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Hamster ball

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I have always been dead against the use of things like hamster balls. Really feel like an animal shouldn’t be in a situation it can’t escape from. But as you might have guessed, I had to revise my opinion.

My current Syrian Hamster reall didn’t think the cage alone was enough and at every opportunity would jump/climb/dig out. I did try other boredom busters like hiding her food in toilet rolls or other food parcels, giving her more chew material and changing around her cage, but she still showed signs of boredom. As I can’t offer her any free range in my house (have a cat and too many little hidy holes and escape possibilities), I gave in and bought one of those plastic balls. And she “loves” it (as far as you can judge loving things in little rodents).

First trips in the ball were very short. I put her back in the cage every minute or so and only let her get into the ball herself. Now she waits at her little door for me to open it and let her in her ball (still only gets in on her own). She has a run through the whole house for anywere from 10 minutes to half an hour, with regular trips back to the house, to give her the option to go back in.

She chases the cat, rolls into her whenever she gets the opportunity. Always finds the chicken food and will scratch her ball till I give her some and investigates all the nooks and crannies of the house.

I still think the ball is only for experienced owners and probably often used wrongly and definitely not a kids toy. Although the packaging suggested otherwise... But since I have been giving her her hamster ball time, she is definitely less stressed (stopped plucking at the bars of the cage and stopped pacing). And it gave my cat some entertainment too! :wink:

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I had hamsters when I was younger and they had a ball. As you say it’s difficult to tell but I think they were happy in there. Like yours hey used to go racing all over the house.

I understand what you mean about it not being able to escape, but it’s in such a situation already by being in a cage.

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9 hours ago, mullethunter said:

I understand what you mean about it not being able to escape, but it’s in such a situation already by being in a cage.

Absolutely! But at least in the cage it has access to its hideout, food, water and safety. Things not available in the ball. Hence my initial reluctance to using it. I actually tried to come up with ideas to section of a part of the kitchen, where she lives, using bird wire and cardboard. But it was hard to make something that is escape proof.

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We only really use the hamster ball when we are cleaning Hugo out. Sadly he is very definately nocturnal and not at all at his best during the day - very sleepy and unadventurous. He's quite timid and often seems to be glad just to get back into his cage, much to YS's disapointment. We have had other hamsters who were real live wires and loved climbing all over us and having adventures whilst some have just been quieter by nature. We always make sure that they have a variety of fresh foods and toys, chews, tunnels etc to keep them challenged and busy - one of our dwarf Russians loved nothing better then playing football with a sprout O.o hysterical. They each have their own personalities!

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My hamster is VERY food orientated. So anything edible is opened/destroyed/discovered within minutes. So not something I can keep her occupied with for a long time.

She only wakes up when it gets dark and right now she wants “ball time” around 9 at night. 

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When DD had a hamster, a long time ago now, he also had a ball to run around in.

The only thing was that each time he bashed into something the ball would gradually work its way undone.

We ended up taping it together in a few places just to make sure he couldn't disappear when we weren't looking. 

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Think the third day she was in the ball, I went to the toilet... and had to come running from it as I heard a lot of screaming! She had unlocked the ball and was hiding in a closet in the kitchen. My (luckily very dopey) cat have a go, but luckily the hamster was (much) faster. So now she rolls around with a rubber band around the ball...:roll:

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We had hamsters when the children were small.  We always found the females more gregarious and friendlier than the males.  One of my life’s greatest achievements has been to mate a pair of Syrian hamsters!  Not easy.  The female is only receptive every 4 days and on the other days will beat up the poor male.  But we ended up with 6 lovely babies. 

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We always had hamsters growing up and they seemed to love their ball too.

A friend (now vet) had two free range dwarf hamsters, one after another, in her room who had a great time. They had a cage on the floor but used to have free access and often slept in a shoe box in the bottom of her wardrobe :roll::lol: 
I think there's someone on here who has constantly free range guinea pigs in their enclosed garden?

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Free range hamsters....now that's interesting! I'd be terrified of treading on them! Can they be trained to use a 'litter tray'?

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Ours had a little toilet tray in their cage and generally went in the same place, similar to rabbits, so I guess they could in theory!

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