Playing with your hamster gives him the stimulation he needs to stay healthy. Regardless of whether you let your furry friend climb on top of you or watch him go through a maze, playing with your hamster will be a lot of fun. However, you must hold him properly to ensure his safety while playing in or out of his cage.
Part 1 of 3: Holding It Safely
Step 1. Let the sleeping hamster lie down
Hamsters sleep most of the day and are most active in the late afternoon and evening. If you wake up your hamster, he may be grumpy and reluctant to be held. Always let him wake up on his own before playing with him.
Step 2. Wash your hands first
Hamsters have a very keen sense of smell. It is important that you remove any food scent from your hands, as the hamster could bite you.
Step 3. Rub your hands on clean hamster bedding
The smell of the bedding will make your pet feel more secure in your hands.
Step 4. Tame your hamster with your hand
Before you can play with your hamster outside of its cage, you will have to get it used to being held. Start by giving him treats from your hand. When he approaches without fear, let him play in your hand. When you feel comfortable in it, lift it up. Gradually increase the time you hold it.
- Always let your hamster sniff your clenched fist before trying to pick it up. Do not surprise him.
- Always handle it on a table or while sitting on the floor. Otherwise, your hamster could be seriously injured if it slips out of your hands. A fall of just 1 foot (30 cm) can seriously injure a hamster.
- If yours gets out of your hands or bites you, return it to its cage. This will indicate that you are tired of being held.
Step 5. Make sure he can't escape when playing outside of his cage
Play with your hamster in an enclosed area. Keep in mind that hamsters can escape through very small spaces, such as under doors, so you will need to supervise your pet when he plays outside of his cage.
- Don't play in an area with a small space that your hamster can crawl into to hide, such as under sofas or drawers.
- Bathrooms are convenient enclosed spaces in which to play, but you will need to close the toilet seat.
- Consider purchasing a hamster play pen to ensure your pet cannot escape. This should be larger than the hamster's cage. You can also cover the pen with a mesh screen so your pet can't escape.
- Buying a kiddie pool is an easy way to provide an inexpensive, enclosed play space.
Step 6. Remove all hazards when playing outside of the cage
If there is something there, your hamster will likely bite it. You should remove all electrical cords from the area where they play. Also, remove all toxic plants, such as azalea, narcissus, oleander, valerian, buttercup, convolvulus, bluebell, ragwort, elderberry, hemlock, and privet. Check out this link for a complete list of toxic plants.
Step 7. Be careful when playing with your hamster on a table or counter
Hamsters have virtually no instinctive fear of falling, and falling off a high table or counter can seriously injure your pet. Do not leave your hamster alone in high places, and always stay close to avoid falling.
Step 8. Remove your other pets from the room when playing with your hamster out of the cage
Imagine that you share a room with a giant monster that wants to eat you; this will not be fun. Even if your hamster is safe, it will be stressed by the presence of your dog or cat.
Step 9. Learn how to catch him again if he escapes
If it escapes, all will not be lost. Having a plan beforehand can combat panic and make your pet much more likely to be found.
- Look near his cage first.
- Search in small places, such as behind or under furniture; between the cushions of the sofas and the chairs; on the shelves; in the drawers; and inside shoes, tissue boxes and shoe boxes.
- If the search fails, leave the cage open and place your hamster's favorite food nearby and in it. Turn off the lights and wait for him to come.
- If this doesn't work, put down some food before you go to sleep and surround it with flour so that your hamster's tracks will lead you to their hiding place.
Part 2 of 3: Having fun with your hamster in the cage
Step 1. Watch him run
Wild hamsters run long distances each day to get food. Your pet won't have to work as hard, but it will still have the instinct to run. Put a hamster wheel in your pet's cage and watch her run.
- The wheel should be large enough so that the hamster's back does not bend.
- Solid wheels are preferable, as the hamsters' fingers or legs could get caught between the bars of a metal wheel.
- Check the wheel from time to time to ensure it turns freely. Remove any obstructions as needed and grease with olive or vegetable oil.
Step 2. Add some elements of nature
The wooden branches will give your hamster something to chew on and climb in its cage, but you'll need to clean them thoroughly first. Wash each branch with soapy water, allow it to dry, and then bake it for 45 minutes at 200 ° F (93 ° C) to kill any insects or eggs. Make sure to use wood that is not toxic to hamsters, such as willow, pear or apple, poplar, pecan, or moral. Check out this link for a complete list of safe and dangerous woods.
Step 3. Create a maze with cardboard tubes
Hamsters love to walk through toilet paper and towel rolls. Glue several together to create a tunnel-like maze for your pet.
Step 4. Make a swing out of a small rope and a used roll of duct or packing tape
Just thread the rope through the coil and tie it to the top of your hamster's habitat so that it hangs above the floor.
Step 5. Tie shoelaces to the top of the hamster's cage
Tie several cords back and forth, or leave some hanging. Your pet will love climbing up and pulling them. However, be sure to remove the plastic tips that cover the ends, so your pet doesn't eat them and get sick.
Step 6. Hide the food in its cage and see how it finds it
Hamsters love to search for their food. Hide food all over your hamster's cage (whether in tubes, platforms, or corners) and see how it finds it.
Part 3 of 3: Playing Outside the Cage
Step 1. Let him out of his cage to play every day
To maximize your hamster's health and happiness, you'll need to give him time outside of his cage. This will be fun too! Just make sure he's used to your hand and play with him in a closed and safe area.
Step 2. Hug your hamster and let him climb over you
Hamsters like to be hugged (as long as they are not squeezed too hard) and they will also have fun exploring you. This is a great way to bond with your hamster and teach him to trust you.
- You should be sitting on the floor, so that the hamster does not get hurt if it falls. It will be even better if you lie on your back with the hamster on your chest.
- You must be in a closed area so that he cannot escape.
- Limit your holding time to 10-15 minutes, and only 3-4 minutes the first few times. If you hold your hamster for too long, it will try to escape or bite you.
Step 3. Get a hamster ball
These are plastic or rubber balls that you can place your hamster in to explore your home safely. These are basically like a hamster wheel that you can use anywhere.
- Make sure you get a ball with vents.
- Wash the ball with soap and water after each use. Let it dry completely before using it again.
- Limit the time on the ball to 10-15 minutes, and give him a chance to drink water and eat after that time.
Step 4. Make a maze
You can make maze walls out of any material, such as glue sticks, cardboard, blocks, books, etc. Put some treats in the maze and watch your hamster explore. To make sure it doesn't escape, consider placing the maze inside a large cardboard box.
Step 5. Place your hamster in a play pen with toys
Any secured area without any means of escape can serve as a play pen for your hamster. You can buy a variety of toys, but your pet will also enjoy exploring household items such as the following:
- rolls of paper towels or toilet paper
- tissue or shoe boxes
- paper bags
- ramps (a raised piece of wood or cardboard)
- cereal boxes
Step 6. Watch him gather food
A hamster can carry up to half of its body on its cheeks! Spread grains or crumbs on the table, and watch your hamster collect them. However, be careful what you feed him. These are the foods to avoid:
- junk food, such as pizza, chocolate, potato chips, pickles, salted peanuts, or other foods high in salt
- citrus fruits, nuts, fruit pips, or apple seeds
- iceberg lettuce, parsley, or rhubarb
- avocado, eggplant, onion, pepper, mushrooms, or garlic
- potatoes or red beans
- Red meat