Keep That Degu Happy!Wheel Toys For Hamsters and Degus

Can I let my degu play in a hamster ball?  I have two very playful degus and I know they enjoy being out of
their cage but I don’t always enjoy scooting them out from under my dressers when it’s time to go back in their cage.

Is a hamster ball, a big 9″ or 11″ one, okay for my degu to play in?

– Degu Mom with a Broom

Hi Degu Mom with a Broom,

This is a tricky question…we don’t recommend letting any critter play unattended in a hamster ball but in well-supervised situations it’s okay. Why you ask?

Rodents and small animals aren’t known for their keen eyesight and having a semi-transparent, often colored barrier between their eyes is like us humans walking around with sunglasses at night.  It might be cute and silly when a small animal in a ball bounces off the walls and bangs into furniture but don’t you suppose that will be a bit traumatic for them?

Should You Get Your Degu a Ball?

My degus have played in such a  ball before and though degus have better eye site than most rodents they knocked into every wall, piece of furniture and person in the room.  One of them clearly did not like going into the ball so she stays in the cage or gets playtime on the stairs instead.  Rascal, on the other hand quickly learned how to slow the ball so he wouldn’t bang into the walls.  We let him run around in it – especially out in the shaded yard under direct supervision only.

In addition, the air vents in a hamster ball, while they provide ventilation they also provide perfect places for paws to get caught, ripped or tails to get caught. If you can find a ball with high-quality ventilation slits that are indented to prevent critter paws and tails getting caught go for that one over simple slits.

And I think we all know how much degus like chewing on plastic too so that’s yet another downfall – but again with proper supervision this behavior can be discouraged.  When the degu begins to gnaw instead of run about it probably has no more interest in running in the ball and it’s time to go back in the cage and be given a piece of wood or pumice to gnaw on.  Maybe a treat even!

Keep Track of Your Degu!

Try degu proofing the room you let them out in. Barricade cracks under your dresser with a small piece of wood from the inside so they can’t get in there.