Small animals, such as rabbits, gerbils, or rats, make great small pets for many families. However, these pets are not content to just sit in their cages and watch the world go by. Many of them like to interact with their family members. Depending on the type of small pet, there are a few different ways to get interactive with your small pet.
A-Maze Your Small Pet
Many small pets are burrowing animals, and setting up mazes for them to run through is the perfect way to interact. Putting together a maze of tubes and tunnels for rabbits, ferrets, gerbils, hamsters, and rats is a great way to spend some quality time with your small pet, while letting your pet use some of his natural instincts. Even chinchillas and guinea pigs enjoy going through tubes and tunnels, since they create tunnels through tall grasses in the wild. As your small pet gets used to playing with tubes and tunnel mazes you create, you can start to get even more creative. Instead of a single option for where to go, offer two or three different tubes for your small pet to choose from. Make angles, curves, straight lines, and circles. Create a never-ending maze by taking the pieces your pet has already gone through and trying to stay ahead of where your small pet goes. Not only will your small pet appreciate the exercise and mental challenges, he will enjoy spending time playing with you!
No Obstacle Too Big
The use of tubes and tunnels can lead to creating obstacle courses for your small pet. Rabbits and rats, in particular, like to run, jump, chew, and climb. You can use tubes to direct your small pet to different obstacles where they can do just that! Chew toys are great for letting your small pet stop to take a nibble or climb over or move around. Soft toys are great to move through. Even hideouts can be used to climb instead of just sleeping. If your small pet needs some enticing, use some treats or favorite chew toys to lead him through the obstacles. You might be surprised at how crafty your small pet can be when it comes to overcoming an obstacle!
The Thrill of the Chase
Some small pets, such as ferrets, rats, and rabbits, like to chase toys. Ferrets and rats are more likely to chase balls or feathers than rabbits. Ferrets and rats will chase balls, wrestle with stuffed animals, pounce on feathers, and play in a similar manner to cats. Ferrets even like to chase toys that you can pull around! Just remember to keep the toys at a size similar to the pet – rats can get very overwhelmed by toys that are too big.
While rabbits don’t chase as much, they do like to play with light toys that they can toss around. Rabbit owners can play toss with their rabbits, too! Light-weight toys, especially ones that have ridges your rabbit can bite into, are the better options for playing toss or chase.
Love the One You’re With
Once you figure out how your small pet likes to play, spend time building your relationship with your small pet by playing and increasing the challenges in your play time. Over the years, it will strengthen the bond between you and your small pet, creating a very beneficial relationship for you both!