Whether you are trying to decide on a small pet for your child, or yourself, hamsters are probably on your list of possibilities. So what do hamsters offer that other small pets don’t? The answer is that they are amongst the most playful little animals on the planet, and absolutely love hamster toys.
In the wild, hamsters spend most of their waking hours racing around gathering food. They are by nature, active and curious. So allowing your hamster to play is an important factor in their wellbeing – and your fun! In fact, you should play with your hamster every day if you want to have a healthy, happy pet.
When you first get your hamster, he or she will probably be shy. Get them used to you by putting your hand in their cage and allowing them to explore you. Remember that hamsters test out the world by putting things in their mouth, so make sure your hands don’t smell of food or other pets. Wash your hands in a low or no-scent soap before and after handling them.
If your hamster does bite, it’s just doing what is natural to them – please don’t punish them, you should never be unkind to any pet.
Hamsters may get nervous if you handle them too much, so just make it short periods of time, and don’t force them to be where he doesn’t want to be. Make sure that any other pets you have are kept well out of the way when your hamster is out; they would make a lovely snack for your cat or dog, who won’t understand that your hamster is a pet just like them.
Hamsters love toys, and you should make sure that he has a solid wheel for exercise, big enough for them to stretch out comfortably as he goes along. A hollow ball will also be much loved, as well as tunnels, ladders, and swings. You can make some of these toys yourself – a simple cardboard tube or two makes a fun tunnel and hiding place.
Once your hamster gets to know you, why not bring them out for outside play? Make sure you have a safe area for them – an old solid floor playpen with solid sides is perfect, or a paddling pool. The last thing you want is for your hamster to escape into the house, so you must keep your eye on them all the time.
In a larger space, he can run further and faster. You can create an obstacle course for them, which will engage his brain and test out his skills, while at the same time providing you with a lot of entertainment. Or how about making a maze? Bring out your old Legos, and make a hamster world! Another good way to play is to create a treasure trail, hiding little snacks along the way that he can find and collect. Be sure to allow them to take his hoard back home to his cage.
Hamsters are lively, engaging and entertaining pets, and if you use your imagination to provide them with a play world, you will both have a great deal of fun. For more information on playing with hamsters we recommend reading this guide.