• Dying, terminal illness and euthanasia: New sensitive support guide for guinea pig owners Please Click Here

Enrichment for hamsters?

PigglePuggle

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
6,186
Reaction score
19,395
Points
1,975
Location
Liverpool
Well my poor old Mum will be staying in hospital a bit longer, so last night we evacuated Mr Alice the overfed syrian hamster to my house, I was worried he would get cold at Mum's with nobody there and no heating on...
So can any hamster people tell me what enrichment I can make to cheer up Mr Alice? My immediate thought was cardboard tubes, he used to like running through toilet roll middles, but... he's far too tubby for that now!
Do you think he'd like a paper bag filled with torn up newspaper and a few cashew nuts and porridge oats? Would that be a safe and fun thing for him?
 

SkyPipDotBernie

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
11,724
Reaction score
14,796
Points
2,050
Location
Northampton uk
Mini carrot cottage from wilko, my rats love them. Hope everything's ok soon 👍

Some meal worms, hamsters love them. But not too many because high in fat
 

PigglePuggle

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
6,186
Reaction score
19,395
Points
1,975
Location
Liverpool
Thanks but I want homemade stuff for now, if he's still here when my next Amazon order of piggy supplies is due I'll get him a carrot cottage and some other exciting things! Actually maybe I will order some more fun hamster things online anyway and give them to Mum for mother's day :)
 

Eriathwen

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jan 11, 2016
Messages
2,301
Reaction score
6,947
Points
1,425
Location
West midlands
Peanuts in shells threaded onto a string, hung from the top of the cage, or something less fatty if he needs to lose weight 😅
Cardboard eggboxes stuffed with shredded tissue with some treats inside, mealworms, seeds, little bits of chopped veg or boiled/scrambled egg.
A scrunched up piece of paper with seeds in the crevices.
If he has any toys or cage accessories that are easily wiped clean they can have a small amount of peanut butter smeared onto things, it will keep them busy for quite a while licking it off.

Those are ones I usually do :)
 

piggieminder

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 7, 2015
Messages
8,387
Reaction score
11,971
Points
1,925
Location
Bristol, UK
Mine used to love paper bags to run in and out of and rip up. Also any small boxes, tea bag box, cereal box whatevers in the cupboard! I used to put a small bit of bedding and food in and they would spend ages rearranging the cage. When I cleaned them out I'd spread the nest bedding around the cage, they'd spend ages finding it and remaking their nests. I miss having a little hamster around.
 

Betsy

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
25,508
Reaction score
31,507
Points
2,425
Location
Broadstone, Dorset
When I had hamsters I used to pop in some kitchen roll and they used to love tearing it up. I hid food around the cage in the substrate too and they had to go and find it.
 

PigglePuggle

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
6,186
Reaction score
19,395
Points
1,975
Location
Liverpool
Mr Alice is all cleaned out and I made him a paper bag full of strips of kitchen roll and newspaper with his dinner hidden inside, I dont think he quite understood what to do but hopefully after dark he'll be a bit more adventurous!
 

Betsy

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
25,508
Reaction score
31,507
Points
2,425
Location
Broadstone, Dorset
Mr Alice is all cleaned out and I made him a paper bag full of strips of kitchen roll and newspaper with his dinner hidden inside, I dont think he quite understood what to do but hopefully after dark he'll be a bit more adventurous!
He'll get there in the end! He's probably a bit discombobulated as to where his Mum's gone and why he's in a strange house with strange piggy smells. 🤔
 

PigglePuggle

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
6,186
Reaction score
19,395
Points
1,975
Location
Liverpool
hamsters like burrowing so he might like a nice big pile of bedding/sawdust
He had some burrowing time in his cleaning-out-time temporary fishtank house, his Ferplast cage isnt deep enough for too much burrowing but at least he now has 5cm deep recycled paper bedding rather than the paltry 1cm deep scattering he had on arrival, plus he has 2 pages of newspaper and 3 pieces of kitchen paper torn into strips, so he can make a nice nest!
 

Robin_

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
79
Reaction score
73
Points
195
Location
PA, US
(Please don’t use sawdust for bedding, hamsters have very sensitive respiratory systems and can easily get a URI from dusty bedding)

Honestly, plenty of safe, burrow-friendly bedding (any paper bedding, Aubiose) and a solid, proper-sized wheel are your hamster’s best friends. Of course, you’ll need other toys and hides to fill the cage as hamsters hate wide open spaces, but you definitely don’t want to mess up on those two.

Syrians will need a 10-12” wheel and 8-12” of bedding (My apologizes for my American measurements). If the Ferplast isn’t big enough I would strongly suggest looking into larger cages; 80x50cm is the minimum but 100x50+ is better. The Alexander and Barney are great but you may need to block off the bars to fit enough bedding.
 

PigglePuggle

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
6,186
Reaction score
19,395
Points
1,975
Location
Liverpool
(Please don’t use sawdust for bedding, hamsters have very sensitive respiratory systems and can easily get a URI from dusty bedding)

Honestly, plenty of safe, burrow-friendly bedding (any paper bedding, Aubiose) and a solid, proper-sized wheel are your hamster’s best friends. Of course, you’ll need other toys and hides to fill the cage as hamsters hate wide open spaces, but you definitely don’t want to mess up on those two.

Syrians will need a 10-12” wheel and 8-12” of bedding (My apologizes for my American measurements). If the Ferplast isn’t big enough I would strongly suggest looking into larger cages; 80x50cm is the minimum but 100x50+ is better. The Alexander and Barney are great but you may need to block off the bars to fit enough bedding.
Thank you, he has an 80x50cm cage and the proper size wheel, Mr Alice has been in the family a while now after my old Mum bought him on a whim from a pet shop a few months ago and we bought him all the essentials then, he's just lodging with us temporarily while Mum is in hospital and I wanted to cheer him up a bit and give him a bit of exercise and new things to do as he's in a strange place without his usual owner to constantly overfeed him!
 

Julie M

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Jun 9, 2014
Messages
4,300
Reaction score
4,903
Points
1,235
Location
Ayrshire
Thank you, he has an 80x50cm cage and the proper size wheel, Mr Alice has been in the family a while now after my old Mum bought him on a whim from a pet shop a few months ago and we bought him all the essentials then, he's just lodging with us temporarily while Mum is in hospital and I wanted to cheer him up a bit and give him a bit of exercise and new things to do as he's in a strange place without his usual owner to constantly overfeed him!
Hope your mum is back home soon. And Mr alice is feeling less sorry for himself. I usually scatter some mealworms about for them to find. My 2 didn't like the egg box filled with treats etc. They were like "nope mum enough of that, just open the thing and give us treats." lol.
 

Robin_

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
79
Reaction score
73
Points
195
Location
PA, US
A dust bath!
When I use to have hamsters (oh I miss them!) I use to give them dust baths. I’d buy chinchilla sand from the pet shop and put in a deep-ish dish.
Here is Nancy having a good bathe :D
View attachment 133519
Technically speaking, dust baths are not safe for the same reason as sawdust—it’s just far too dusty for their sensitive respiratory systems. Sand baths are what really should be used, but even then commercial bath sands are basically dust baths nowadays.

The hamster community now recommends children’s play sand since it’s a little more coarse and a lot less dusty :) Just sift and bake before using to get any nasties out and you’re set to go!

Another note: usually, syrian hamsters won’t actually bathe in sand like a dwarf would. But, most find a lot of enjoyment in a new substrate to dig in, especially one that’s rough enough to keep their nails worn on :)
 

Black piggies

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Messages
974
Reaction score
886
Points
500
Location
St Albans
If you have a VERY fat hamster and a secure room you could maybe risk floor time 🤔😁
 
Top