Can Dwarf Hamsters Climb Ladders?

By Dawn | Hamster Behavior
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Dwarf hamsters are common household pets, but unlike other species, they are much smaller, as their name suggests. 

But this got me thinking – can dwarf hamsters climb ladders in the same way that larger hammies do?

Dwarf hamsters are able to climb, but they may struggle with tubes and ladders that are vertical or on a steep incline. For this reason, a lot of pet owners have developed ways for their hamsters to climb without struggling. 

But adjusting your pet’s home for climbing is just one of the things that you need to think about when housing a dwarf hamster.  Often, you will need to provide other things to make them feel comfortable and happy. So let’s explore this in a little more depth. 

Can Dwarf Hamsters Climb?

There are several species of dwarf hamsters, and these include the Chinese, Campbell’s, Winter White, and the Roborovski, which is the smallest of all of them.  

They are incredibly fast animals, so pet owners could be forgiven for thinking that they are also relatively agile and easily able to climb. 

However, this is not necessarily the case. 

A dwarf hamster will have a much harder time trying to climb things that are often fun for Syrian hamsters, such as vertical or steep tubes and tunnels. 

While there might be common pieces of equipment for larger species, the poor muscle tone and lightweight nature of these dinky hamsters means that they will find them much more challenging. 

However, that is not to say that your dwarf hamster is unable to climb at all. 

There is the option of providing a dwarf hamster with a long ladder that is not very steep, but there are some things to consider if you plan to do this.

Primarily, the angle of the ladder should be no more than 45º, but if you can make it less than this, that’s great. 

Secondly, you should be mindful of how high up the hamster will go; after all, with a taller cage, you could install several low incline ladders for your hammie to reach the top. 

But this may not be a wise idea since they could be seriously injured if they were to fall. 

For this reason, it is not recommended that you place your dwarf hamster’s food supply at a high level in their home. 

If they cannot reach it, they will either give up trying and go hungry or, more likely, in these determined animals, will persist and potentially end up hurt. 

You will also need to think about the material of the ladder. 

Plastic tubes are a no-no for dwarfs, especially the Russian variety. These teeny critters tend to have much furrier feet than other breeds, so getting a good grip on the plastic is almost impossible for them. 

Chinese hamsters are the best climbers out of all of the dwarf species and have been known to manage plastic tubes.

However, for the most part, you will want to make sure that any climbing equipment is made from wood or another material that is easy to grip onto.

What Can I Put In My Dwarf Hamster’s Cage?

When you first think about getting a hamster, you might imagine a fun-looking cage filled with brightly colored climbing tubes and other exercise equipment. 

So, when you learn that this isn’t suitable for your dwarf hammie, you may be disappointed. 

But, don’t despair just yet; dwarf hamsters provide you with a lot of options for cage equipment, and they can be extremely good fun to watch.

It is apparent that you will not be able to install steep tubes or ladders, but you could choose any of the following items that are perfect for your dwarf hamster to exercise and explore.

  • Mazes that feature flat tunnels for running. 
  • A hamster wheel is essential for staying active as the animal would if it were in the wild.
  • Chew toys made from wood and other soft materials since hamster’s teeth continue to grow throughout their whole lives. This means that they need something to gnaw on. 
  • Bridges that do not have a steep incline. These can be found in almost every pet store in the world. 

All of these things make great additions to your dwarf hamster’s home and give them an opportunity to explore. 

However, there are other things to think about when setting up your cage.

Do Dwarf Hamsters Like To Burrow?

Dwarf hamsters love to burrow, perhaps more than Syrians, and for this reason, it is vital that you provide them with a deep substrate and lots of comfortable bedding material. 

Furthermore, these hamsters may be small, but they require a fair amount of floor space in their cage to run around and burrow.  An absolute minimum that is recommended here is 450 square inches.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you need to set up their home as close to how it would be in the wild to make them the happiest. 

In the wild, dwarf hamsters will burrow down into the ground for a variety of reasons. 

They primarily do this to sleep but will also store food under the earth. It may amaze you to learn that these tiny creatures often create a network of tunnels that contain chambers where the hamster will eat, sleep, and hideout. 

Providing your pet with a safe space to do this in captivity is one of the most important things to think about when adopting a dwarf hamster. 

Related Questions

Do dwarf hamsters need a lot of attention?

Despite what many people believe, hamsters are intelligent animals that will form a bond with their owners. They will require a fair amount of attention, and this is even more important if they are housed on their own. It is vital that you spend time with your pet and give them daily care, such as fresh food and water and clean bedding. However, it is not unusual for dwarf hamsters and other varieties to be a little shy when they first move in, so it is worth keeping this in mind and give them the chance to settle before handling them.

How small of a space can a dwarf hamster fit through?

It is very common for dwarf hamsters to squeeze through the bars on a metal cage. Though the space in between the bars does not look big, a dwarf – particularly the miniature Robo hamster, will make light work of getting through these gaps and are therefore brilliant escape artists.  When taking care of a dwarf hamster, it is good to think about the type of cage you will use.