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Everything You Need to Know About Hamster Wheels

Hamster wheels are probably the first or second thing you think of when you think of a hamster. That’s how synonymous they are with our furry little friends. As we’ve covered in previous articles, hamsters have a ton of energy and they need a safe and reliable way to get rid of that energy. And without a doubt, there’s no better way than with a hamster wheel.

A hamster wheel is known as a toy, but that implies it may be optional. The truth is that if you have a hamster you should absolutely have a wheel for them to run on. It will help keep them active, healthy, engaged, and more. So don’t see it as an optional addition to their cage, but something that they should have today.

There’s so much to know about hamster wheels, such as why they’re important, how your hamster uses them and more. And we’re hoping to cover the most common and important questions that are often asked about the hamster toy.

So without further ado, we’ll get into the important content, but as with all of our articles, feel free to click on any of the links in the table of contents below to be taken directly to that section.

Table of Contents

    Does a Hamster Need a Wheel?

    Does a hamster need a wheel

    A hamster needs a wheel to give them an outlet for their seemingly endless energy. The wheel allows them to run, exercise, and stay active in a small cage where they typically otherwise wouldn’t be able to stay active.

    This is a fairly common question when it comes to first time hamster owners because a wheel has become synonymous with hamsters. And yes, your hamster needs a wheel in their cage. The reason is that a wheel will give them an outlet for their energy.

    Hamsters are in fact cute little balls of energy and fur. They have so much energy and they need to get that energy out to remain happy and live a fulfilling life. That’s where the hamster wheel comes in because they live most of their life in a small cage. It would be hard to stay active and get rid of all that energy without the wheel.

    So yes, your hamster needs a wheel and so do all the other hamsters out there that live in cages. How else will they get their energy out?

    How Long Can a Hamster Go Without a Wheel?

    A hamster can go a day or two without a wheel, but because it’s such an important part of their active daily lifestyle it’s important that they get back to using it as soon as possible.

    How long can a hamster go without a wheel

    As we mentioned in the last section, every hamster needs a wheel to get rid of all that energy they have piled up inside their little bodies. However, sometimes you need to take that wheel out of their cage and wash it or maybe it breaks and needs to be replaced. Often times we just need to take that wheel out of their cage for some reason.

    If you need to do that, we highly recommend getting a wheel back in their cage within a day or two. If your hamster is using that wheel every day or multiple times per day, they probably rely on it to get rid of all that energy they have. And when you take the wheel away, they have no way to exert that energy. That energy can then turn to restlessness or anxiety, which are two negative feelings for a hamster.

    So as a result, don’t keep a hamster away from their wheel for more than a day or two. Anymore than that and they may start exhibiting negative behaviors that will affect their quality of life.

    My Hamster Doesn’t Use His Wheel. What’s Wrong?

    my hamster doesn't use his wheel

    If your hamster doesn’t use their wheel, they may not be interested in extended exercise and that’s okay. Exercise is important for your hamster, but only if they have extra energy that they need to expel.

    You may find that your hamster doesn’t use their wheel as much as you would expect. If that’s happening, look for other signs of distress to understand if there’s an actual problem or just a preference for relaxation instead of exercise.

    Is your furry friend not eating? Not drinking? Biting the cage? Not being active at all?

    If you answered yes to any of those questions AND your hamster doesn’t use their wheel, they may have a larger health condition that needs to be addressed. And it’s most easily and effectively addressed by your veterinarian. Any potential adverse health conditions should be addressed ASAP. So make an appointment with the vet and if your hamster is really sick, get them back up and running on their favorite wheel!

    Hamster Runs on Wheel for Hours. Is That Okay?

    hamster runs on wheel for hours

    Generally, it’s fine for a hamster to run on its wheel for several hours. Hamsters naturally have a lot of energy and need to expel that energy and maintain their physical health, which is why a hamster wheel is the most popular toy for their cage.

    One thing you should keep in mind though is that the wheel is appropriate for your little, furry friend. You need to make sure it’s the right size, spins effectively, and has no obstacles that would block it. While this seems obvious, it’s often easy to overlook minor issues.

    However, a wheel isn’t the only type of activity and enrichment your hamster needs. Other types of toys, hiding places, and space to roam is important to keep them engaged and healthy in their enclosure. If you aren’t sure whether you’re providing enough activity, you should monitor their behavior to ensure the hamster isn’t exhausted or stressed out.

    If you’re worried about their behavior, you can read more in this article about common behavior in your hamster and talk to your veterinarian for their professional opinion.

    My Hamster is Sleeping in Their Wheel

    It’s not a bad thing for your hamster to sleep in their wheel. Hamsters will often sleep anywhere after a long night of being active and running around in their wheel.

    hamster is sleeping in their wheel

    However, just because your hamster sleeps in their wheel doesn’t make it a reliable replacement for a regular bed. You should ensure that they have a comfortable and quiet place to sleep during the day, such as a plastic igloo or other enclosure. The enclosure should be private since hamster’s like to be tucked away from danger while sleeping. It should also be comfortable with plenty of bedding for them to rest easy.

    A wheel may be a chosen napping place, but it’s not the same as a restful area. Just imagine you sleeping on your couch 24/7 vs. having a comfortable, big bed to sleep on. One is a nice place to nap from time to time, but you don’t want it to be your primary sleeping area.

    If you are worried about your hamster’s sleeping habits and whether they are healthy or comfortable, ensure that they have a good place to sleep first. And if needed consult a veterinarian who can provide a more thorough and accurate assessment of your hamster’s health.

    My Hamster Keeps Falling Off the Wheel

    If your hamster keeps falling off their wheel it may be for a number of different reasons, such as the wheel isn’t secure, your hamster may be sick, injured, or old, or the wheel could be too big or too small. Let’s take a look at each of those reasons in more depth:

    hamster keeps falling off the wheel
    Is the wheel not secure?

    If the wheel is not secure and doesn’t hold steady when the hamster runs on it, they will likely lose their balance and fall off. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure to anchor the wheel to the side or bottom of the cage.

    Is your hamster sick or injured?

    If your hamster is sick or injured, they may have difficulty maintaining their balance and staying on the wheel. If you know your hamster is not doing well, it may help to remove the wheel from their cage until they are back to full health to avoid further injuries.

    Is your hamster getting older?

    Your hamster may just be getting old and it is more difficult for them to run on the wheel.

    Is the wheel the wrong size?

    If the wheel is too small or too big, your hamster may have difficulty running on it and maintaining a steady speed. If this happens, they may fall off, so it’s best to get the right size wheel for your hamster.

    If your hamster is regularly falling off their wheel, you should try to understand why it’s happening and resolve the issue. Sometimes the fix is easy like getting the right size wheel or securing it, but other times if your hamster is getting old there’s not much you can do other than to get less intense toys.

    As always, if the problem persists over time, you should consult with a veterinarian who may be able to provide more useful advice specific to your situation.

    How to Make a Hamster Wheel Quiet

    There are many ways to make your hamster wheel run quieter when your furry friend is getting in a workout. Here are some tips to make a hamster wheel quieter:

    how to make hamster wheel quiet
    1. Use a soft surface as the base: By placing the hamster wheel on a softer surface, such as a small mat or piece of foam, it will absorb some of the noise, thus making it run quieter.
    2. Check for loose parts: If there are any loose screws or parts moving that shouldn’t be, that can cause extra noise and rattling that is bothersome. Ensure that all parts are tightened as they should be so there is no unwarranted noise.
    3. Add extra padding: If you can keep the wheel secure, but add extra padding so it doesn’t bang against the sides or bottom of the cage, you can likely reduce any extra or annoying noise.
    4. Consider a different type of wheel: Some wheels are quieter than others and if noise is a concern, look for wheels that have a rubber tread or are solid on the sides, which are generally quieter.

    While making the hamster wheel quieter is a desire for most folks, ensure that your primary concern is the safety and reliability of the wheel first. Always ensure that it’s sturdy, won’t fall over, and all the parts are tightened and secure. Then you can consider any of the tips above to make the wheel quieter.

    Additional Reading

    There’s lots more to know about hamster wheels, but hopefully this article helped provide a high level overview. If you’re looking for more information or related products, here are a few related articles that can be of great use:


    And there you have it! A full article on what we consider one of the most important components for any hamster cage. And we hope we’ve convinced you why that’s the case by answering the most common questions about hamster wheels.

    Hamsters need their wheels for exercise, engagement, activity, and more. They should be in every hamster’s cage without exception. With how much energy our furry little friends have, there’s no better way to help them use up that energy to live an active and engaged life.

    As always, we hope you enjoyed reading the article and found some pieces of information you’ll take with you to improve your hamster’s life.