Giving your hamster a tour of the house in a bright plastic ball might seem like a great idea, though many are divided on hamster ball safety. If you’re asking the question are hamster balls safe, you’re in the right place. I explored what some of the top pet resources around have to say on the topic.
Are Hamster Balls Safe?
- 1 Are Hamster Balls Safe?
- 2 Precautions for Using a Hamster Exercise Ball (If You Must)
- 3 Consider Alternative Exercise Options
- 4 References
The simple answer is no, hamster exercise balls can be dangerous and here’s a few reasons why:
They Limit your Hamsters Senses
Due to limited eye sight, hamsters are heavily reliant on their sense of touch, smell and hearing when moving around to gain an understanding of their environment. One of the main concerns raised by the RSPCA is that being inside a ball can limit a hamster’s use of their primary senses. This could cause stress and discomfort for your hamster.
Wheels Deny Their Basic Needs
Hamster exercise balls prevent them accessing basic necessities such as water, food and bedding. This is another point that could cause your hamster unnecessary distress and anxiety.
Can Cause Injury
As those of you with hamster wheels will know, hamsters will run to their hearts content and then some. This works fine in a continuously revolving wheel but when you use a ball they’ll run into obstacles. Hamsters can move an exercise ball at some speed which makes them vulnerable to injury should they crash into a piece of furniture.
Precautions for Using a Hamster Exercise Ball (If You Must)
Although I wouldn’t personally recommend using a hamster exercise ball but naturally, not everyone will listen. If you insist on using one, you should at least take precautions to ensure you’re doing so as safely as possible. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to ensure you’re using a hamster ball as safely as possible.
Create an Enclosed Space
Make sure you create a safe space for using the exercise ball away from anything that could harm it. This could include (but isn’t limited to) avoiding furniture it can bump into, steps it could fall down or other pets that could scare your hamster. Something like a padded playpen would be ideal, as this concealed space should help to prevent your hamster from bumping into anything that could damage it.
Ensuring that the hamster ball has plenty of ventilation is an absolute must. Your hamster’s droppings produce ammonia and ventilation is needed for fresh air, not to mention to reduce heat. Look for a hamster ball with plenty of holes to give your hamster enough ventilation.
Ever noticed how quickly your car interior heats up when it’s sat in the sun for a while? Never let your hamster use the exercise ball in direct sunlight. The ball should really only be used in a shaded or cool area, this will help prevent your hamster overheating inside the ball.
Never leave your hamster in it’s ball unsupervised no matter what. You shouldn’t even leave it alone in the presence of your children. You always need to be aware of what your hamsters doing when it’s outside the cage, and alert to any danger (even if danger seems highly unlikely).
Consider Alternative Exercise Options
Hamsters are often depicted to be enjoying themselves when using an exercise ball. In reality it’s likely they’re stressed, anxious and scared when using one. So, why not choose an alternative that your hamster actually enjoys to help it get some exercise.
The clear and obvious option is having your hamster use it’s wheel as it’s primary source of exercise. Hamsters love running on their wheel and it’s a safe and contained form of exercise. The other option involves letting your hamster exercise outside the cage. It’s recommended that you do this using an enclosed pen to further protect your hamster. Remember to keep it away from any other pets that could cause it damage and never leave it unsupervised.
- www.rspca.org.uk › Hamster+balls+(PDF+148+KB).pdf