The short answer is – yes! Hamsters are very active animals who love to play. Living in a cage can get very boring, and if your hamster doesn’t have a chance to run around and explore, then it could get overweight and sad.

But hamsters can be fast and hard to catch, so how can you let them out of the cage safely?

The first thing you must check when purchasing a hamster playpen is that the bars are close enough together that your hamster cannot escape. Rabbit and guinea pig runs are not suitable for hamsters as the bars are too wide, and your hamster will simply wander through them!

At Me & My Pets we have the perfect solution. Our 8-sided small pet playpen is the ideal environment for your hamster to stretch its legs safely. Please remember to never leave your hamster unattended in the run.

Syrian hamster walking on grass outside

 

How to use a small animal playpen

First, ensure that the playpen has been put together safely. The end panels hook together to create a secure wall, so check that these have been slotted in correctly. We highly recommend using the floor mat to protect the carpet!

If your hamster likes climbing then we also recommend using our playpen cover. You can use the run outside too, so this cover is perfect for keeping your furry friend safe.

Once you have checked that the run is secure and safe, gently pick up your hamster from its cage. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, and usually wake up at around 6:30/7pm. This means that the ideal time for you to give your hamster some supervised exercise is just after dinner!

Place the hamster in the playpen and allow it to explore. Make sure that it has lots of toys and climbing apparatus to explore! Just remember that hamsters are not like mice or rats in their climbing ability. They don’t have long tails so they struggle to balance – never give a hamster a high toy or climbing frame as it may fall from this and get injured.

Your hamster will investigate all around the edge of the playpen. You will need to observe closely to ensure that it cannot fit through the bars.

What should I put in my hamster playpen?

Hamsters chew. It’s a fact of life. As a rodent, a hamster has a strong set of teeth called incisors (the front ones), which grow continuously throughout its life. This means that chewing is essential to ensure that their teeth stay at the right length. So, don’t put anything in the hamster playpen (or cage!) which you are not prepared to lose! It’s also important not to put anything in the playpen or cage which would be unsafe for a hamster to chew.

Hamsters are naturally prey animals, so they love to hide. Being placed in a big open run without anything to hide in can make your hamster very anxious. Giving it lots of safe spaces to hide under will help it to gain confidence in the run and have a great time!

Here are some ideas for toys and fun things that you can put in your hamster pen:

Cardboard tubes

These make for great hiding places, and they’re also inexpensive and lovely to chew. You can use toilet roll tubes or kitchen roll tubes, however with a fully grown Syrian hamster these may be too narrow for it to squeeze down!

Wooden houses

You can get some incredibly cool wooden houses for hamsters. But often these can take up a huge amount of space and aren’t practical for the average-sized hamster cage. This is where the playpen comes in! The Me & My Pets small animal playpen is 83cm wide, which gives a huge amount of floor space for you to include a great wooden house.

There are some great and inexpensive wooden houses available – or why not make one yourself! Collect up your wooden lollipop sticks and use safe, non-toxic glue such as Elmer’s.

Socks

Yes, believe it or not a sock is an ideal furnishing for your hamster! They can use it like a little hamster sleeping bag and snuggle inside, or give it a good chew and use the piece to line their bed. Just… please make sure it’s a clean sock!

Shoebox

Next time you buy a pair of shoes, don’t throw the box away! Cut a circular hole at each end of the box and several smaller holes in the lid. Pop a handful of hay inside the box and replace the lid. You now have an instant hamster heaven!

Treats

If your hamster is shy and often seems scared – either in the run or when handled – one of the best ways to calm them and gain their trust is with food. Hamsters love vegetables, and it’s important for them to have fresh veg every day. This keeps them hydrated and it also provides variety from their regular nuggets. However, please ensure that you do not overfeed your hamster with fresh veg. Too much can cause diarrhoea, which can be fatal in hamsters. Try a small amount of these foods:

  • Baby carrot
  • Sweetcorn
  • Red pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Pine nuts (these are fatty so not too many!)
  • Kale
  • Broccoli – especially the stalk
  • Sunflower seeds

 

Putting your hamster in a run can be a great experience. It’s great fun, it’s excellent for the hamster’s health and wellbeing, and it gives you an opportunity to interact with your pet without worrying about them escaping.

If you would like more information on the Me & My Pets small animal playpen then please get in touch. We hope you enjoy your playpen and we look forward to seeing all the pictures of happy hamsters! Check out our Instagram for pictures of happy pets daily :) 

 

Disclaimer: This content in this article is intended for information or entertainment purposes only, it is not intended to replace the advice of a vet or animal health professional. Your use of the information is entirely at your own risk and Me & My Pets assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information found on this site. If you have any questions or concerns over your pet's wellbeing you should consult your vet immediately.