DIY Toys for Rodents

Critter toys from the pet shop can get expensive, so here are some great do-it-yourself ideas and instructions on how to make unique toys your mice, rats, hamsters, and other small animals will love!  Keep in mind when building or creating toys - all materials need to be safe to consume, and try to eliminate any risks of your pet getting caught or strangled in the toy.

Repurposing Other Items
Be creative - your rodent will love it!  Old sanitized baby toys make great hanging and climbing toys.  Some rodents love bells in their playthings, or other jingly bits, but make sure that anything within it cannot be ripped out or swallowed.  Puzzle-like toys with one trapped inside of another are a huge success with my rats, as well as hanging rings large enough for them to fit through.  Old washed milk or water jugs with a door cut out, pots, and paper bowls with holes cut in them are also every-day items that make excellent toys and hides.  Also, if you do visit a pet store in the search for new and interesting toys, don't forget to check the other aisles.  Reptile hides or climbing branches, coconut husks, bird hanging and perching toys, jingling cat toys, woven bird nests and wooden nestboxes, and even fish decorations make wonderful toys for rodents!

The Amazing Cardboard Tube
This is probably the most common plaything for everything small and furry, but there's a lot more you can do with it than just putting a paper towel or toilet paper tube in the cage (although this is frequently enough!).  One great idea is to hang it - run a piece of thin rope through the tube, then tie it to separate points on the roof of the cage, letting it hang low enough that they can reach it.  Make sure you've secured it to take the weight of your pet and then some.  Voila!  You can also hide a treat in the tube, then stuff it on either side with crinkly plain paper, tissues, or toilet paper.  Don't forget the paper itself is an awesome toy for them to rip apart and play with!

Creative Hide-Outs
Tissue boxes with the plastic film removed make terrific hide-outs.  To make it more interesting, you can line up (on top of or next to each other) several small boxes and cut holes for them to open up into each other.  Either attach with a toilet paper tube or a safe-to-consume adhesive.  You can also make mazes out of tubes and small containers!  Other great materials to use for hides and mazes include cardboard boxes (such as cereal boxes or the ones sodas come in), cardboard egg crates large jars or cans that have been thoroughly washed, and even crinkly paper bags.

PVC tubes open up a whole new world of exploration!  You can just put a piece in for them to run through or hide in, or it can lead to a box, another part of the cage, or even to a hammock.  Crinkly tubes are also fun, or you can make your own fabric tube out of fleece or old sleeves or pant legs from clothing.  You can sew in rings of some variety to help it stay open, but make sure however you create it that your little rodent friend can't get stuck in it! 

Popsicle Stick Playgrounds
This is my favorite toy to make, and my favorite one to give, too!  So far I've only used it for mice, but I imagine it would transfer well to other small rodents.  You can find popsicle sticks in bulk for a few bucks at a craft store, and you will also need a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks (Parent supervision!).  Personally I use the plain ones, because I don't know if the dye in colored popsicle sticks is harmful, and mice are colorblind anyways.  :)!  You can make it however complicated, tall, or long as you want, with as many levels as you want, and you can even make two separate structures and connect them with a tube.  It will probably be chewed to shreds in a week or so, so be prepared to throw it out and maybe make a new, different one as needed.  This works great for my mice, since they get a new playground every time, and I don't have to clean it!  Remember to not leave more hot glue exposed than you have to, and pull all the strings off when you're done.  It's safe to use, but if they eat a lot of it blockages could occur simply because it is not digestible.

Here are some examples of structures I've built, feel free to copy:

Making squares and then adding sideways sticks allows you to make more platforms.  Adding a little nook at the bottom also lets one pet hide underneath the toy while others climb upwards.

The simple hut with a door.  You can glue the sticks slightly apart so you can see inside if you'd like, while still giving them the feel of privacy.

My mice love to sleep in the tube!  Don't forget that the tops of toys can be just as much fun as the middle, so little platforms up top can be really fun.

This one is awesome!  The more levels, hides, and tunnels, the more fun it is for them to explore!

There you have it!  There are all kinds of entertainment for your little pet just lying around.  Get creative, and watch your them go wild!

See you next time, and happy building!
Miss Mouse
<:3 )~

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