Hamsters enjoy playing outside the confines of their cages. If your pet has logged too many miles in its hamster ball, give a hamster playpen a try. The safe enclosure allows for hands-on socialisation between you and your pet while it investigates its new surroundings. In one afternoon you can quickly construct a hamster wonderland filled with interactive play toys, treats and enough space to keep your pet entertained.
Choose a sturdy base for your hamster playpen such as a plastic tote or a small child's swimming pool. Pick an enclosure with an area larger than the hamster's everyday home.
Spread a 3-inch layer of recycled paper pellets or aspen wood shavings across the entire base of the playpen to appease a hamster's natural desires to burrow.
Scatter interactive hamster toys and activities throughout the playpen. Include a nesting house for hiding and hoarding, wooden toys for chewing and cardboard toilet paper tubes for tunnelling. Set up a hamster running wheel in the middle of the playpen to encourage exercise.
Hide healthy treats on the hamster playground including a small branch cutting from an organic fruit tree, baby carrots, a piece of fresh spinach or a whole, unsalted peanut.
Set the hamster in the playpen and supervise it while it explores, climbs, tunnels and eat treats. Remove the hamster and perishable food treats from the playpen after 15 to 20 minutes of play. Place the hamster back in its home so it can drink water or eat food.
- Choose a hamster playpen base with smooth-surfaced sides. The walls should measure a minimum of 12 inches in height to deter climbing hamsters from escaping the playpen.
- Cover the hamster playpen with a fine wire mesh screen when you are not actively reaching into the playpen. This will deter curious family pets from peeking inside the hamster playground, advises the website smallanimalchannel.com.
- Avoid using a large animal's cage for a hamster playpen. For example, the wire base of a rabbit hutch can damage a hamster's tender feet and the wide-width bars of a guinea pig habitat may lead to an escapee hamster.