Hamsters are incredibly active creatures, if they do not sleep, then they are sure to move. In the wild, animals walk up to ten kilometers a day. It is not easy to provide a pet with a habitual way of life in a cage. A ball for a hamster helps to solve this problem. With its help, the animal is always active, and the owner is calm that he will not lose the rodent and will not accidentally step on it.
Why do you need a ball?
To decide whether a hamster needs a ball, you must first find out what kind of simulator it is. The product is a transparent sphere with a door and holes so that the hamster can breathe air. The design is easy to manage, moves due to the muscular strength of the hamster itself, in other words, if the animal runs, the ball rolls. For a small pet, the walking sphere becomes a simulator, a vehicle and a capsule for exploring the outside world.
Happy is the hamster whose owners did not stint on such an important thing for him.
There are a number of reasons why you should give your hamster a transparent sphere. If you read them carefully, it becomes clear that not only the rodent wins, but also the owner with his apartment.
- The hamster will satisfy his curiosity by exploring the space of the apartment. At the same time, furniture, books and other things will not suffer from contact with a rodent.
- The animal will not run away and be crushed, as can happen when walking without a ball.
- The animal will give an outlet for its energy. Daily exercise will have a positive effect on his health.
- The ball protects the hamster from falls and injuries that the animal can get while exploring the territory without restrictions.
- If you let the hamster run in the evening, tired, he will sleep at night and not interfere with the owner.
- When you need to clean the cage, you can offer the animal to run, putting it in a sphere.
- What is nice, the walking ball is inexpensive.
I do not want to write about the shortcomings, but for the sake of justice, it should be said that they are.
- If the hamster, walking in a walking ball, goes to the toilet, feces through the ventilation holes enter the apartment. He will have to be removed.
- From time to time the door relaxes and can open. If this happens, the hamster will run away.
- The animal should be in the ball for no more than twenty minutes, further stay may cause overheating or depression due to lack of air.
In order for the walking ball to be safe and comfortable, certain requirements are imposed on it. They refer to the quality of the product and its dimensions. Different breeds of hamsters differ from each other not only in appearance, but also in volume. Therefore, balls of different diameters are produced for them:
- an animal less than 8 centimeters in size (a Roborovsky or Dzungarian hamster) will need a sphere with a diameter of about 12 centimeters;
- a hamster with a body length of 8 to 12 centimeters (Syrian) should choose a ball with a diameter of at least 18 cm;
- a sphere of 25–30 cm is intended for chinchillas.
The size of the rodent must be taken into account when choosing a ball. In a product that is too tight, it will not be able to accelerate properly. A large sphere will be too heavy for the small paws of the animal, they will start to hurt from tension. The criterion for the right choice can be the angle of the back of the hamster, or rather, its absence.
If the size is right, the back of the pet will be in a level state. In addition to the correct size, you should pay attention to the ventilation holes: the more, the better. Running in the sphere allows you to actively load the rodent, during such activities an influx of fresh air is necessary, otherwise the animal will suffocate. In addition, the hamster learns the world not so much by sight as by smell, a large number of holes will help him in this.
Requirements may also apply to the door of the structure: fastenings and tightness must be reliable, this is the only way to ensure the safety of the pet. You can choose spheres with guide grooves or with special platforms, but for the animal they are not so significant.
It is more important for him that the ball be as transparent as possible – then he will not only run, but will also be able to study the outside world.
How to choose?
To choose the right walking ball for a hamster, you should consider the requirements outlined above. They are about size and quality. The design itself in most cases has the shape of a sphere, but you can find models in the form of an ellipse. The second type of toy is not very popular with hamsters: when running, it can sway from side to side, so it is rarely on sale.
The hamster enters the sphere through the door. But sometimes two, three or even four holes serve as an entrance. They can be in the form of screw caps. Before buying, you need to check the reliability of closing devices. Some prefer to purchase multi-exit balls. If the hole begins to hold the lid poorly, it is sealed tightly and the remaining intact ones are used.
If a stand is attached to the walking sphere, then it can be used as a running on the spot, like a running wheel. After removing the stand, the ball returns to its normal walking functions.
The owner, for whom it is important to know about the movement of the pet, acquires a ball with a special track: it does not dangle around the room in a free direction, but moves along a given route.
As for the material, the walking sphere should only be made of lightweight plastic, and the more transparent it is, the better. An iron or wooden ball will not give the desired view, and even a small hamster will not be able to move it. When buying a plastic ball, you should ask if the plastic is toxic. For a baby, even a small amount of toxic additives can be fatal. Information about the material contains a certificate – if it is not offered, a pungent smell or a poisonous color of the ball may prevent a purchase.
How to do it yourself?
A walking ball for a hamster is inexpensive, you can buy a toy from 100 rubles and more. But some rodent owners prefer to give them a gift with their own hands, so they put a piece of their love and energy into the sphere. Such products also have pitfalls. Before conducting a master class on creating a homemade sphere, consider the advantages and disadvantages of a homemade simulator.
The biggest drawback is that it is not always possible to create an ideal sphere, the product takes on an oval shape, not a round one. This means that the hamster will run forward and backward, but will not be able to move sideways. In addition, homemade products are difficult to wash from the inside.
As for the positives, there are many more.
- A gift to a hamster will cost free, as it is made from improvised means.
- Not every locality has a pet store to purchase a walking ball. And in order to make it yourself, you can find material in every home.
- Fastening a homemade simulator is carried out, most often, using a screw cap – this is much more reliable than industrial fixtures.
- Making a toy is easy and fast. If she loses her attractive appearance, it is not a pity to throw her away and it is easy to make a new one.
Making a simulator from a plastic bottle
When choosing a plastic container, you need to consider several important points.
- The neck should be wide enough so that a hamster can get into it.
- It is better to choose a bottle from food products. It is important that it does not contain previously toxic substances.
The manufacturing process is extremely simple. Two identical wide-mouthed containers should be prepared, preferably made of transparent plastic. Both bottles need to cut off the upper part so that at the moment of connection they resemble a ball or an ellipse.
It is necessary to clean the edges well, smoothing out the sharp structure. If it doesn’t work out, you can briefly lean them against a hot iron – slightly melted, the edges will become safer.
At the next stage, holes for air circulation are made. To do this, as many holes as possible are made in two covers of the structure. In addition, holes are cut in the bottles themselves, not far from the necks. They are made narrow and long. All cuts on the product are well cleaned with sandpaper.
When the two halves are ready, they are connected together with adhesive tape. You need to try to make the simulator as reminiscent of the shape of a sphere as possible.
How to make a simulator from a plastic bottle with your own hands, see the following video.
How to train a hamster to run in it?
Each hamster has its own character: someone is mobile, someone is lazy, one thinks quickly, the other needs time to understand what they want from him. In principle, any animal can be taught to move in the sphere – all you need is patience and a little free time. Consider what needs to be done so that the hamster begins to use the sphere for its intended purpose.
- Previously, the animal should be introduced to a new toy by placing it in an open cage.
- You can gently put the baby in the ball. Of course, it would be nice if he himself went there, for example, for a treat left for him.
- When the hamster is in the sphere, carefully close the lid. Let him get used to it a little and move the simulator from the cage to the floor. Five minutes later, return the ball to the cage and open it.
- After a walk, you need to treat your pet with your favorite treat – this will consolidate his desire to repeat the trip.
- When accustoming a rodent to anything, one should not make sudden movements, make loud sounds. It is necessary not to frighten the animal so that it understands that being in the sphere is associated with comfort.
- During training and walks, there should not be other pets near the hamster. The head of a cat looking into the sphere will seem huge and scary to a rodent. Stress will discourage him from climbing into the ball.
- Having placed the hamster in the simulator, you should pay attention to the environment. There should not be a ladder nearby from which he could roll down, or a large amount of furniture that interferes with movement. Do not place on a hill, as the sphere may fall, frighten and injure the pet.
- You should not push the ball, the hamster must take the first step himself.
- To begin with, stay in the sphere is limited to a few minutes. Gradually the time increases. But even if the hamster has learned and enjoys running in the ball, his maximum stay should be no more than 20 minutes, and with poor ventilation – much less.
When the walk is over, the sphere should be washed, as the hamster is likely to confuse it with a toilet. By the beginning of the next walk, the simulator should be dry and clean.
Having mastered, the hamster will be happy to walk around the apartment. But you shouldn’t especially relax: you still have to look after the rodent. Forgetting about the pet, you can collide with the sphere while walking, and it, like a ball, will fly off to the side. It is scary to imagine what the hamster will feel at this time. In addition, the doors may open on the go, and then there will be a need to look for a tiny hamster in a large apartment.
For information on how to properly use a hamster ball, see the following video.