Why Do Hamsters Run On The Exercise Wheel?

Getting a pet hamster comes with the responsibility of ensuring the animal is well fed and exercised. While most pet owners invest in the best food for their hamsters, most ignore the need for exercise.

Hamsters are smaller than other domesticated pets and can comfortably live in a tabletop cage. Even so, their surroundings should have enough room and implements to meet their exercising needs.

An exercise wheel is among the first things to include in your hamster cage. In the wild, hamsters are quite active when awake. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), hamsters run for up to five miles daily in their natural environments.

To keep them comfortable and healthy in their cages, you should include an exercise wheel on which they can run to cover as many miles as they do in the wild.

Here are guidelines for buying the right hamster exercise wheel and understanding why you need one.

Do Hamsters Need An Exercise Wheel?

Yes, hamsters need a running wheel. To some pet owners, hamsters running on the exercise wheel might seem like a negative response to captivity or unnatural behavior.

The running on an exercise wheel for hamsters nonetheless matches their actions in the wild and is entirely normal. These animals are quite active in their natural environments, where they spend most of their time burrowing, running around, and gathering food.

Hamsters also have a high predator instinct since, in the wild, they are prey to several animals. They are thus wired to run so that they can stay alive. The exercise wheel in your cage helps them maintain the behaviors in their natural environments in captivity.

Why Do Hamsters Run On The Exercise Wheel Only At Night?

In the wild, hamsters mostly operate at night to escape predators and daytime heat. You might see some pet owners say that this behavior makes the animals nocturnal. Hamsters are, however, crepuscular rather than nocturnal.

This means that hamsters are most likely to be active and awake at dusk or dawn. Like humans, hamsters have their sleeping patterns, and they might not all be awake at the same time.

Their crepuscular nature means that the hamsters will be most active on their exercise wheels at night. The noise and disturbance this might generate necessitate the location of a hamster’s cage away from sleeping quarters for light sleepers.

How to Choose an Exercise Wheel for Your Hamster?

The notion that any hamster wheel will suffice for your pet is misplaced. You should consider several elements to guarantee the wheel you choose matches your hamster’s needs. Below are tidbits on some of these considerations:

  • Size: For a Syrian hamster, an 8-inch minimum wheel diameter will be enough while a wheel of at least six inches diameter will suffice for Roborovski and dwarf hamsters. It is better to get a larger wheel than one that is too small for your hamster. A wheel that is excessively large for your hamster nevertheless causes it to excessively arch its back, leading to multiple health issues.
  • Stability: You would not want your pet to topple over when on the exercise wheel. To guarantee this does not happen, opt for a stable wheel. Some wheels come with a built-in stand, whereas others will be fixed to the hamster’s cage. Both of these options boost the exercise wheel’s stability. Some wheels also feature non-slip materials to increase their balance.
  • Noise level: The last thing you want is a squeaky wheel since your pet will spend a lot of time on it at night. Fortunately, the many silent hamster wheel brands on the market guarantee a quiet night for your household.
  • Durability: It is worth spending top dollar on the best possible exercise wheel for your hamster if it will last for your pet’s lifetime.

You do not have to hassle trying to find a hamster wheel that mirrors the above qualities. The Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner wheel is among your best alternatives on the market.

Exercise Wheel Alternatives for Hamsters

If you are on the market for the best hamster wheel for your pet, the process has been eased with the following review of the two best options on the market:

– Flying Saucer Wheel by Ware Manufacturing

When keeping several hamsters in one cage, you should ensure they all get enough exercise. Instead of getting multiple traditional hamster wheels, opt for a flying saucer wheel.

This has a flat surface that can accommodate several hamsters at once, making it perfect for those like dwarf hamsters that love running together.

The flying saucer hamster wheel is your ideal choice. Its 7.25-inch diameter can accommodate several dwarf hamsters, and its solid running surface prevents the snagging of your pet’s feet.

The flying saucer hamster wheel from Ware Manufacturing Inc. is also easy to clean and runs quietly. It, however, might be too small for several Syrian hamsters.

– Run-About Exercise Ball by Kaytee

Exercise balls make ideal alternatives to wheels if you want your hamster to run in a larger area or give it the chance to explore the same way it would in the wild.

It nonetheless is best to combine the exercise wheel and ball to reduce your hamster’s boredom and maximize its exercise.

The Kaytee run-about exercise ball is among your best choices. It has a seven-inch diameter and can be easily used in tight spaces. The exercise ball also forms a perfect place for your hamster to rest in as you clean its cage.

The Kaytee run-about ball that glows in the dark is an ideal fit for dwarf and Roborovski hamsters. Its close-fitting caps can, however, make it hard to open.

Wrapping Up

With the right amount of exercise, you need not worry about stress and diseases like wet tail in hamsters.

Hamster wheels will also minimize the gnawing on cage bars by your pet. With the above information, you now understand why your hamster needs exercise and can buy the right exercise wheel for it.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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