Like some hamsters, some gerbils will enjoy using a ball to run around in. This activity really helps them get some good exercise, but any owner attempting to use this toy needs to be really careful, as these balls can be quite dangerous. Below are some things to look out for:
Gerbil balls can be fun for your pets, but there are some things you need to be aware of
Gerbil and hamster balls often aren’t very well insulated, and on hot days, a little clear plastic ball will get very hot very quickly. It’s best not to put gerbils in exercise balls in hot weather, or to place them in direct sunlight.
2. Make sure your pet wants to go into the ball
It’s best to let them crawl in by themselves, which they will do if they want to play. Not all gerbils enjoy exercise balls, so give them the choice.
3. Screw the gerbil ball lid on properly
When putting the animal into the ball, make sure that it’s screwed in properly so that the lid doesn’t fall off when it’s rolling around. If this happens then your gerbil could fall out and injure itself!
4. Find a good space for your gerbil to roam around
A wide open space on the ground floor of your house is a good place. It’s best to use it on the ground floor so that it can’t fall down the stairs. Make sure that it can’t become stuck underneath anything such as cupboards or chairs.
5. Make sure that the floor is of the right material
Carpet is the best material for allowing your pet to run around in it’s ball. Linoleum and wood don’t have enough friction, and so your pet can easily lose control of the ball and be flung around in it, which is obviously very dangerous!
6. Allow your pet to move around in the ball - don’t move it yourself
It’s crucial that you don’t try to manipulate the ball when the animal is inside it. If you roll it, your pet will probably get flung around in the ball which would be really painful. Let your little friend run around in it by themselves.
7. Stick to twenty minutes once a day
There’s no way out for your gerbil once it’s in the ball, and it has no way to tell you when it’s tired or when it would like to get out. A good period of time for your gerbil to be in the ball is about twenty minutes, but if at any point it looks unhappy or stressed then you’ll want to take it out right away.
Your pet can get the exercise it needs by going on the ball once a day. Any more than that and your pet could get stressed or really tired.
8. Know that some gerbils won’t like it
It’s difficult to tell if your pet likes the exercise ball, so when you use it originally, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your pet for signs of stress. There’s no way out of it, so it’s hard for them to show you how they feel.