44 Hamster Enrichment Ideas to Make Your Hamster Happy

Living in a cage is boring! At least it is without any enrichment activities for your hamster. Here are 44 hamster enrichment ideas!

Enrichment allows animals in captivity to express their species-specific instincts, wants, and desires. It allows them to have fun!

Why add enrichment to your hamster’s life?

hamster enrichment benefits

  • It reduces stress and boredom (and associated behaviors like bar chewing, pacing, overgrooming)
  • It increases health both psychologically and physically
  • It makes your hamster happy and gives them an interesting and fulfilling life

We owe it to our hamsters to give them fun enrichment activities to enjoy while they are in their cages. Sometimes it’s hard to think of new ideas. So we put together this EPIC guide of every idea we could think of, including fun pictures and videos for inspiration. Here we go!

P.S. One quick plug before we get started – If you subscribe to Pocket Pet Box you’ll never run out of ideas with enrichment activities sent to you monthly!

 

Eating and Foraging

hamster eating food

Wild hamsters spend a lot of time foraging and looking for their food. When we give our pet hamsters food delivered straight to their food bowl, they get bored! Give them an opportunity to forage around and look for their food. Studies have shown that animals actually prefer food that they have “earned” by working to get it, in comparison to “free” food that is just given to them.

Food Placement Ideas

Place your hamster’s food in different locations to encourage foraging behavior. Here are some ideas:

  1. Scatter your hamster’s food throughout cage
  2. Put food on ledges to encourage your hamster to search up high
  3. Bury food in bedding to encourage your hamster to search down low
  4. Hang skewers with food from the top of your hamster’s cage for a new angle to think about
  5. Put food on a teeter totter for your hamster to practice balance and movement

 

Food Toys

Toys can encourage hamsters to search for food and problem solve on how to get the food out. This can provide hours of entertainment. If you have a dog and are familiar with Kongs and puzzle toys, this is the equivalent for hamster enrichment!

6. Hanging toy with cups that contain food treats

7. Put food in a small paper or cardboard box for your hamster to open like a present

8. Put treats inside a toilet paper roll and fold in the sides

 

9. Cut up a toilet paper tube and create a small ball with treats inside

10. Mix together flour and water to create a hamster safe “glue” and paint it over the outside of a toilet paper tube. Dip the tube in a seed mix to make them stick. This creates a fun toy for your hamster to work to get the seeds off!

11. Create a dough with flour and water and flatten into a pancake. Add seeds to the center and fold into a ball. Your hamster will have fun chewing this open to figure out how to eat the seeds inside this special treat!

12. Put treats inside of an empty cardboard egg carton. You can cut some holes inside to make it a little easier, or they can work on chewing it open

 

Food Types

You would be bored eating the same thing every day, so would your hamster! Provide a variety of new (hamster safe) foods for your little guy to try out. Here are a few categories to think about:

13. Foraging mix with dried herbs and plants

14. Fresh fruits and vegetables

15. Dried fruits and vegetables

16. Protein sources like mealworms

17. Seeds (like sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

18. Treats (commercially available or DIY)

19. Natural millet sprays

20. Create a hamster buffet with a variety of foods that have different colors and textures

21. Grow sprouts for hamster snacking

Chewing and Gnawing

Hamsters have teeth that grow continuously, so it’s important to always provide options in your hamster’s cage for chews and things to gnaw on. Here are some ideas:

22. Natural twigs like willow

23. Fruit twigs like pear and apple

24. Edible chews like Whimzees

25. Hanging chew toys

26. Peanut with the shell on

27. For a similar but slightly more difficult challenge, give a walnut with the shell on (or other hamster safe nuts)

 

Nesting

In the wild, hamsters burrow underground and create nests using cozy materials they find. Encourage this behavior by providing things in their cages that they can use to make comfy nests.

28. Tear various sizes of toilet paper and scatter it in the cage for your hamster to collect

View this post on Instagram

Three cages done✔️☺️👍🏻

A post shared by Hamsters Of Sweden (@hamstersofsweden) on

29. Offer a variety of hides in different sizes and materials so that your hamster has choices on where to build their bed

Digging, Burrowing, and Hiding

Wild hamsters will dig to create different “rooms” in their living space, so it’s important to give your hamster this opportunity in their cage as well.

30. Offer plenty of bedding – 6-8 inches of bedding is typically recommended

31. Digging box – Buy or make a box filled with bedding that a hamster can climb into and dig

32. Hides and bridges – Offer lots of different types of hides and bridges in your hamster’s cage so that they can choose what they want to use each one for, and have plenty of things to climb under

33. Tubes – Place tubes made out of various materials and sizes in your hamster’s cage for them to crawl through

34. Underground hides and tubes – Bury or slightly cover up some of your hamster’s hides and tubes so that your hamster can discover them while they burrow

35. Collect tubes (like toilet paper tubes) and set them up all at once in a play area for your hamster to explore. Add small treats inside for extra encouragement:

View this post on Instagram

Having fun with the tunnels! 😄

A post shared by 🐾Daily life of my hammies🐾 (@wellyhamsters) on

36. Give your hamster a maze with food rewards in various places for encouragement to explore

Running

37. Wheel: A wheel in your hamster’s cage is mandatory enrichment because hamsters have a requirement to run every day! Make sure that you have an appropriately sized wheel in your hamster’s cage at all times. If the wheel is too small, you will see their back bend, which hurts their backs!

38. Flying Saucer: Some hamsters enjoy flying saucers in addition to their regular wheels. Also make sure that these are appropriately sized so that their backs don’t bend sideways while running!

 

Bathing

39. Sand Bath (make sure you use sand and not dust!)

View this post on Instagram

🐹💬: i’m jus a smol baked potato havin a sand bath ~ Peach🍑

A post shared by Peach🐹🍑 (@tiny.hamster.adventures) on

Exploring

40. Out of Cage time in playpen: Create a safe space for your hamster to run around outside of their cage. Make sure to create an enclosed space that the hamster cannot escape, and provide plenty of toys and hidey spots for your hamster in the playpen!

41. Different substrates in your hamster’s cage can make it interesting for your hamster to explore different textures, as well as different smells. Try paper-based bedding (like Carefresh), wood shavings (make sure it is safe like aspen – no pine), coconut fiber, sand, or hay.

 

Interacting

Our pets also get enrichment by interacting with us!

42. Tame your hamster so that you become friends! By default, hamsters are afraid of humans. It takes a lot of food and treats to get your hamster used to you, but it’s worth it!

43. Train your hamster to jump through a hoop. Use food to train your hamster to follow you through a hoop!

 

 

44. Hamster Agility. You can create an obstacle course and use treats to train your hamster how to navigate it.

 

Prioritize Enrichment!

Enrichment is so important for your hamster’s health and happiness, so it should be a main priority for your hamster’s care. Use these 44 ideas to get started providing different types of enrichment for your hamster.

And if you want to have someone help pick out enrichment ideas for you every month, sign up for Pocket Pet Box to have adorable enrichment items sent to your hamster!

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