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Fun With Hamster Tubes

Updated on February 20, 2011

They’re round, they come in different colors, and snap or twist together. People put them together to form mazes, circles, loop d’ loops, and skyscrapers. I’m talking about hamster tubes (or funnels, as one company likes to call them). Once your hamster gets used to your tube arrangement, it can spend hours running through it. And it’s a lot more fun to watch than hammy going round and round in an exercise wheel.

Some people use just a few pieces of the tubes and put them inside their hamster cage. You can still have some twists, turns, circles, or multi-level tubes. But some people go wild and build tube worlds that go outside the hamster cage and all around rooms.

In either case, if you’re thinking about building a hamster tube city here are some things to think about.

Flickr photo by Bill McChesney
Flickr photo by Bill McChesney | Source

Tube Size

Will your hamster fit inside the tubes?

Golden, Teddy Bear, and Syrian hamsters are the best type hamsters to have when you’re using tubes. They’re used to burrowing and climbing and are big enough to be able to grab on to the ridges that are in many of the tubes.

But if these hamsters start eating too much and get fat, start keeping too much food in their pouches, or get pregnant, watch out. They can actually get too big to fit inside the tubes. The biggest problem is them getting stuck inside a tube. It happens! Then you may have to break the tube to get your hamster out.

So keep on eye on your hamster as it’s crawling through the tubes. Make sure he or she is not getting too large to fit around a corner.

What about dwarf hamsters? The problem here is that some tubes don’t have ridges so they’re all smooth. Then the dwarf can’t get a grip on the tube, especially if it is going straight up in the air. If your dwarf can’t climb, it may decide to abandon the tubes and not use them at all.

There are tubes that have smaller diameters and ridges. These will be easier for your dwarf hamsters to climb through.

Putting the hamster tubes together

One of the toughest jobs may be putting your tube pieces together.  Based on all the online reviews, this is the biggest problem with hamster tubes.  You will probably have to work slowly and carefully as you put each piece together – especially if you want to have lots of twists and turns in your tubes.

And don’t even think about using glue to keep them together.  The chemicals in the glue can be very harmful for your hamster.  What’s more, when it’s time to clean the tubes, you won’t be able to take them apart without breaking them.

Some people try taping the tube pieces together, but tape doesn’t usually stick well.  Loose pieces will just make it easier for your hamster to gnaw his way through the plastic tube.  Yes, if the tubes are not put together well, your hamster will definitely try to chew its way through and escape.

So read the instructions and be patient when putting the tubes together.

Check the tubes

It’ll be fun watching your hamster explore its tube maze.  But you need to give your hamster tubes a good inspection every once in a while.  First, because the tubes are plastic, they may get cracked with a lot of use.  Also, your hamster may be gnawing on certain spots on the tubes, making them weaker.  So you have to check for places where the tubes are broken or offer a place for your hamster to escape.  If you find a broken or weak piece, replace it for your hamster’s safety.

Another reason to check the tubes is that your hamster may be leaving food in the tubes.  Dry food may not be a problem.  But if it’s fresh food, like a grape, it can start to rot.  Best to remove any food before it goes bad.

Clean the tubes

Some hamsters may decide to use the tubes for a bathroom. But even if that doesn’t happen, eventually the tubes will get scratched and dirty and will need to be cleaned.

This means carefully pulling all the pieces apart without breaking them. Then you need to wash each piece with soap and water. Chemical cleaners are not recommended as they can leave a residue on the plastic. This can make your hamster sick.

Then, of course, you have to put all the pieces back together. This might be a good time to change the way the tubes are connected so you can challenge your hamster with a new maze.


You can get very creative with hamster tubes.  Look at some of the You Tube videos to get ideas about how you can put yours together.


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