How to Enrich the Lives of Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters and Gerbils
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How to Enrich the Lives of Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters and Gerbils

Small animals bring lots of pleasure into the lives of children of all ages so it's important to make the environment they live in as pleasant and enjoyable as possible in return. The first thing you need to invest in is the biggest cage a budget will stretch to so your pets have plenty of room to move around in. Small creatures also need lots of toys and places to hide when they want to. Then of course there's their need to interact with you and regularly groomed all of which helps enrich their lives and which ultimately makes them happier creatures all round.

Rabbits Need to Display a Natural Behaviour

Bunnies are gorgeous characters, no matter what breed they happen to be. They are full of mischief and they love being active during the day, which is why it's so important they live in an environment where they can display their natural behaviour. Bunnies need to hop around, stretch out when they want to and live with another rabbit because when left on their own, they can get quite depressed about things.

However, you need to make sure you choose a same sex pair to avoid any fighting, injuries and unwanted babies. Rabbits also like to burrow so if you can provide some dirt in the form of a digging pit, you will make your rabbit a very happy bunny indeed.

The other thing you need to bear in mind is that rabbits spend an incredible amount of time eating – up to 70% of their time is spent feeding! Making it fun for them to find their food will enrich their lives, it will also keep them fit and less bored with their existence! You can hang food around their cages or bury it so they have to dig around to find it, there are lots of ways to make a bunny search for their food, you just need to use a little imagination!

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are by nature very inquisitive little creatures, they absolutely adore watching everything that goes on around them which makes them very social little pets to have around. Cavies need a larger and roomier hutch or cage to run around in and where there are lots of places for them to hide when they want to.

They also do that much better when they have an outdoor run they can spend time in during the day. Being outside means they can graze and run around which not only helps keep their teeth in good condition, but it means they keep fitter too! The thing to remember is cavies need places where they can hide when they are in their outdoor runs and you can use tubes, pipes or cardboard boxes which they will thoroughly enjoy messing around in too!

Cavies also enjoy human company and love it when they are allowed to run around indoors, but you have to make sure it is safe for them making sure they cannot escape into the "great outdoors"!

When it comes to toys, cavies prefer to hide in things than play with them. Hiding food in the tubes for them to have to search for makes life a lot more interesting for your piggies. It helps keep them busy both mentally and physically which enriches their lives nicely keeping your cavy entertained.

These lovely little characters like to be kept with others of their own kind, but it's important they are the same sex or a neutered pair to avoid any conflicts, fighting and unwanted babies!

Hamsters

Hamsters are active at night which means that when most people are fast asleep, these adorable little creatures are very busy indeed! They need tons of exercise which means making sure there are lots of things for them to do in their environments. You need to invest in the largest cage you can afford and then buy a hamster wheel and other toys for your pet to play with!

Hamsters love tunnels which you can make yourself out of plastic pipes or you can buy them from good pets shops. You should avoid putting your pet in a hamster ball which they find quite stressful for the simple reason that once inside, your pet cannot escape!

You can also use cardboard tubes in their environment which they will enjoy running through at night. Hamsters also enjoy rolling around in sand which you should always buy from a pet shop so you know it's been properly sterilised.

Syrian hamsters are better and happier when kept on their own, however, other breeds do prefer to live with others of their own kind which includes dwarf breeds, but you need to make sure they are same-sex pairs to avoid any fighting and unwanted pregnancies!

Gerbils

Gerbils are very popular pets and there's good reason for this because they are such fun to watch when they are playing around. There's nothing these little creatures like more than to run through tunnels which is something they do in their natural habitat. You need to create a wonderful environment for your pets that resembles their natural habitat and this means investing in the largest cage you can afford.

Setting up tunnels and placing a sand pit in their cage will keep gerbils very busy and happy. You should source the sand from a pet shop like this you know it's been correctly sterilised. You can also buy some dried peat moss which your pets will love playing with and as a bonus, it makes great nesting material.

The best part of creating an interesting environment for your gerbils to live in is that once you've bought a suitable cage, toys and tunnels can be made out of things you typically find around the home which includes the cardboard middles of toilet rolls, cardboard boxes and tubes. Gerbils love hiding and running through them, but they also enjoy chewing on them which keeps them busy and their teeth in good condition too.

Gerbils also like to climb up things which means placing a few branches in their environment. However, you need to buy the branches from a pet shop and not use any from the garden which will not have been sterilised. These lovely little characters much prefer to be kept with others of their own kind and are never happy when kept on their own. However, as with other small pets, you need to make sure they are the same sex to avoid any fighting, confrontations and unwanted babies!

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