Have you considered getting inside and playing in a human-sized hamster ball? Personally I’ve never done it but it does seem like a lot of fun, especially if you can float on water. So applying the same logic to hamsters, surely our pet would love that experience, right?
Here’s the thing. We would play inside a hamster ball because we think it might be fun and we make the decision to enter it. At any point, we can get out if we feel that it is no longer fun or something urgent happened. Also, every human-sized hamster ball is transparent, meaning you can see outside and choose where you want to go without hitting any obstacles.
With a regular hamster ball, surprisingly none of the above is true. First, hamsters do not make the decision to go inside a hamster ball; their owners make that choice. They think the hamster will have a lot of fun, and the owner might think that seeing their hamster run around in a ball is quite adorable.
Hamsters are unable to speak, but if they could, I bet they would say that hamster balls are not fun for them. Rather, it would be more like a torture chamber.
Here’s why. First, air circulation is inadequate in a hamster ball, and hamsters also can’t stand the heat. What humans consider to be fair weather could potentially kill a hamster, especially one in a hamster ball.
Next, the hamster ball is never the right size. If the hamster ball is too big, then the hamster will struggle to move the ball as it crawls up the sides. This probably feels as if they are stuck in a circular cage with infinite walls. It can only run in circles in a tiny area at the bottom.
Conversely, if the ball is too small, then the hamster will be stuck in an awkward, permanently arched position which is bad for its spine.
So what if the ball was the “perfect” size for your specific hamster? A ball that allows your hamster’s spine to remain straight, and is small enough that your hamster can move it? In this situation, there is still a major problem. As long as he is on all four feet, even the tiniest shift of his weight in any direction will cause the ball to roll in that direction. Then your hamster is forced to constantly run or else be thrown around by the now rolling ball.
Isn’t that a good thing that the ball is moving? The hamster is supposed to run inside the ball, right? Put yourself in that position. Imagine every step you take your balance is being challenged as if you were on a trampoline or balance ball. This might be fun at first, but remember your hamster can’t tell you to let him out. If you keep him in there for several minutes when he is frantically trying to stop, then he will start to get really stressed out.
Furthermore, inside a hamster ball, there is no access to water, food, or a bathroom. Your hamster could emerge from the ball dehydrated, starved, and covered in his own urine and feces. Does that sound like fun?
Now imagine a pet several sizes up. How about putting a dog or cat in a large enough hamster ball? I think their cries of desperation would make you immediately take them out. So why subject your hamster to the same thing?
Lastly, your hamster cannot see very well inside a hamster ball. Visibility is low, and the ball blocks most sounds and smells from entering or exiting. So your hamster is basically blind, deaf and mute inside a hamster ball and has to frantically run around so that he doesn’t get tossed around. That sounds real fun.
Don’t put your hamster inside a hamster ball.