Hamster balls are a very popular hamster accessory that tons of people use for their small pets, but are they really okay to use?
All the following information is true for all small pets, not just hamsters.
Hamsters are very hyper little animals, and they should definitely be taken out for playtime at least every other day. Hamster balls seem like a great solution because you can just release your hamster and let them do their thing, but there are actually many reasons not to use hamster balls, which I will explain.
Hamster balls are not safe for your hamster. The thin little air slits are a common cause of injury, and hamsters often get their toes caught or break limbs.
There have been cases where a hamster is in a ball, and the lid comes open. Your hamster then escapes, possibly forever.
Hamsters running around unsupervised in hamster balls are often batted around or injured by other pets. Overall, hamster balls are not safe for small pets.
Comfort and Health
We must also take the comfort of the hamster into consideration. Hamsters are very high-energy animals, and they require out-of-cage time at least every other day to keep them happy and healthy. Many people, including myself, have found better, more comfortable, ways to let your hamster run about than using a hamster ball. But why aren’t hamster balls comfortable for your pet? Let me tell you.
When in a hamster ball your hamster does not have access to food or water, and it is not uncommon for hamsters to become dehydrated. If they poop or pee in the ball then they are stepping in their own waste, and that’s disgusting, especially for an animal which takes such pride in cleanliness.
Hamsters have very bad eyesight, and whether your hamster ball is transparent or not, they cannot see outside the ball. Usually hamsters navigate using their whiskers, smell, and hearing. But when they are in a hamster ball they cannot feel with their whiskers, smell all the smells, or hear all the things that they would assume are dangerous as a tiny prey animal.
Since their senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch are so limited, your hamster will be afraid. You cannot prevent or train them not to be afraid. Their instincts are telling them they are in danger, and animals will always trust their instincts.
So your hamster is afraid, and being a prey animal, they want to hide. Your hamster now has another problem; they can’t hide. They’re in a bulky hamster ball, remember? If you were to use a small hamster ball your hamster’s back will be bent, which isn’t comfortable and can cause spinal issues. So your hamster can only run or sit motionless. They cannot see, hear, smell, feel, or hide, and they are stressed.
Stress is not healthy for any living thing. Stress lowers your immune system, making you more prone to illness. Hamsters can actually get a number of illnesses simply from just being stressed; they don’t even need to come in contact with anything.
A lot of stressed-caused illnesses and diseases, such as Proliferative Ileitis (Wet Tail), are fatal to hamsters within 72 hours.
Hamster balls are not suitable for hamsters because they are uncomfortable, cause stress, injury, or possibly even death. There are many alternatives to using hamster balls, such as free roaming your hamster or putting them in a playpen. Hamsters get a lot more enrichment from free roaming, and it is overall very beneficial.
If you’d like to know how to start free roaming, I have a post all about it. There are also tons of tutorials for hamster playpens online as well, although I have not personally made a tutorial.
Hamster balls are dangerous and uncomfortable for your small pet, and should not be used.
If you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!