Hamsters are engaging little creatures that love interacting with their owners as long as they are treated gently and with care. While they cannot play the usual rough and tumble games, hamsters also like various activities that you will surely love watching.
If you want your hamster to stay happy and healthy, giving him safe ways to play is the secret here. Are obstacle courses also among them? Do hamsters like obstacle courses?
Here’s the good news: as long as obstacle courses are made safely, hamsters will like them and even find them interesting.
Do Hamsters Like Going Through Obstacle Courses and Mazes?
Hamsters can make great pets. However, just like other pets, hamsters also need regular exercise. Obstacle courses and mazes are some of the best ways to exercise your small animals.
Since hamsters are curious critters by nature, mazes and obstacle courses are also a fun and exciting way to test the intellect of your hamster.
Typical hamsters, interchangeably known as teddybear, golden, or Syrian hamsters have their origins traced back to Syria where these animals lived as desert rodents in the wild. However, since they are bigger, they also need more space in their obstacle courses compared to dwarf hamsters, their smaller cousins.
But no matter what kind of hamster you have, you can be sure that all of them will enjoy obstacle courses made just for them. And the good news is that you can build an obstacle course for your hamster on your own using everyday items that you may already have lying around in your home.
How to Make a Hamster Obstacle Course Using Cardboard Boxes
Building an obstacle course for your hamster using cardboard boxes is simple and easy. All you need are a supply of cardboard boxes, a sharp utility or a pair of scissors, and some glue.
Get one large box and use it as the frame. Glue the strips of the cardboard to the bottom inside to form the sides of the course in any configuration of your preference. See to it that the strips will be high enough so that your pet won’t just climb over them. However, make sure that you don’t make it too complex to the point that your hamster can no longer figure it out.
Always play fair and ensure that there is a solution. Reward your pet accordingly with some treats once he finishes the course. You can also add some detachable cardboard tubes or small boxes with exit or entry holes cut in them as rest stops and tunnels. Try moving these around from time to time to keep your hamster stimulated.
How to Make a Wooden Hamster Obstacle Course
If you are handy enough and you prefer a more permanent obstacle course for your little pet, you can make this using wood. For this, you can use hardwood such as walnut, birch, or oak.
Resinous woods such as cedar and pine give off fumes that may cause sickness in your hamsters. Create a box and make some dividers using short lengths of boards in the same way that you did with the cardboard obstacle course. Use wood glue for fastening all the parts in place.
How to Make a Hamster Obstacle Course Using Cardboard Tubes
You can also use cardboard tubes or some empty plastic soft drink bottles to easily put together a thrilling obstacle course for your hamster. Cut the bottoms and tops of the soft drink containers. Cut several tiny holes in the sides to allow ventilation and ensure that your pet doesn’t overheat while playing. Join everything together using a flexible vinyl tape like electrical tape.
Proceed to cutting and assembling the cardboard tubes using an ordinary pair of scissors and join them together with white glue. If you want your tube obstacle course to be sturdier, you can also join the PVC pipes together through friction-fitting tees and elbows in different ways.
Reposition the joints frequently to ensure that your hamster doesn’t lose interest in the course. Also, don’t forget to drill some air holes in the PVC pipes before you assemble everything.
Supervise Your Hamsters While Playing in the Obstacle Course
If you just recently got a new pet hamster, never plop him down in the obstacle course right away. Although hamsters indeed need regular exercise, as well as other things that will ensure that they don’t get bored, not to mention that obstacle courses, work well for you and your pet, your new hamster will still need some time getting used to and being familiar with your first.
When you put your new hamster on an obstacle course in a spacious room, he might end up escaping if he is not yet used to you or the course itself. Also, even if you have already formed a bond with your pet, it is still important that you supervise your hamster’s activities to ensure his safety.
Avoid putting the obstacle course on top of the table or any other high spot where your pet may get hurt if he drops or falls. See to it that his play area is also made in an easily secured and safe room without any gaps where he might slip through below or around windows or doors. There should also be no electrical wires of any kind that are within your hamster’s reach that he might chew on and might be shocked by.
Importance of Games for Hamsters
Exercise is essential for the digestion and overall health of your hamster. Gentle games that will stimulate the natural curiosity of these animals and their love of exploring will help keep stress and boredom at bay.
It is easier to handle Syrian hamsters than their dwarf counterparts that are more prone to be nervous and might even bite when scared. Being solitary creatures, hamsters can entertain themselves. However, your pet still needs to interact with your daily. And for the times that you are not around to play with him, an obstacle course may just be a good alternative for thrill and entertainment.