August 1, 2013

Small pets like gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits are fun playmates. Their silly antics and dastardly deeds are fun to watch and they thrive on interaction with their human companions. Toss a couple of well-designed toys into the mix and the fun never ends.

But, those that lack appropriate enrichment may turn to tearing up their habitat, chewing their cage bars or “barbering,” the practice of gnawing at their own fur. Changing up their habitat, treats and toys helps keep small pets psychologically healthy.

Toys can divert small pets from unwanted behaviors like furniture chewing, too. Give a rabbit something healthy to chew and maybe he’ll leave the La-Z-Boy alone.

Timali Pet Rabbit Toys has a complete line of toys, including several styles of activity zones. The wooden tables allow rabbits to climb up, scurry under and play with many colorful rope toys dangling below.

Timali also sells innovative configurations of ropes and wooden shapes in abstract forms and clever designs like a colorful carrot, or seasonal Christmas tree. Their DIY Rabbit Toys Kit challenges rabbit owners to build their own creative playthings from blocks, sticks and ropes in many colors.

Keep Them Busy

Ferrets should spend at least four hours per day outside their cage, and if they don’t have stimulating toys, they turn to shiny objects like car keys and Grandma’s diamond earrings. An investment in quality toys is a worthwhile one.

At the 2013 Global Pet Expo, Marshall Pet Products launched the Cruising Critter Raceway with live, in-booth ferret racing. The spectacle drew the crowds and the ferrets thrived, as the racing tubes satisfy their natural tunneling instinct.

The Cruising Critter Raceway includes two racing tubes and an easy-to-clean floor mat with a checkered-flag finish line. It also provides stimulating play for hamsters, rats and guinea pigs.

The Pop-N-Play Ball Pit, also from Marshall, thrills ferrets, who like to burrow and explore. Drop a couple of smaller toys or treats in there and watch them root out the goodies. It has a Velcro tab that affixes it to furniture to prevent tipping, and the fabric easily wipes clean.

Marshall also offers a Bed Bug Play Center that includes a soft play mat and cross bars that dangle toys overhead.

The Super Pet Comfort Wheel is ideal for gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs. It comes with a wire stand and a clip to affix it to the cage.

Super Pet also manufactures the classic Small Animal Run-About Ball, which allows gerbils and hamsters to explore the house.

– Kristen Ryan

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