Why Do Hamsters Run on Wheels: Benefits of the wheels, wheels vs saucers

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Hamsters naturally pack lots of energy, which means they also require a lot of exercise. This can be through running on the wheel, tunnels, ladders, burrowing, and playtime on a playpen

Being confined in a cage all day can make your hamster restless. To compensate for the amount of running a hamster does in the wild, which is about 8 km, you can make the cage suitable with some toys like a wheel. For these little critters, running on a wheel is a great exercise, and you should make sure that your fluff pet gets plenty of it.  

But why do hamsters run on wheels? How to choose a hamster wheel? And what are the benefits of running on hamster wheels? We’ll answer everything below. 

ALSO READ: First-timer’s hamster care guide


Why Do Hamsters Run on Wheels

You might not be aware of this, but hamsters can end up having weight problems if they don’t get their exercises or accumulate their needed daily running time. They need exercise from becoming obese and to make up for the running they’d be doing if they lived in their natural habitat.

But why do hamsters run on wheels? Insufficient activity can lead to diabetes, obesity, and paralysis in some hamsters; that’s why you should give them lots of chances to move around and play. Studies show that hamsters can run up to five miles in one go, so if you see your little one running on wheels with no signs of stopping for hours, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

CHECK OUT: Cool and interesting facts about hamsters


  • Running on a wheel keeps your hamster stay in shape
  • It helps to keep the heart healthy
  • Hamsters can ease their boredom by running on wheels, which makes a hamster less anxious, and reduces the chance of stress-related illness, such as Wet Tail
  • Running on wheels satisfies your hamster’s natural running instinct
  • Hamster wheels help avoid diabetes and obesity, providing greater longevity
  • The wheel is vital to stop your hamster from developing back problems
  • Female hamsters with wheels give birth to healthier and more pups than those without

TIP: List of best and safe hamster wheels


There are many reasons why hamsters run on wheels. Hamsters rise from their burrows when the sunset to hunt for food and gather nestling materials. This scavenger instinct is a very natural way for them to scavenge for food miles away from their burrow, and it’s one reason hamsters have high energy levels – hamsters are built for running or constant moving.

When trapped inside a cage, hamsters lose their natural behaviour of running around every night, giving serious negative feedback on their health. Fortunately, hamster wheels are the solution. Your pet can surprisingly run unlimited miles without ever having to leave home.


Why Do Hamsters Run on Wheels

Not all hamster wheels are the same. They are built and designed for different breeds such as the Syrian, Roborovski, and dwarves. What’s important when choosing a specific hamster wheel is to always veer on the side of caution and get the largest wheel possible.

In that way, your hamster will grow with the wheel and save you money in the long run. It’s also vital that the hamster’s back isn’t arching because of the middle of the wheel pin or a wheel that’s too small. Also, opt for a wheel with a solid platform, not mesh or wire. Mesh or wired hamster wheel can cause foot injury. 

Why Do Hamsters Run on Wheels

Syrian Hamster Wheel Size

Syrian wheels should be between 10-12 inches or 25-30 centimetres, with females likely larger than males.  

Chinese, Robo, and Dwarf Hamster Wheel Size

Chinese and Dwarves hamster minimum wheel size is 8 inches or 20 centimetres in diameter. Roborovski is the smallest and the fastest, and they grow no bigger than 2 to 3 inches, so the minimum recommended length is 7 inches or 18 cm diameter of wheel size.

Why Do Hamsters Run on Wheels


Hamster wheels are good old-fashioned running toys made of a slew of materials, but the most common are wood and plastic. This wheel can be installed in the cage via an attachment or have its own sturdy stand. 

Hamster saucers are easy to clean, making them a welcome addition to any hamster cage. It’s a recent addition to the menu of hamster exercising options, and its installation does not have extensive assembly instructions or requirements. Pet shops commonly sell saucers made of a plastic angled saucer that spins and provides a running surface instead of a hamster wheel. Some hamsters like saucers better, while others prefer the more traditional hamster wheel design.

We don’t recommend placing only a hamster saucer alone even you think your hamster might like it more. You can use a hamster wheel only. But if you’re thinking to have a hamster flying saucer, you should also have a hamster wheel installed. In simple terms, hamster saucers are just not enough.


The same goes for hamster saucers, the suitable size for Robovski, Chinese, Dwarf is 16.5 x 8.9 cm (6.5 x 3.5 in) and 30 cm (12 in) for Syrian hamsters.


A hamster wheel is a spinning object which means some parts can get rusty, all you have to do is lubricate its parts regularly to help it rotate more smoothly and eliminate noise.

Apply olive oil to where the wheel meets with the spindle, the oil is safe for your hamster, and that should loosen your hamster’s wheel and rotate much faster.

You can also opt for a silent spinner, but even that needs maintenance to keep it quiet.


The bottom line. Hamsters need exercise just like people. They need to exercise every day to keep themselves fit and stay healthy to protect themselves against diabetes and heart attacks. Hamsters naturally live full of energy, it’s essential to give them enough activities to do in their home to break up the boredom. 

It’s the little efforts that we make that help this tiny creature live more. Many owners provide their hamsters with an exercise wheel, and you need one that’s spacious enough to prevent any complications of the spine as your fluff friend does his or her daily exercise, too!

It’s the little efforts that we make that help this tiny creature live more. Many owners provide their hamsters with an exercise wheel, and you need one that’s spacious enough to prevent any complications of the spine as your fluff friend does his or her daily exercise, too.

I hope you found this article about why do hamsters run on wheels and have answered your questions. If anything is unclear or you want to give out some tips, leave us a comment or question below.


Hamsters run on a wheel as a form of exercise and mental stimulation. Running helps them burn off excess energy, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent boredom, contributing to their overall well-being and contentment. via @thehamstercareblog

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