One of the most popular pets in the US, UK and Europe is the Hamster. They are generally very easy to care for and make great little furry companions making them a great choice for families with young children.
Although care is pretty straightforward there are still a few questions that you may have. One of the first questions is,
“Does a Hamster need a wheel?“
“Will a Hamster die without a wheel?“
They’re valid questions and very important if you want to give your Hamster the best care possible.
So this guide is going to give you the answers to those questions with lots of interesting details.
I have owned Hamsters in the past so I have lots of personal experience on the topic.
Can A hamster die if it does not have a wheel?
I feel like many worried hamster owners will have come here for the answer to this question. So without any messing around I am just going to let you know.
Will a hamster die without a wheel? Hamsters are very inquisitive and curious little rodents that have bundles of energy. They use wheels to keep occupied and burn off some of the built up energy. If they do not have a wheel they can become very stressed, bored and withdrawn and this can lead to death before their time.
So there you have the quick answer. It is pretty essential that hamsters have a wheel in their cage as without it they could die an early death unfortunately.
Why do hamsters need wheels?
I briefly mentioned above that hamsters are little fluffy bundles of energy. They really do not like to sit around doing nothing.
From personal experience of watching my pet hamsters I can tell you first hand that they are always on the move. Scurrying around, eating and drinking. In fact the only time they are stationary is when they are sleeping.
Here is a fun Fact for you: Hamsters sleep for only 6-8 hours per day and this is during daylight hours. The rest of the time they are highly active.
Quite often a Hamsters cage may not be big enough to keep it happy and give it enough room to exercise and explore. For this reason it is absolutely essential that your pet Hamster has a wheel in its cage to run on.
Having a wheel in its cage is important as it will allow it to exercise, keep occupied, stop stress from building and also keep it healthy. This in turn will allow your hamster to live a long and fulfilled life.
Are hamster wheels dangerous?
There are quite a few rumours and misconceptions about hamsters and hamster wheels.
It is often said that hamster wheels are dangerous, but is this the case? In certain situations a hamster wheel could cause injuries to your pet. If two of more hamsters share the cage one may get trapped under or around the wheel whilst the other is exercising on it.
There is also another danger that could injure your hamster.
You should make sure to buy a plastic solid surface, ribbed wheel instead of the metal wire type. This is because your hamster could trap and break its limbs in the metal wire type wheel if it misplaces its feet on the rungs.
How long can a hamster be without a wheel?
If for some reason your hamster is going to be without a wheel you maybe wondering how long it can last.
Well unfortunately there is not a set time that I can give you. Although I would say that it is not really fair to keep it from a hamster wheel for more than a few days unless it is absolutely necessary.
It may become very unhappy, stressed and even rather withdrawn if it cannot burn of excess energy and run around for to long.
There are times in which you may need to remove the wheel for safety reasons, such as for transportation. Just remember to put the wheel back in the hamster cage as soon as possible and everything will be OK.
Can you remove a hamster wheel at night?
This is a big question that I here quite often from new owners of pet hamsters.
You will generally find that hamster wheels are quite noisey and they love to run on them at night, usually when you are trying to sleep!
So can you remove a Hamsters wheel at night? Removing a Hamsters wheel at night is a bad idea. Hamsters are nocturnal rodents and as such do much of their exercise and activities on their wheels at night. If the noise of the wheel disturbs your sleep, try moving the Hamster cage to a different room instead of removing the wheel.
I learnt the hard way when I was younger that keeping a hamster in your bedroom is a bad idea.
I was kept awake for many night by my pet hamster running for what seemed like hours in the dead of night.
I soon realised that that best option was to actually move the Hamsters cage to a different room where he could run as much as he wanted on his wheel at night without disturbing me.
Just make sure that where you move the cage to is safe and away from other pets such as cats. Also make sure that the room does not get to hot or cold at night.
How do hamsters know to run on a wheel?
You may look at your hamster on its wheel and think to yourself ” how does it know to run on the wheel?”
You are not alone and it is one of those puzzling things in life however what we do know is that:
Hamsters naturally enjoy running, it is something they do in the wild for fun, enjoyment and exercise. When they run and exercise they get a rush of endorphins ( Just like we do) which they enjoy and this drives them on to keep running more.
What is absolutely crazy to think about is that Hamsters that have been part of a scientific study were noted to have run up to 8km per night on their hamster wheels, over a period of hours. In the wild hamsters are also known to run up to 10km per night when they are active.
Hopefully after reading this guide you will have realised the importance of getting a hamster wheel installed in your pets cage.
I can’t emphasise how much your hamster will need one.
Make sure that you get one that is safe for your pet and is made from a solid plastic surface.
Thanks for reading and I hope your enjoy some more guides and articles here at Super Crazy Pets.
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.