Is a Hamster Ball a Safe Toy for Your Pet Hamster?

Ever seen your pet hamster roll around your house in a hamster ball? They look so cute bumping around the living space, don’t they?

However, while you enjoy the adorable sight of a hamster moving around in a hamster ball, are you sure that the furry small rodent also feels the same way?

A majority of hamster owners love giving their furry friends some freedom to move around the house by putting them in a transparent exercise ball.

However, these hamster balls are the opposite of a good time for these hamsters. They make the hamster feel trapped, which leads to stress.

At times, if the pet hamster feels trapped and unable to escape when exposed to a threatening external stimulus, the stress can be enough to cause a sudden heart attack, leading to premature pet death.

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Are Hamster Balls Good for Hamsters?

People love ensuring their pets have everything they need to stay comfy at all times. They splurge on all the good things possible – especially those things they think are good for their pets.

Whether they keep buying their pets new beds to sleep in or build them a whole little pet mansion, it always feels extremely wholesome and rewarding to see the pet enjoy all the gifts and comforts thrown its way.

While one can find several accessories to buy for a pet dog or cat, the options to treat a pet hamster to a lavish lifestyle are usually limited.

It is usually harder to find outfits, unique toys, and other accessories for a pet hamster due to its small size and extremely sensitive nature.

While a dog may love having a new toy every day, your pet hamster will not react as positively and eagerly toward an unfamiliar addition to its living space.

Hence, due to the relatively limited options, hamster owners usually purchase any accessory they can get their hands on.

A hamster ball is one such hamster accessory or toy that has gained a lot of popularity and demand among hamster owners.

This toy is super cheap, easy to source almost everywhere in the USA, and seems fun – at least to the owner.

However, despite the hamster ball’s growing popularity, many animal behavior experts and well-reputed animal care organizations, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), warn companion pet owners against the use of this toy.

Continue reading to learn more about what a hamster ball is and what it is intended for.

Moreover, the article will elaborate in great detail on why a hamster ball is not good for hamsters, and the potential consequences of frequently putting your pet hamster in a hamster ball.

Let’s get started!

Also read: How To Make a Bin Cage for a Hamster

What is a Hamster Ball?

You can easily spot a medium-sized transparent plastic ball in the pet accessories section when you visit a pet store or a vet clinic.

This toy is known as a hamster ball and is usually only used for small pet rodents such as guinea pigs, mice, rats, or even small bunnies.

The hamster ball can come in different color tones and can either be made from soft, flexible plastic or even transparent silicone.

It has a small door-like opening to allow the rodent to enter, and the rodent can open this door and exit the ball on its own.

Moreover, the buoyant texture and softness of the ball ensure that the pet hamster is protected from all kinds of physical injuries as it bumps into different objects, walls, and even when it falls into a swimming pool.

Furthermore, although the texture of a hamster ball is smooth and soft, it is still quite firm and reliable.

Hence, even if the hamster takes a wrong turn and the ball falls down a flight of stairs, the ball will retain its shape and will keep the hamster safe.

Hence, once the hamster has been put inside a hamster ball, it is usually safe from getting attacked or stepped on by another pet or family member.

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What is the Intended Use of a Hamster Ball?

A hamster ball seems perfect for a person who either does not know much about a hamster’s natural behavior or is looking for a way to treat their beloved rodent with a new toy.

Not only is it super cheap and quite easy to find, but the way a hamster gets the unique chance to move around in it and explore the rest of the house seems quite fun.

However, what exactly is the intended purpose of a hamster ball? Some of the reasons people buy hamsters balls are as follows:

  • A hamster ball seems like a fun toy that will give your hamster a chance to explore the room, your home, and even your backyard.
  • Since pet hamsters love running on their wheel, a hamster ball seems like a similar and fun version of the same toy.
  • Since a pet hamster is far smaller than any cat or dog, it’s pretty easy to lose them, especially if you don’t keep an eye on them at all times.
  • Furthermore, since a hamster cannot meow or bark to get your attention, owners are worried about accidentally stepping on their little furry companions once let out of their cage.
  • However, once the hamster is put inside a plastic hamster ball, not only is it safe but is much easier to find.
  • The small thuds of the plastic bumping around the furniture and walls usually make enough noise for the ball to become notable.
  • People with other pets, such as cats or dogs, usually worry about their pet hamster getting attacked.
  • However, once it is in a strong and reliable ball, it will be protected from getting eaten by another pet.
  • Moreover, since captive hamsters usually spend the majority of their lives in a small cage or room, they do not get the opportunity to benefit from sufficient physical exercise.
  • However, due to the hamster ball, the pet hamster is supposed to get the opportunity to move around and stay active. 

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Why is a Hamster Ball a Poor Choice for an Exercise Toy for a Pet Hamster?

As explained above, a hamster ball is intended to offer several useful benefits and unique opportunities to your pet hamster that will supposedly make it very happy and active.

However, although the concept of a hamster seems quite promising, in reality, it is hardly the case. Instead, animal behaviorists and experts constantly discourage the use of hamster toys.

Why is that?

Although a hamster may seem as loving, passionate, and expressive as a pet cat, in reality, its emotional psychology and behavior are quite different.

Unlike most other pets, a hamster is extremely sensitive to its surroundings, and any potential external threat or an unfamiliar stimulus can cause extreme emotional stress and anxiety to your fur baby.

While an owner may assume that the hamster is moving around in its toy ball because it enjoys exploring your house, the truth is that the hamster is simply acting out of stress.

Unlike cats or dogs, hamsters are not curious and prefer to be in a familiar and safe setting that they can trust.

When they are taken out of their secure cages and put in the ball, the rapid and unexpected movement immediately causes the rodent’s heartbeat to go up.

Once the ball is placed on the floor, the continuously changing surroundings and exposure to an unfamiliar and extreme stimulus can cause the hamster to move around frantically in random directions.

Unfortunately, the emotional stress and fear negatively affect the hamster’s well-being.

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What Are the Potential Consequences of Frequently Putting a Pet Hamster in a Hamster Ball?

  • If a hamster is put in a ball and left in a house, the change of the external settings will cause extreme fear and stress to your pet. As a result, it may start scurrying around in circles, which may seem playful to the owner.
  • Moreover, although a cat or a dog cannot bite and break the hamster ball, a confrontation with a potential predator will be enough to cause the hamster to start digging instinctively.
  • When the hamster cannot escape despite the digging action, the rising fear can result in the hamster playing dead.
  • While in this state, a hamster acts completely frozen and still to lose its predator’s attention. However, many people mistakenly assume that a hamster playing dead is actually dead.
  • At times, the build-up of fear may prevent the hamster from snapping out of this state on its own. The owner might think that the hamster has died and dispose of it accidentally.
  • Furthermore, since hamsters are extremely sensitive animals, the changing environments in a hamster ball can also lead to a fatal heart attack.

Final Thoughts

A hamster is a great pet to have. They’re small, gentle, and loving creatures. What’s more, they don’t require the same amount of effort as taking care of a cat or dog.

Plus, they have a bunch of toys you can buy for them. One of these is the hamster ball. However, you should probably refrain from buying this for your pet.

Many hamster owners assume that their pet hamsters enjoy rolling around in their hamster balls; however, the frantic movement is a sign of confusion, fear, and stress. Hence, it is better to invest in safer toys such as a hamster wheel or a simple maze to ensure that your pet gets the opportunity to enjoy its life to the fullest.

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