Adding a hamster wheel to your hamster’s cage is an unavoidable part of the process. In the wild, hamsters run a lot, so they require regular exercise to remain happy.
In your search for the ideal sled for your pet, you’ve no doubt come across many different sizes.
A hamster’s wheel needs to be a certain size. This information is the result of an extensive investigation on our part.
The size of a hamster wheel will be different for each type of pet. Syrian and dwarf hamsters have the most noticeable difference in hamster size.
The s*x of your hamster will also influence the size, with females being larger than males. The wheel should be 8–12 inches in diameter for Syrian hamsters.
The wheel should be at least 6 inches in diameter for dwarf hamsters.
Let’s take a look at some of the variables that can affect the size of your hamster’s cage.
If you’d want to know more about hamster wheels, or if you have any other queries, keep reading!
- How big should a hamster wheel be?
- Why do hamsters need a wheel?
- What Should You Consider When Buying a Hamster Wheel?
- There are two guiding principles when choosing a wheel.
- How Do You Know If Your Hamster’s Wheel Is Too Small?
- Final Words
How big should a hamster wheel be?
It is very important that you don’t give your pet a wheel that is too small.
The less the hamster has to arch its back, and the more it feels like running on flat ground in the wild, the bigger the wheel.
A hamster’s health is in danger if it runs with its back arched.
If you ever see your hamster running with its back arched, you should get them a bigger wheel as soon as you can.
Syrian hamster wheel size
Syrian hamsters should have wheels that are at least 8 inches across.
Dwarf hamster wheel size
We recommend getting a hamster wheel with a diameter of at least 6 inches for Dwarf and Roborovski hamsters.
Of course, bigger wheels are better for all kinds of hamsters. You should try to get your hamster a wheel that is as big as you can.
The main thing that might limit them is the size of their cage, so make sure to measure carefully before buying and also think about the size of the stand for the wheel.
Why do hamsters need a wheel?
A hamster wheel is a must-have for any cage because it gives your hamster a way to exercise even if it doesn’t have much room.
In the wild, a hamster can run several miles in just one night, but they can’t do this in a cage.
With a wheel, your hamster can run for a long time without ever having to leave the house, and all that running makes it able to eat more without getting fat.
Some studies have even said that hamsters with wheels are less likely to chew on their cages.
What Should You Consider When Buying a Hamster Wheel?
The bigger a hamster wheel is, the better it is. Your hamster should spend most of its time running on this wheel, so make sure it’s the right size and keeps your hamster busy.
As was already said, dwarf hamsters need a wheel that is at least 6 inches across.
If you want to leave room in their cage for other toys, you might be tempted to get a small wheel.
However, if you have space, choose a bigger one. Your hamster will grow, so buying a bigger cage now will save you money in the long run.
The largest type of hamster is the Syrian hamster. You have to start with a wheel that is at least 8 inches in diameter, or more if there is room.
If your Syrian hamster is a female, she will probably need an even bigger wheel. When choosing the best wheel, think about the gender of your hamster.
Also, pay attention to how wide the hamster wheel is. If your hamster has a wide stance, you’ll want to make sure that the wheel you buy will let it run easily.
Size depends on more than just how big the wheel is around. The wheel should be a little wider than the length of your hamster’s body.
Most hamster wheels have one side entirely open. There are hamster wheels that have covers on both sides to keep your hamster from flying out of the wheel when it is running very fast.
These kinds of wheels are fine for dwarf hamsters, but they might make your Syrian hamster feel confined and like it can’t move around freely.
Also, it might be hard for your Syrian friend to get in and out.
Even though a mesh or wire wheel is cheap, it is not safe for your hamster to use.
Your hamster’s foot or toes could get caught in the mesh or spaces and get hurt badly, like having a nail ripped off or something worse.
Also, your hamster’s feet might hurt from the uneven surface. The best kind of hamster wheel is one that is built well and isn’t too heavy.
Most hamster wheels are made of wood, steel, or plastic. Wooden hamster wheels last a long time, but they tend to be heavier than plastic ones.
Buy a wheel that won’t break easily if your pet drops it and is light enough that it won’t be too hard for your pet to move.
There are two guiding principles when choosing a wheel.
1. The hamster’s back does not arch when running on the wheel.
A hamster, on average, runs up to 8 km a night. Covering such distances with a bent back is uncomfortable and may lead to long-term back damage.
Your hamster will also find difficulty gaining momentum when running on the wheel when it is not of an appropriate size.
2. The wheel should also have a solid track and not be barred or woven to prevent buckling.
Meshed and wire wheels are often popular with new pet owners as they are readily available and cheap to purchase. These wheels are dangerous for several reasons:
- Your hamster’s leg or foot could get easily stuck in the gaps of the wheels as it spins – which can cause serious injury
- A hamster’s toenails/claws can also get stuck in meshed wheels and ripped out
- The uneven surface of the wheel can also aggravate any potential small cuts – causing infections and bumblefoot
How Do You Know If Your Hamster’s Wheel Is Too Small?
Your hamster wheel is too small if your hamster has to arch its back to run on it.
If you let your hamster run with its back arched, it will be in a lot of pain, so if you notice this, you should move it up to a bigger cage.
When your hamster runs, its back should be flat.
If your hamster doesn’t use its wheel, it’s probably because it doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. Change the shape or size right away.
Some hamsters are picky, so it might take a few tries to find the one they like best.
Start with the biggest one possible to avoid wasting money, but make sure the wheel is still light enough for your hamster to move.
First of all, you need to think about how big your hamster is and how big it could grow, and you should always get the biggest wheel you can.
Second, you should think about what time of day your hamster is most active.
Some styles are quieter than others, so these might be better for runners who like to go out at night.
Last, you should think about how easy it is to clean the wheel since hamsters can be messy.