Hamsters balls are seen as an essential item for hamsters to have. It is said that it gives hamsters an easy way to exercise within the house without them getting injured or lost? However, are hamster balls safe for hamsters?
The answer is no.
Hamsters, of course, need a lot of exercise. However it is disputed as to whether hamster balls are the best way to provide this exercise. In this article we will be taking you through the pros and cons of hamster balls, before giving alternatives.
Should I ever put my hamster in a hamster ball?
So, are hamster balls good for hamsters? No. We don’t really recommend ever putting your hamster in a hamster ball for reasons stated later in the article. Placing the ball, without its lid, into your hamster’s playpen or other exercise space can be a good alternative. It can give the hamster somewhere to hide in and leaving the lid off means that they can get in and out at their leisure. Other than that though, a hamster ball is not the best option for your hamster. You can get cheaper and better alternatives which we list later on in this article.
Disadvantages of Hamster Balls
There are quite a few disadvantages of Hamster Balls which are not well known. They can have negative impacts on your hamster’s health and wellbeing:
Lack of manoeuvrability
Hamsters cannot really control their ball which means that they can often collide with walls or furniture. This may look comical but the force that a hamster experiences when that happens can be quite painful. Hamsters could also fall downstairs which can result in sprains and other injuries which can result in death
No Possibility of hiding.
Hamsters are animals that like to always have somewhere to hide but whilst in a ball this possibility disappears. Hamsters may not be having fun and exploring the room when in a ball but actually fleeing and trying to find a safe space to hide. This is why you may often find your hamster running towards the corners of your room
Lack of senses.
As explained in our Top 10 Hamster Facts page, Hamsters are fairly blind. This means that they rely on other senses such as their whiskers to get around. However hamster balls remove this due to the plastic which means that they can’t really see where they are going. This can obviously increase their stress level.
A hamster ball’s vents are not ventitated enough, the slots are too small and hamster droppings can often clog them. The amount of air means that the hamster cannot properly breathe and this can stress them.
They can get dirty.
Hamsters dropping and pee often covers a hamster ball in a short amount of time. This means that they have to run in their own faeces and urine which can obviously cause issues with their health
So, as can be shown in this list. Hamster balls are not good for hamsters, they are not able to give the exercise and outside time that they need.
Alternatives to hamster balls
So it is fairly clear. Are hamster balls good for hamsters? Not really. You may be thinking, this is all well and good but is there any alternatives to hamster balls? The good news is that there is plenty of alternatives to hamster balls that you can put in place.
Make a hamster play-pen
One of the best ways to replace your hamster ball with something safer is to replace it with a hamster play-pen. There’s various ways to achieve this though.
Use a cardboard box
As a temporary playpen, you can use a large cardboard box for your hamster. This can be useful for storing your hamster whilst you are cleaning their cage and will ensure that they stay safe. Large cardboard boxes for Televisions, printers and computers will work best for this. This can only be a temporary measure as your hamster will eventually bite through the box.
Get a pre-made play-pen
One of the best options for a permanent playpen is to get a playpen for your hamster! Most playpens are fabric and offer plenty of space for your hamster to run around in. You can place toys and other hamster recreational equipment for them to use in there as well.
We recommend putting some of your hamsters toys from the cage and into the playpen whilst they are in there. This will make them feel safe and will give them more things to do whilst they are inside. Take a look at an example of a hamster playpen in action!
Make your own playpen
If you are willing to spare the time then you could always make your own hamster playpen! If you have the tools you can cut pieces of plastic and then attach them together to create an area where your hamster can roam around safely. Make sure that the sides are high enough that your hamster can’t jump over them.
Hamster proof your room
Another alternative to hamster balls is to make your entire room hamster proof. This theoretically allows your hamster to roam free across the entire room as you have removed all danger. However we don’t recommend this method as hamsters are incredibly sneaky animals and will always find a way to hurt themselves. Hamster proofing your room is important if you think that they have escaped.
So, are hamster balls good for hamsters? No! They can cause serious problems for your hamster and should be avoided unless they are the only thing that you have. Getting a hamster playpen is a much better idea and will allow your hamster to run around freely whilst removing the stress that comes with a hamster ball. Have you got a hamster playpen? Got any advice for people who have hamster balls? Let us know in the comments!