Hamsters are the cutest and most adorable pets to have. Many people love to keep them as pets and they always spend time with these cute creatures. But some people think that they should play with their hamsters?
The answer to yes, definitely or the best could be “why not”. Playing with a hamster can be as simple as letting the little child climb on you. Playing with them is not only fun but it’s all means of exercising, exploring, and other things. It can involve an exercise ball for exploring your home, tunnels, mazes, swings, and blocks made of wood, minerals, or salt.
A hamster playpen would restrict access to the whole room while allowing for more freedom of movement to enjoy some of the toys mentioned previously. There are certain things you should know before playing with your hamsters as they are cute little and sensitive creatures that need a lot of good care. And not only that there are many good reasons why you should play with your hamster.
Things to keep in mind before you play with your hamster
Have clean hands
Always clean your hands and make them smell like your hamster. Before handling your hamster, always wash and dry your hands. Once your hands are dry, rub them in the hamster’s bedding so that they will smell like the pet’s typical environment and promote a feeling of security (this is especially important if the hamster is new to your scent!).
Hamsters are sensitive to smell as these cute little creatures do not have great eyesight and therefore rely on their noses to help them know about their environment and what is happening with them. So, they know their owner’s smell and If you do not have clean hands, they might not realize you are the one touching them and might get aggressive and react in a strange/unusual way.
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Get to know your hamster
Hamsters are crepuscular animals, meaning they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. Keep this in mind when you plan your playtime, try for times when he/she is bright-eyed and alert in the cage. If your hamster is sleeping, do not wake him/her up to play with you. Do not force your hamster to play with you, just like us they will have times when they prefer to be left alone. If you try to force the interaction it could lead to the hamster associating your scent with negative interactions and lead to an increase in bites and accidents when you handle your hamster.
Always supervise hamster playtime
Never walk away from your hamster when he/she is out of the cage. This is a time for you to spend together, if you have to leave the room make sure to put your hamster back in the cage to avoid any accidents.
Routinely check your hamster’s toys
Make sure the toys you are using have no sharp edges as this could hurt your hamster during playtime. If you’re making or buying new toys, keep safety in mind. Make sure you never bring any toxic materials into your hamster’s environment and that the toys can’t injure your hammy.
Clear the space
If you are allowing the hamster out of the cage, you need to have any other animals secured in a different area so that they cannot accidentally harm your hamster. Also, check for any trash or other debris that could potentially be swallowed and hurt your hamster’s stomach.
Avoid high places
You do not want to put your hamster in an area that is high off the ground or where the hamster could fall off and hurt himself/herself. Make sure the area is flat and any climbing toys do not get too high for the hamster to safely get off of.
Likewise, they will display very obvious signs if they are not wanting to be handled. These include:
- Hissing or squeaking at you
- Biting or nipping
- Squirming to get away
- Jumping out of your hands
How to handle a hamster?
When handling your hamster, you must surf safely and carefully not to drop them. We have had an instance where Oscar got scared and leaped from our hands. Fortunately for us, he was unharmed but so that your hamster continues to enjoy being handled (especially by children) you should always:
- Cup or cradle them in both hands
- Do not walk around when carrying them
- Reassure your hamster that they are safe with soothing words and gentle strokes
- Avoid cuddling or squeezing them too tightly
- Watch for any signs that they have had enough handling time