If you want to have muscles like actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, practice early. But muscles alone don’t help even hamsters: They also have to train their brains.
And, as researchers in the USA have shown, hamsters do this best when they are faced with new challenges in their environment every day. Up to 15 percent more brain cells develop in animals in whose enclosures there are lots of toys, different types of furniture, and a variety of food that is constantly being offered in new forms. So the sooner and the more you spoil your hamster, the smarter and fitter he will become. Because a clever head actually ensures longer life and more robust health – at least in the case of the hamsters researched by the US biologists.
Let your imagination run wild
So forget the one-size-fits-all cage and tedious bedding and let your imagination run wild. Why not offer a bowl of quartz sand for lolling? Or break a piece out of a flower pot and offer it upside down as a new bedroom? Why does the feed always have to be in the same place in the usual mix? Just let him look for it. Bury a piece, hang it – almost – out of reach or lure your little desert creature through a maze where it can test its orientation skills.
Of course, a few basic rules remain
If your hamster is a keen nibbler, don’t offer plastic objects that could upset its stomach. Once he gets into the habit of stuffing everything in his cheeks, bulky treats are off-limits. The water continues to be offered in the dispenser because moisture in the enclosure weakens the immune system. For the same reason, any wet food that has not been found must be removed when the hamster goes to rest. And for long-haired breeds, you need to replace the impeller with another training device so that the mane does not get caught in the struts.
All hamster breeds are good walkers and like to run
If you only have a small cage available, you should reconsider keeping a hamster. Because the small mammals are running animals and therefore need a large cage to run. Climbing levels are of little use since hamsters are not real climbers. It is better to build a training path outside the cage and connect the cage door and path with a ladder or a cardboard tube in such a way that it can transport the building, padding, or food materials it has collected into the house without your help.
Caution: The tube must have enough diameter to also offer space for hamsters stuffed with cheeks. It is logical that you are present at his intelligence training and that you are the supervisor. After all, no hamster fell from heaven as a champion.
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