In the wild, hamsters travel up to eight miles a day in search of food and water. Is it any wonder, then, that a caged hamster would get bored? Bored hamsters spend much of their time chewing, which they do to keep their teeth sharp. But too much of any good thing can be harmful. Give your little buddy something to do and you will see a lot less cage chewing. Almost entirely made of recycled materials, a cardboard tree house maze will keep your hamster happy for days.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Paper towel tubes
- Toilet paper tubes
- Small tea boxes
- Shoe boxes
- Shirt cardboard
- 1 cup syrup
- 2 cups flour
- Clamp style clothespins
- Tissue paper or newspaper
Collect paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, small tea boxes and cardboard shoe boxes. The tubes will be used as access tunnels and the boxes will become stations.
Make glue by mixing one cup syrup with two cups flour. Thin your glue with a very small amount of water if needed. Tear newspaper into thin strips and dip it in the glue. Using the round end of one of the tubes for a template, cut a round hole in the bottom of each of the small tea boxes. Insert the end of a tube into the hole, and seal the joint with tissue paper or newspaper strips dipped in the glue. Leave the other end open and allow it to dry overnight.
Once they are dry, assemble your stations so that each one has at least one access tube going into it. Occasionally, cut a second hole so that one tube is coming from below and another from the side. Near the bottom of each vertical tube, make a little semicircular cut so that your hamster can get inside it more easily. Arrange stations in your hamster's cage so that some of the stations require climbing and others simply require going in and coming back out. Make windows in a few stations so that your hamster can pop his head out for a look-see. Don't worry if your hamster chews on the maze, as the glue is non-toxic.
Make a burrowing station from a shoebox with a lid. Make holes in each end of the box just large enough for your hamster to get in and out. Fill the station with hamster litter. Clean the box and replace the litter once a week or more often as needed.
If any stations get wet or become badly chewed, simply take them out of the cage and make new ones. Your hamster will never be bored again!
Be sure your cage has a tight fitting lid that cannot be chewed through, so that your hamster does not use the vertical stations to escape. Place treats such as apple slices or baby carrots in one of the towers. Remove any uneaten treats daily.
Fill at least one of the vertical stations with a seed-based hamster diet, so that your hamster has to climb to eat.
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to hang your hamster's water bottle away from the cardboard stations.
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