my Teddy is ridiculously fast on his running wheel.

Home-made

A home-made running wheel is not something I would recommend. Neither is a home-made exercise ball. This is because running itself is a very fast activity for your hamster, so unless every nook and cranny is well calculated, I’d avoid making them at home.

It might be too risky for the hamster to run in a running wheel designed at home, since it might come apart in a way you didn’t anticipate. Or it may snag on your hammy’s paw, because of the material used.

Store bought

A running wheel is one of the most basic things you need for your hammy. As such, it should be quiet, it should stay in its place, and made of something your hamster won’t hurt itself on.

To find out more about exercise wheels for your hamsters and how to use them right, you can read here.

The vast majority of running wheels that you get when purchasing your hamster cage are horrible. Too small, won’t spin, cheap plastic.

A good running wheel is a bit of an investment, but will last literally your hamster’s entire life. So don’t skimp out on the running wheel, or the exercise ball for that matter. It’s what will keep your hamster busy 60% of the time.

For this I’ve found a great, silent wheel that’s suitable for all hamster types, Syrian and Robo as well. It has a tail and neck guard, and will stay in place.

It is heavier, like 2 lbs/nearly 1 kg but that is because of the heavy base to keep it in place in the cage. The wheel itself is not heavy, so your hamster will be able to spin it well enough.

You can check it out on Amazon here and see the price as well.

Exercise ball

An exercise ball will let your hamster roam the house as he wishes, and bump into every piece of furniture you own. Or at least that’s my Teddy. You can find a good guide on how to use and care for your hamster’s exercise ball here.

Exercise balls are necessary, and are a great way to keep the hamster in a certain place while you clean his cage. Of course, the ball works best as an actual exercise ball.

Don’t worry if the ball bumps into something, the plastic in this is really hard. I let Teddy roam around my apartment freely, and he bumps into a lot of furniture as well.

Never leave your hamster in the exercise ball for more than 30 minutes, since he will need water soon.

This ball is a 7 inch ball, which is the minimum for a Syrian, and the maximum for a dwarf hamster as well. Both types can use this size ball.

You can check the pricing on Amazon for the ball here.

Digging toys for your hamster

Some hamsters are diggers, some are not. My Teddy isn’t a digger, so I have no bright ideas for digging toys, but I will tell you this.

The bottom of your hamster’s cage/glass tank must be filled with a lot of bedding. A whole lot. The more the better, since the hamster will have a lot of fun digging around.

So don’t skimp on the bedding, give you hamster plenty, something like the width of your palm is good.

You can read nice roundup of the 4 best hamster bedding options out there, and see which would work best for you.

As for which kind of bedding is okay, your safest bet is aspen. But for a more comprehensive talk on the safe and unsafe kinds of bedding for your hamster, check out this article here.

Home-made

I’ve found a great video on Youtube for a home made digging tower for your hamster. You can easily do it at home, just hat you need a few supplies and tools. I’ll link the video here, and you can watch it anytime.

Erin (the lady in the video) is the number one channel I watched in the first few weeks of owning Teddy.

Store bought

A digging tower is easily the best thing for your hammy, an I looked around for a good one on Amazon. Unfortunately there are not many options, but this one seems to be a good one.

It’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit, and you can fill it with whatever kind of bedding your hamster likes. You can look at him through both sides since 2 are transparent. And you’ll be able to see him crawl through the bedding and find the exit.

You can check the Amazon pricing for it here.

Hiding toys for your hamsters

Hamsters live to hide, it’s what they do half the time. So you can give your hamster a lot of options here.

Home-made

Most of these will be toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, or egg cartons. You can put them in your hamster’s cage as is. You can  also cut a few holes in them to make them a sort of maze or puzzle.

Other hiding places for your hammy to use could be very sturdy plastic cups that he can hide in. Just make sure that the plastic is a very hard one. Hamsters will chew on everything, even just to try them out, and soft plastic is not good for them.

Another idea would be those bendy plastic tubes you’d normally attach to the sink, but much wider. The width of the tube must be at least 2.5 inch/7 cm so your hamster can easily fit through it.

You can bend it into all kinds of shapes, and even bury parts of it under the bedding to make for more underground space.

Store bought

Hide and seek toys are always fun, but most of them are too small for a Syrian hamster.

If your hamster is smaller, like a Robo or a Campbell, then most hiding tunnels will fit your hamsters well enough. But here I’ve found a toy that will fit a Syrian as well, and can be enjoyed by all kinds of hamsters.

It’s made of wood, and has a whole lot of entrances and separate exits. Your hamster will be darting in and out of it all day, every day.

You can check its pricing on Amazon here.

Climbing toys for your hamster

Some of the weirdest things a hamster can do is climb. Climb everything. If you’re a new hamster owner, this will probably blow your mind. I know it was complete news to me that hamsters are part spider.

Home-made

Here’s a home-made climbing toy idea for your hamster. Grab a few walnut halves, a long piece of twine, maybe a few pieces of wood, and put a hole in each of those. Feed the twine through all those holes, making a know after each new piece.

At the end you should have a series of walnut halves, pieces of wood, all on a long piece of twine. You can tie the twine to the top of the cage, or use a D-link to fasten it to the top of the cage.

You can also hide a couple of treats in those walnut halves for your hamster to find.

If you don’t have walnuts, you can still use twine and wood pieces, to make a sort of ladder. Popsicle or bamboo skewers are good substitutes too.

Store bought

I’ve found this cute and colored climbing toy for hamsters, along with great reviews on Amazon. It attaches to the top of the cage (like the wire mesh or wire lid).

Your hamster can climb on it, and chew on it as well, since it’s made of wood. It will suit Syrian hamsters and Chinese or Campbells as well.

You can check the pricing on Amazon here.

Simple puzzles for hamsters

Your hammy is a very curious one, even if he doesn’t have the voice to ask about his or that. He still wants to know everything that’s going on, and will investigate thoroughly.

Home-made

Again, most of the home-made puzzles will be made of toilet rolls. They’re the easier, cheapest, and safest material to work with or your hamster’s home-made toys.

One example is a regular toilet roll, cut some strips into it, make them about an inch/2.5 cm long. They should end up looking like large frills, at each end of the toilet roll.

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Teddy’s DYI puzzle toy

Then, one end will be folded so nothing can escape, and you will place a bit of food or treats for your hamster.

Then fold the other end to make sure no food will get out. If you want, you can make the frills longer and twist them together, making it more complicated to open.

Your hamster will hear and smell the food inside and do his best to rip, tear, chew and find a way to open the puzzle.

You can do the same with small boxes, if you have some. whichever tiny boxes made of cardboard are good for him. Place a bit of food in the smallest one, and place as many boxes as you can inside the other, like a russian doll.

Hiding a bit of food into the suspended walnuts I talked about earlier is a great idea too.

Store bought

Unfortunately most of the searches I’ve done came up empty, and the ones I have found are too complex for hamsters.

So in this case it’s best to stick to making your hammy his own puzzle, with a toilet roll and a bit of imagination.

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A word from Teddy

I hope you found some great ideas for us hamsters here ! I know toys for hamsters might be a bit weird to figure out at first, but  you can definitely find ideas around.

Remember that each of us has their own personality, likes, and dislikes. So if I’m a chewer and a runner, maybe your hammy is a digger, or a climber, and needs different toys than me.

If you want to find more info on hamsters, check out the articles below. You’ll find out how much food we need, what kind of home we like, and why we sometimes eat our poo !

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